Posts cross-posted at the WNYCongress blog aggregator, which covers the 25th, 26th and 29th districts.

Kuhl Numbers: $333K Raised

The Kuhl campaign has issued a press release stating that they raised $333K last quarter. His numbers have not hit the FEC website as of this post.

Kuhl's cash on hand at the end of the last quarter was $365K, so Kuhl probably ended the quarter with less cash on hand than Massa.

Update: Kuhl's report has been posted. According to the FEC, Kuhl raised $334K last quarter, spent $81K, and ends the quarter with $619K cash on hand.

Massa Money Numbers: $290K Raised

The Massa campaign's fundraising report just hit the FEC website. Massa raised $290K last quarter, spent $203K, and has $652K on hand.

Messenger-Post on $1.98

The Messenger-Post has a detailed piece on Randy Kuhl's claim that legislation can lower gas prices to $1.98/gallon. Reporter Julie Sherwood interviews three experts who disagree with Kuhl.

Massa Fundraising Items

Liz Benjamin reports that Republicans are trying to tie Charlie Rangel [NY-15] to Eric Massa and other candidates for whom he's raised funds. Rangel has some rent-controlled apartments in New York for which he's paying less than the going market rate. You can read Rangel's defense here. I'm not an expert in rent control, but I thought that the whole point of the law was to allow people to keep renting at below-market rates.

Rochesterturning has a post about Massa's quick response when it appeared that some campaign donations were accidentally channeled to his campaign.

Oil, Petitions and Our Opinion of Congress

Today's Democrat and Chronicle has a analysis piece about Randy Kuhl's energy bill. It contrasts the Republicans' plan to blame Congress for high energy costs with some polling data. Polls show that Americans blame oil companies, President Bush, foreign oil producing nations and Congress, in that order.

The Kuhl Campaign announced that their petition filing includes over 11,000 signatures, which shows the strength of Republican organization, especially in the Southern Tier (that's an assumption). This is roughly 3,000 more than the Massa campaign reported Wednesday.

WETM has a story on petition filing in the Elmira area. Along with mentioning Massa and Kuhl's petitions, WETM reports that only Republican State Senator George Winner will have a challenger. Republican Assemblymen Bacalles and O'Meara will run unopposed this year.

After the break, I've embedded Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig's take on the popularity of Congress, which, as was discussed earlier, is in single digits. For Lessig, it's all about the money.

Petitions and Decontamination

The Buffalo News reports that Senator Chuck Schumer is the last-chance Texaco for full funding of the West Valley Demonstration Project cleanup. West Valley is an abandoned, contaminated nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Cattaraugus County. The House Appropriations Committee has allocated $23 million less than the amount requested by Randy Kuhl.

The Massa campaign says that they've filed petitions containing 7,209 signatures, up over 1,000 from 2006. As reported here earlier, Yates County contributed over 1,000 of those signatures. A little over 3,000 people voted for Massa in Yates County in 2006, so it's fair to say the Yates County Democrats are energized.

Massa Meets the Press

Today's Massa press conference covered veterans' issues and, of course, energy.

Stories of Note

Randy Kuhl's Veterans' Mental Health Caucus rates a skeptical editorial from the Messenger-Post, hometown paper for the Canandaigua VA center specializing in psychiatric care. Nut graphs:

An honest discussion of troops’ mental health begins with the decision to engage in two long-term occupations halfway around the globe with an all-volunteer military and continues with the wait and red tape to get services once they return. We hope this is not a broader task than the members of Kuhl’s House caucus had bargained for.

Awareness is fine, but conviction and action would be more appropriate here.

Reader Elmer sends a link to a Rasmussen poll showing that the approval rating of Congress is now in single digits.

Any Republican reading that poll should be worried, because Democrats have not been in control for very long. Though Republicans are definitely spinning each and every problem as the fault of the newly-elected Democrats, most of what we're reaping today was sown before Democrats took over last year. That said, any Democratic challenger reading the poll should conclude that running against the system, which includes opposing some current Democratic positions in Congress, is a smart move.

Update: I missed this earlier, but despite the 9% overall Congressional approval rating, Democrats still have a 12% lead in Rasmussen's generic Congressional ballot question.

Energy Mailer and Analysis

Dr. Denny at Scholars and Rogues has a long takedown of Randy Kuhl's latest energy mailer. I haven't seen the mailer, but it includes an energy plan that relies almost completely on new drilling and refining, and is based on completely specious arithmetic.

For example, his plan assumes $.70-$1.60 reduction in the per-gallon cost of gas from drilling in ANWR and other domestic sources. But the Department of Energy says that ANWR could reduce oil prices by $.75 per barrel.

Denny also looks at the Republican Energy Bill supported by Rep. Kuhl. It contains provisions like the following:

Prohibits the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from denying an application for nuclear waste disposal on the grounds of present or future insufficient capacity.

The whole piece is worth a read. If I get the mailer, I'll scan it and post it.

Sewage and More Gas

Reader Elmer sends two articles from today's Corning Leader. The longer piece [pdf] covers the controversy over a Massa campaign mailer which highlighted Randy Kuhl's use of a SUV to travel between DC and the district.

The Massa campaign pointed out that Kuhl's use of the SUV cost taxpayers over $15K. Kuhl's spokesman says that he's reimbursed for mileage, not gas, so the kind of car he drives doesn't matter. Until one of the two is featured on "Pimp My Ride", I don't think this will have a big impact on the Fall campaign.

The front-page story [pdf] involves the Corning sewage treatment plant, which is being upgraded due to a grant "obtained by" Randy Kuhl.

That story illustrates the payback from the constant deluge of press releases from Congressional offices. As I've explained before, Randy Kuhl or any other Member of Congress cannot obtain a grant. But Kuhl's drumbeat of grant announcements often leaves the impression that he's pulling all the strings in DC.

Update: Thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed out that the grant is what sounds like an earmark. Here's the 2005 press release which calls it a grant but says that it was specifically appropriated in a bill.

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