Archive (2008)

Six Days and a Wakeup

Eric Massa is attending a rally with Hillary Clinton today. Tomorrow, he'll be at a press conference with Chuck Schumer and Brighton Town Supervisor Sandy Frankel, at 3:00 at the St. John's Meadows nursing home. Today's Hillary rally has already received free media attention. Tomorrow's press conference will likely get some, too.

The Kuhl campaign, by contrast, hasn't had a public event in a while. The campaign is still issuing press releases, but the campaign web site says "9 Days to Victory" today, and the events page is empty. If someone sees Randy, please let me know where he is and what he's doing.

News: Wonks, Hillary, Events

Jeremy Moule at City News notes that the political analysts ("wonks") at CQ rate the 29th as a toss up. In other wonk news, apparently the Rothenberg Political Report names Randy Kuhl as one of five incumbents who should be "cut loose" immediately according to this second-hand source.

Today's Clinton rally gets mentions at the Hornell Evening Tribune, WROC and WHEC.

Update: Here's the original Rothenberg article. Money quote:

Five GOP incumbents who have benefited from a total of more than $2.2 million in NRCC spending also should have been cut loose immediately and told to fend for themselves: Reps. Randy Kuhl (New York's 29th district), Bill Sali (Idaho's 1st), Jean Schmidt (Ohio's 2nd), Mark Souder (Indiana's 3rd) and Marilyn Musgrave (Colorado's 4th).

Each of the districts represented by these incumbents is reliably Republican under normal circumstances, and their vulnerability, even in this political environment, reflects their individual weaknesses.

The Air War Intensifies

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just dropped another $350K on a media buy in the 29th. That brings DCCC spending in the 29th to almost $900K.

The DCCC has not posted a new anti-Kuhl or pro-Massa ad, so it's not clear what ad that money is paying for.

With this buy, the DCCC spending has far outstripped their Republican counterpart. The NRCC has spent less that $400K in the race, and their last expenditure was on some direct mail last Friday. $9K of direct mail on Monday.

I'm no expert in media buys, but I assume the window for booking TV time before the election is almost closed.

Morning News: Debate, Kids, Money

RNews has a story about last night's debate, as do WHEC and WETM.

The Olean Times-Herald covers Massa's talk in front of some college students at St. Bonaventure.

Bloomberg uses the 29th as its main example in a story about Congressional challengers who are out-raising incumbents.

Seven More Days

With a week left, the two candidates in the race are all over the district. Both are trying to energize their base and drive their message home to the last few undecided voters.

As was the case in 2006, Massa is touring the district in a motor home as well as attending events with major Democratic personalities. Today, I received a robo-call from Hillary Clinton, paid for by the Massa campaign, inviting me to a rally tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM at Monroe Community College. Clinton will head a joint appearance with Massa, Alice Kryzan (NY-26) and Dan Maffei (NY-25).

Randy Kuhl's campaign isn't posting events on its website, but Kuhl was at an event in Victor this afternoon. In 2006, Kuhl had a few last-minute grant announcements that he saved for right before the election. My guess is something similar will happen this year.

Since Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent about $40K on direct mail in the district. Their Republican counterpart hasn't filed any additional spending disclosures.

Afternoon News

The Hornell Evening Tribune has a candidate interview with Randy Kuhl.

Kuhl's been endorsed by a couple of police organizations.

Debate Tonight

RNews, the Time-Warner cable news outlet in Rochester, will broadcast a debate between the two candidates for the 29th seat at 7 p.m. tonight. The debate will also be re-broadcast on Time-Warner's On Demand system, which is channel 108 in Rochester.

I don't have Time-Warner cable, so I won't be watching the debate.


Get out the vote (GOTV) efforts often talk about how many times the campaign "touches" a voter. Here's how I've been "touched" in the last week:

  • I've received three anti-Kuhl mailers from the DCCC. They are all essentially the same as this one, concentrating on jobs lost because of trade agreements.
  • I've gotten two robo-calls from "Accountable America". The first one pointed out that Kuhl received $300K from investment bankers and CEOs that caused the financial meltdown. The second concentrated on money Kuhl has taken from lobbyists. Both ended by urging me to call Congressman Kuhl and ask him what he would do to save Social Security.

Neither of these touches is very high-quality. In 2006, I wrote about a study that showed that the most effective GOTV efforts relied on human contact. There's been none of that so far in the 29th.

Perhaps the least effective "touch" I saw this week was targeted at Republicans on my street. On Saturday, a windy and rainy day, someone hung literature packets from mailbox flags. The wind soon blew them away and the street was littered with plastic bags containing sodden campaign fliers. Unfortunately, a lot of money spent in campaigns goes to wasted efforts like that one.

Buffalo News Endorses Massa

Reader Pat sends today's Buffalo News endorsement of Eric Massa.

Other Kinds of Pork

Yesterday's Star-Gazette's endorsement mentions Randy Kuhl's track record bringing home "pork":

Critics call it pork but, in fact, much of the funding that comes to the 29th are dollars that House members help facilitate but don't necessarily get through legislation.

That's just not true. According to the Census Bureau, New York State received $157 billion from the Federal Government last year. That's over $5 billion per congressional district. Randy Kuhl's $20 million worth of earmarks is not even a drop in that bucket.

In addition, Kuhl's votes on individual federal programs are far more important than his few earmarks. For example, if Kuhl and a few others had voted for S-CHIP last year, that one program alone would have brought $80 million to the district over 5 years.

Members of Congress make a lot of noise about earmarks, but by no means does "much" of the money in the district come from them. That's why earmarks should be abolished. They don't do a lot for a district, but they open the door to corruption and influence peddling.

Morning News: Tea and Goner

The Corning Leader and the Star-Gazette have stories on both candidates' appearance at the Chemung County Womens' Council Tea.

WETM catches up with the goner story.

Other Morning News

Julie Sherwood at the Messenger-Post has a good race backgrounder that goes into some depth on the main issues in the district.

Here's an interesting one: Fox News' election-night primer says Kuhl is "toast".