Posts containing my opinion of the race.

Stating The Obvious

Given Paladino's crushing defeat of Lazio, Janice Volk really missed an opportunity when she missed the ballot. She coulda been a contender, at minimum.

Zeller's Ad and the Reed Campaign's Response

This is Matt Zeller's most recent YouTube post, via the comments on the last post, and it concerns the Masonic Temple in Bath. Tim Kolpien from the Reed Campaign responded in the same comment thread, saying this:

Tom was a partner to raising more than $1 million in PRIVATE capital to restore this historic building and return it to productive use. The matching Restore New York grant has been consistently misrepresented as going to Tom personally. The grant money was applied for by the VILLAGE OF BATH, not Tom Reed. Further, the money has not even been disbursed yet.

Any assertions that Tom received any money are 100% false. This is public money and the records are public. As we have done for the last year, we challenge anyone to show one shred of evidence that this public money was disbursed to Tom. No one can produce any proof whatsoever that these allegations are true.


Often, red herrings are in ALL CAPS when a politician drags them into an argument. As was discussed in detail when this story first broke, it's pretty easy to get a group of "PRIVATE" investors put together some money to renovate a property when the state is matching their investment dollar for dollar. This isn't the same thing as you or me risking our own money without a state match. When the check comes from the state, it won't say "Tom Reed" on it, but at some point this investor group will make a profit, and a check with Tom's name will be cut. That's the fundamental truth of the matter of the Masonic Temple in Bath -- Reed is leveraging a government program for his own profit. It's perfectly legal and pretty common. But the fact that he'd deny the City of Corning the same benefit that he gives himself is a legitimate issue in this campaign.

On The Trail of the Elusive Zeller

Reader qka wrote to say that Matt Zeller was in Penn Yan with Andrew Cuomo on Thursday. The Finger Lakes Times mentions Zeller's name, but the Penn Yan Chronicle-Express story doesn't. Similarly, the Corning Leader's story on Cuomo's appearance in Hornell, which was also attended by Zeller, doesn't mention him.

This is a small example, but in general, Zeller just isn't getting any media coverage. The Massa media operation would crank out press releases almost daily, while the Zeller campaign has pushed out a couple in the whole month of August. I don't understand it.

For Volk, Second Time Not Charming

As commenter TDS and Sean Carroll at 13-WHAM have both noted, the Volk campaign again failed to gain the requisite number of signatures to make the ballot.

This means that Volk's last serious chance at election just went out the window, and the race in the 29th is between Matt Zeller and Tom Reed.

Reed/Volk Dust-Up

Commenter "I Still Hate Politics" sent in this item from the Hornell Evening Tribune, which details the disagreement between Reed and Volk over Reed's purported role in getting Volk's petition signatures invalidated.

As for the Volk campaign claim that she'll run on a third party line, here's a little snippet from a Huffington Post story on New York's third party mess:

To survive and prosper, a third party in New York needs only one thing - a gubernatorial candidate that can draw at least 50,000 votes. Get that, and the party has an automatic right to dole out its ballot line for every other state and local election for the next four years.

I don't know if there's another way for a third party to get a New York ballot line, but the Tea Party certainly hasn't gotten 50,000 votes in the last gubernatorial election, so I don't know how Volk is going to do what she claims, which is to run on the Tea Party line this Fall.

Update: Via the comments, Volk is going to try to get an "Independent" line on the ballot, which takes 3,500 signatures. Mike Arcuri, the incumbent Democrat in NY-24, and Ernest Bell, a libertarian candidate in NY-24, are doing the same thing, according to this story, which says:

The independent lines Arcuri and Bell are seeking are not to be confused with the Independence Party line that Hanna currently holds. The Independence Party is an actual political party, and the independent lines would be separate lines not affiliated with the major parties.

Arcuri and Bell must obtain 3,500 signatures on their petitions by Aug. 17 in order to gain independent spots on the ballot. Hanna’s press secretary Renee Gamela would not say whether Hanna plans to seek an independent spot on the ballot.

So, Volk has until next Tuesday to gather roughly three times the number of valid signatures that she tried and failed to gather for the primary.

Two Observations

First: The Volk campaign is spinning out of control. The latest release, posted in the comments, says that she's going to circulate petitions for a "Tea Party Line" on the ballot. There are a whole bunch of rules about third parties in New York State. I'm not an expert, but I've never heard of someone making up a new party, petitioning, and getting on the ballot in one year. Volk's ship has sailed - she isn't going to be on any ballot. She can campaign all she wants, but the fact remains that write-in campaigns don't work, and her slim chances of beating Tom Reed became none as soon as she failed to submit the proper number of valid signatures on her Republican nomination petition.

Second: Don't mess with Matt Zeller's mom. On that point, I've always thought that the haters who post nasty comments that try to make people's strengths into weaknesses are probably mostly jealous that they were unable to achieve a fraction of what someone like Zeller has done in his short life. Whatever you think of his politics, he's an impressive individual who's served our country honorably.

Volk Q&A

A couple of people have sent the following from the Volk campaign:

Over the past few months this campaign has been asked to answer a multitude of both questions and criticisms. Jan is committed to a transparent campaign that enables the voters to choose for themselves, unlike her opponent, she believes in straight forward to-the-point responses. Here are Jan’s answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Why haven’t you filed with the FEC?
The answer is simple; I am running a fiscally conservative campaign. The FEC requires a candidate to file upon expending or raising $5,000.00 in funds. I am not digging into my constituents’ wallets just so I can show up and vote in Washington for them. My goal is to win this race as cost effectively as possible. I hope that we do it for one quarter of a congressman’s salary.
My opponent, on the other hand, has raised over $700,000.00 for a job that pays $174,000.00 per year. I am about the people and for the people. How can someone represent their neighbor when the mortgage can be paid five times over by campaign contributions? My opponent is not concerned about your day to day life. It appears that he is concerned with taking your money and his personal rise to power.
Did your campaign challenge Tom Reed’s petitions?
NO, we did not challenge Tom Reed’s signatures for two reasons: first, this campaign believes in democracy; second, such a challenge would have been futile because we know that Jan is the best candidate. Jan is the people’s candidate and she will not allow technicalities to be the deciding factor in the election of our next congressman. When you vote for Jan you vote for yourself! A vote for Tom Reed is a vote for the establishment and a continued disregard for our rights as citizens.
Do you think Reed’s campaign will succeed in removing Jan from the ballot?
NO, Reed’s campaign will not succeed. If Jan is removed on technicalities, then the G.O.P. is ensuring a Democratic victory this November. The G.O.P. is ignoring the fact that they must ensure that Jan is both the General Election and the Special Election Candidate. Jan is doing something that no American has done before. She is running a Constitutional campaign. This requires putting the people first.
So what next?
All of this is to say that Jan is ensuring a victory for the people by minimizing expenses while enduring fruitless challenges against her petitions. It Tom Reed’s campaign believed in democracy then they would have welcomed Jan to the race with open arms.
Remember, all politics is local. Let’s start here at home and show Washington that we are going to send an everyday American to their stomping ground. Let’s show them that Jan is our choice. When you vote on September 14, be sure to pull the lever for Janice Volk.

My only comment to this is that the term "Constitutional" as used in this email is meaningless. When any candidate runs for office they're doing what the Constitution says they can do. No one candidate gets to wrap him or her self in the Constitution and thereby claim some special privilege.

Also, we're still waiting for evidence to back up the charges of racism and sexism directed at Volk made by her campaign manager. It's telling that we've heard nothing to back up that accusation.

Young Guns Should Make Sure They Don't Shoot Their Feet

Tom Reed is touting the fact that he's now one of the 39 "Young Guns" who the National Republican Congressional Committee say will help unseat Nancy Pelosi. Since he got the "Young Gun" designation, Reed's been tweeting that Pelosi Must Go.

I've long held that the whole Pelosi fixation is just meat for the base, that people don't really care about her. But within the last few days, there's another reason why running against Pelosi isn't the smartest strategy on record: Joe Barton. If Republicans do take over the House, Barton, the man who apologized to BP, will be the head of the House committee in charge of oversight of all energy-related legislation.

Zeller and Volk Notes

A reader sent in a report from a Zeller reception yesterday at Bully Hill Winery. It's a mixed report. He was impressed by Zeller, calling him "young", "ambitious" and a "nice guy". The overall impression was that he's "[v]ague, non-committal and busy learning".

Zeller's campaign manager thought that the Reed Pittsford office, which just opened, is a waste of money. Overall, my correspondent says that Zeller needs to "get an act together by Labor Day".

On the Volk front, Reed press man Tim Kolpien responded to a number of criticisms made by supporters of Janice Volk on the local Glenn Beck/Teabagger forum, "We Surround Rochester". Kolpien's response is more detailed than the short back-and-forth in yesterday's Star-Gazette coverage.

As part of his response, Kolpien points out that Reed is the candidate in the special election this Fall no matter what. Volk, Campini and Reed are battling for the Republican nomination for the Fall general election. If either of those candidates beat Reed, Reed would still be on the ballot in the special, and he might also run on the Conservative and Independence lines, depending on who those parties nominate for the general. This is similar to the mess that's developing in NY-23, where Doug Hoffman has a challenger in the Republican primary who's on the Independence party line. If Hoffman wins the Republican primary, the conservative vote will be split yet again in that district.

Nothing Happening

A couple of people have written to ask if this blog is still alive. It is, but that's more than I can say for the race at this moment. As far as I can tell:

  • Matt Zeller is not having weekly media calls, and he also isn't issuing regular press releases. His new site is up, and he's attending fundraisers and house parties. Zeller's job right now is to raise money and get acquainted with the base.
  • Tom Reed is still having weekly media calls, and he's issuing some press releases. Both of those efforts are getting a little bit of press. Reed's job right now is to raise money and keep from saying or doing anything dumb.
  • Reed's primary challengers are either out circulating them, or trying to find the money for paid petition circulators. When they actually make it on the ballot, that will be time to talk seriously about their chances.

In other words, this is the part of the cycle where candidates aren't doing much that's visible. I'd like to see more media from the Zeller campaign, but other than that, I don't have anything more to add.

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