Posts about candidate endorsements.

Two More Massa Endorsements

Eric Massa has been endorsed by the Corning and the Steuben County Democratic Committees. Corning is Massa's home town and one of the largest towns in Steuben.

Real Grassroots

Prior to tomorrow's Memorial Day parade in Pittsford, Eric Massa will be at Ted Nixon's house. Nixon is running for the Monroe County Legislature this year. After the parade, Massa will attend two coffee events. Earlier this year, he participated in door-to-door canvassing for Democratic candidates for village board, one of whom won, the first time that's happened in recent memory.

Given his level of involvement in Pittsford Democratic politics, it should come as no surprise that the Pittsford Democrats endorsed Massa on Thursday. Though Pittsford is the home town of David Nachbar, Massa's primary opponent, Nachbar's local committee instead chose to quickly and unanimously endorse someone from the other side of the district. The reasons for this are many. I'd like to touch on a few.

Let's begin with one of the most important: hope. In a district where most Republicans run unopposed, Eric Massa's view that he could win a seat that had been going to Republicans at up to 70-30 margins was an example of pretty audacious hope. Massa's example inspired hope in the party, and he has inspired more than a few candidates in 2007. Good candidates are the backbone of strong parties, and the hope that Massa inspired has been a key factor in the rebirth of a noticeable opposition in the 29th.

Hope begins a grassroots campaign, but a grassroots campaign in a tough district like the 29th is going to have lots of setbacks. Massa's can-do attitude and perpetual optimism has also inspired district Democrats. After losing in 2006, Massa announced that his next priority was electing more Democrats to town and county offices. Besides being smart politics, it was also a signal that he wasn't going to give up, and that he was patient enough to work on party foundations as well as his own campaign.

Massa's presence in Pittsford tomorrow also illustrates an interesting paradox of grassroots politics. The barriers for entry for a grassroots candidate are both extremely low and very high. The low barrier is money: at the beginning of the campaign, a grassroots candidate needs little more than gas money to get him to every committee meeting or party function, shake every hand in the room, talk and listen. The high barrier is time. Meeting everyone in the district, and gaining their trust, takes lots of time. There's no substitute for this level of personal involvement, and so far David Nachbar has shown little indication that' he's ready to do it.

Grassroots campaigns are by definition outsider campaigns. Though Massa works closely with the Wesley Clark wing of the Democratic party, and has also worked on Capital Hill, he is far from the typical "regular party" candidate. If the national Democratic establishment (as embodied in the DCCC) has a candidate in the 29th, it isn't Eric Massa. But, because Democrats in the 29th are relatively weak and disconnected from the national party, this works for Massa. Since the DCCC wasn't there to help the Democrats when the 29th was a 70-30 district, the local Democratic committees will see any interference from them as opportunistic meddling. Though he is careful to keep good relations with the Democratic party and never give voice to his feelings, if any, about the DCCC, Massa's supporters labor under no such stricture. For them, the DCCC's lack of support for their candidate in 2006 was shortsighted and unfair. Even a hint that Nachbar is the DCCC's candidate further galvanizes the Massa faithful.

Because he provided hope, a can-do attitude and an outsider's perspective at a time when district Democrats were ready to re-commit themselves to party work, Eric Massa can draw upon large reserves of respect and loyalty as he pursues his 2008 campaign. The Pittsford endorsement reflects the genuine grassroots nature of Massa's campaign, and it's one in a string that's almost certain to continue. I'll be surprised if Massa hasn't been endorsed by every committee in the district well before mid-summer.

Nachbar-Massa News

Eric Massa received two more Democratic committee endorsements this week, one from the Perinton committee, and the other from Schuyer County. It will be interesting to see if he receives more endorsements after the Pittsford and Corning committee meetings tonight and tomorrow.

In addition to an uphill battle on the endorsement front, David Nachbar also has his work cut out for him on the Internet. Someone calling himself "A Soon-to-Be Nachbar Fan" has registered the name NachbarForCongress.com and now has an "open letter to David Nachbar" posted at that address.

Update: Apparently Nachbar is planning to use DavidNachbar.org as his campaign site.

Penfield Endorses Massa

The Massa Campaign today announced that the Penfield Democratic Committee has endorsed Eric Massa. Penfield is a suburb of Rochester in Monroe County which is partially in the 29th district.

This endorsement is noteworthy because Penfield borders David Nachbar's home town of Pittsford.

Massa Gains Allegany Endorsement

The Massa campaign has issued a press release announcing the receipt of an endorsement from the Allegany County Democratic Committee. Allegany is the third-smallest county in the 29th.

Saturday Morning News

The Rural Patriot reports that the Olean TImes-Herald endorsed Randy Kuhl in their paper edition.  The endorsement isn't available from the paper's website.

Today's Elmira Star-Gazette has a race overview story that's pretty good, but starts with some errors.  First, the subhead reads "Polls Show Kuhl, Massa Winning as Race Winds Down".  Then it cites the Cook Report and Evans and Novak as evidence of the closeness of the race.  Those aren't polls, they're political writers' ratings based on a number of factors including polls.  In addition, they interpret the Cook Report rating [pdf], "leans Republican", as putting the race "solidly in Randy Kuhl's hands".  That's not right .  In Cook-speak, "leans" means a race where one party has the advantage but the race is competitive.  Cook's rating for "solid" races is "solid", and the 29th hasn't been in that category since Cook started publishing ratings for this cycle.

The National Journal has dropped the 29th from 35th to 44th in their ranking of competitive house races. 

Buffalo News Endorses Massa

Reader Patrick writes to report that Eric Massa was one of the three area Democrats who received the Buffalo News' endorsement today.  The others were Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Brian Higgins (NY-27).  The News declined to endorse anyone in the Reynolds/Davis contest in NY-26.

Star-Gazette Endorses Kuhl

Today's Elmira Star-Gazette endorsed Randy Kuhl. Their editorial includes this statement:

That's not to say he hasn't disappointed us with his position on Iraq calling for a pullout as soon as possible but unwilling to label Bush's policy the failure that it is.

That sentence leaves the mis-impression that Kuhl's position and the President's position differ, but Kuhl's just too polite to criticize Bush. That's not the case: Kuhl has consistently supported continuing the war, and his position has been indistinguishable from Bush's. At a couple of debates, Kuhl express the "wish" that the war was over today, but everyone "wishes" that. A sentiment is not a position. He also criticized Massa's strategy, which would lead to an earlier pullout than Bush's.

It's incredible that a newspaper could be wrong on something so fundamental.

D&C Endorses Massa

Today's edition of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle carries their endorsement for Eric Massa. The D&C generally supports Democrats, and didn't endorse Kuhl in 2004, so this was no real surprise.

Endorsement Time

Randy Kuhl has posted a new ad featuring Amo Hougton's endorsement.  Houghton is Kuhl's widely respected predecessor in the 29th.

Eric Massa's web site features his new endorsement from the Messenger-Post Newspapers.  This chain publishes a Canandaigua daily and suburban weeklies in Monroe County.

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