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Gov. George Pataki. Photo by Martin Benjamin

What DifferenceDoes It Make?

With the gubernatorial election only three weeks away, voters have little information on what distinguishes H. Carl McCall from George Pataki—and some progressives wonder whether embracing a third party is the answer

By Nancy Guerin

The Web site for Gov. George E. Pataki refers to him as an “exceptional environmental leader in New York and nationally.” But is Pataki actually an environmentalist? Many people assume so. He favors dredging the Hudson River, has preserved nearly 400,000 acres of open space, and has been touted by fellow Republicans and Democrats alike as environment-friendly. However, his Democratic opponent for governor of New York state, Comptroller H. Carl McCall, also considers himself an environmentalist, and in general the two candidates and the media have made little distinction between the two.

Similarly, both candidates appear to be on the same page with reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. And again, voters who prioritize that issue have the appearance of having little reason to favor one candidate over the other. But in fact, there are differences between Pataki and McCall on key issues like the environment, drug laws, and education reform. There is a distinction to be made. But the task of sorting out these differences is far from easy.

A quick search through the various databases and archives of major newspapers in New York state turns up story after story on the horse race with very few articles focusing on the nitty-gritty of each candidate’s political platform. Where do the two candidates stand on issues? What are the key differences between them, why aren’t they talking about them, and why should progressive voters choose McCall over other third-party candidates? This is information one would think would be at voters’ fingertips. But for the average voter, finding these differences is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

What is known about the two leading candidates, after much searching, is where they stand on a few issues such as education, drug reform, the environment, and the economy. What we don’t know is how different their positions actually are and how the candidates plan on implementing these policies once in office.

Although there are nuances and positions, the public doesn’t see a whole lot of them,” says Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College Polls. “I don’t think this campaign has been about a particular issue, but rather whether people want to change horses and move in a different direction.”

For example, Miringoff points out that McCall raises issues about the economy and education, but so does Pataki, and there has not been a consistent theme that voters could easily point out that would make them realize that these are two different positions.

“There hasn’t been a clear issue demarcation that has been drawn in the minds of voters between the two of them,” says Miringoff. “There are clearly differences, but it is not the kind of thing where voters are seeing this. Most of the election is about George Pataki and whether you want to give him another term or not.”

Here is what we do know about the two candidates:nnnnnn McCall is pro-choice. He has shown support for same-sex marriages with full benefits and protections, and has said that he will move to have the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act turned into law.

Pataki takes the same position on pro-choice issues, and has made no effort to ban so-called partial abortions in New York. Despite his on-the-record stance favoring the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination act, many argue that he has not pushed hard enough to turn this legislation into law since he has been in office. Many question why they should expect this to happen if reelected.

McCall and Pataki both argue in favor of reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. McCall supported a bill, which passed the Assembly, that would give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders, put nonviolent drug offenders in mandatory treatment rather than prison, and improve drug- treatment programs in prisons.

Pataki, on the other hand, is known for being tough on crime. Since elected as governor, he has reinstated the death penalty in New York state. He has pushed for stricter sentencing for offenders and has abolished parole for violent offenders. While he says he wants to implement sensible policies that enable nonviolent drug offenders to serve their time and overcome addiction in alternative programs, and generally says he supports reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws, many argue he has not moved to make these changes thus far. Therefore, critics of Pataki say that this is all rhetoric that will fall by the wayside once he is reelected.

Regarding the environment, it is hard for many to argue that Pataki has not put his money where his mouth is on many issues. Since in office, he has protected more than 300,000 acres of open space, has funded the EPA, and has stood by the dredging of PCBs from the Hudson River. But on issues such as global warming, refinancing the Superfund toxic-cleanup program, and brownfield deals, Pataki has taken a lot of heat from environmentalists for not doing more. While he does ostensibly support the refinancing of the Superfund, he takes a more pro-business stance that most Assembly Democrats disagree with.

Comptroller H. Carl McCall. Photo by Martin Benjamin

McCall, on the other hand, calls for passage of a brownfield bill that would make it easier for local governments to clean up and redevelop plots that once were industrial wastelands. His energy policy is geared toward reducing consumption and would require utilities to purchase 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2008.

Few would argue that the most public difference between the two candidates has been over education reform. McCall, who has made education the hallmark of his campaign, has pledged to increase state funding for schools by $8 billion over four years. He also calls for smaller classes, sound preschool and after-school education and greater school accountability. In addition, his Excellence in Education Scholarship Program will bring, he claims, 10,000 new teachers to New York each year. However, he has been under fire from the Pataki camp for a funds- redistribution proposal they say would help New York city schools at the expense of upstate. His plan has also been accused of being unrealistic without a tax increase, something both he and Pataki claim will not happen if elected.

McCall pledges to reduce tuition at state community colleges by 25 percent, so that no student would pay more than $2,000 a year in tuition and fees. He also says that he will increase state investment into higher education.

Pataki, on the other hand, has been under fire in this campaign for a court decision that argues that some school districts, especially large-city school districts, are not getting a fair share of the funding that they deserve. The governor appealed a decision that said that the courts could mandate how schools allocated education aid. He won on appeal, but the ruling contained a political embarassment: It said that New York is required to provide only an eighth-grade education. Pataki has backtracked and said that even though he agrees with the decision, he would like to negotiate a settlement. Pataki points out that under his leadership, funding for New York schools has increased by $4.8 billion. His Teachers For Tomorrow program seeks to attract and retain educators through tuition reimbursement and funding for teacher certification.

But even with the issues laid on the table, many left-of-center voters are not sold on the idea that McCall tends toward progressive thinking, and question why they should pull the lever for McCall over third-party candidates such as Stanley Aronowitz, the party candidate, or Tom Leighton of the Marijuana Reform Party. Many argue that McCall has not set himself apart from his opponent enough to pull in the progressives. Others insist that Pataki has moved so far toward that center that McCall appears more conservative than he actually is.

“It is not so much that McCall doesn’t have enough of a solid Democratic perspective,” says Bruce Atschuler, chairman of the political science department at SUNY Oswego, “but rather that Pataki has moved so much more toward the middle it has closed the gap between the two.”

“The problem is that if you talk about progressive voters’ point of view, would seem that a Democrat would raise the issue of taxes, which McCall has not,” says Atschuler. “Anytime it is mentioned, he says it is out of the question. So some of his ideas are a bit impossible without raising taxes or without delaying some of the coming-in tax cuts, especially given the current fiscal situation.”

Mark Dunlea, vice chairman of the New York state Green Party, insists that the reason McCall has not been able to appease progressive voters is simply because he is not progressive.

“People argue with me that McCall is a progressive,” says Dunlea, “and I say, where is the evidence of that? He is down the middle and not progressive.”

Green Party Candidate Stanley Aronowitz. Photo by Joe Putrock.

Dunlea says that his party’s candidate, Stanley Aronowitz, is a far more progressive candidate than McCall on a host of issues, from corporate welfare to the war to universal health care, which McCall, he insists, does not support.

“He will not use his power under the state labor law to raise minimum wage without legislative approval,” Dunlea argues. “He only supports raising it to $6.75 an hour. We support raising it to $10 an hour.”

While Dunlea admits that McCall is generous on some environmental issues, the fact that he has not called for a shutdown of all nuclear power plants clearly sets him apart from a true progressive candidate. He also adds that although McCall opposes the death penalty, while Pataki is pro-death penalty, the fact that McCall has come out and said that if elected he would not repeal the death penalty is quite a different stance than what one would expect from a progressive.

“We support repeal of Rockefeller Drug Laws, he supports some sort of reform-type thing,” says Dunlea. “He failed to use his power as state comptroller to vote the right way on a host of environmental, labor, and human-rights issues, and I haven’t heard him say one word about [campaign finance reform].” Dunlea adds that to vote for McCall is to throw away your progressive vote.

But Mark Mishler, who ran on the Green ticket in 2000 against Paul Clyne for Albany County district attorney, disagrees in part with Dunlea. He says that while McCall still has a shot, progressives should give him their vote.

“There is a clear difference between McCall and Pataki,” says Mishler. “On a number of issues he has proven to be progressive. My goal is not to vote for the purest candidate but to figure out, based on the real world, how my vote helps to make a difference.”

In terms of McCall’s long-term commitment to progressive issues and Pataki’s long-term commitment to the Republican party and what that stands for, Mishler says that there is a significant difference between the two administrations.

Who the commissioner is of the department of health or department of environmental conservation or any other state agency makes a difference,” says Mishler. “Who is appointed to the Court of Appeals makes a difference in the real world. So I think if there’s any chance McCall can be elected, we need to vote for him and try to get him elected.”

A difference, he adds, that is real and concrete and that will affect people’s lives.

Mishler points out that one alternative that could help force McCall to acknowledge progressive issues would be to vote for him on the Working Families Party line.

Dan Cantor, executive director of Working Families Party, explains that his party offers an alternative that forces candidates to live up to the progressive values that they claim to hold to during the campaign. He says that instead of running its own candidate, the WFP endorses major candidates and provides them with the crucial swing votes they need to get elected. If the WFP-backed candidate is elected, the party can point to all the votes it delivered and hold the newly elected candidate accountable to WFP’s platform, which includes economic justice, drug law reform, environmental protection, corporate accountability, health care and educational resources. WFP, he adds, is an alternative to bring Democratic candidates back toward the left and not so close to the middle.

“It is a way for people to vote with a statement,” says Cantor. “You will be able to cast a protest vote that counts by voting the Working Families Party line because what you are saying to McCall is that my support is conditional and I am sending you a message because I am not just a Democrat, I am a Working Families Party voter, and that is a way of showing McCall that a hundred thousand people in New York state think it is really important to raise the minimum wage or to pay attention to corporate accountability.”

But for many, the question still left unanswered is how Pataki and McCall actually differ.

“Certainly, there are some differences between the two,” says Atschuler. “But McCall has been sort of like Clinton, a pro-business Democrat. He certainly is to the left of Pataki. But on the other hand, Pataki has moved to being a somewhat moderate Republican who’s more or less pro-choice. He does some things on the environment and has increased education spending and has picked off some if the traditionally Democratic constituents.

The Neutralizer

Republican Gov. George Pataki is attracting the support of some traditional Democratic allies, and blunting the effect of others—how did he do it?

By Shawn Stone

It’s easy to forget the four-star conservative credentials Gov. George Pataki had when he was first elected governor of New York in 1994. In 1993, he was the only state senator to receive a 100-percent rating from the New York Christian Coalition. Every year Pataki served in the state Legislature, he voted to deny Medicaid funding for abortions; in 1984, ’86, and ’88, according to the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion, Pataki received the endorsements of the New York state and Westchester county Right-to-Life political action committees—and the benefit of RTL volunteers on his campaigns.

After his upset win over Democratic incumbent Mario Cuomo, Pataki burnished his credentials. He signed a bill that reinstated the death penalty in New York state. He attempted to slash family-planning funding in his first two budgets. In 1995, his first year in office, Pataki cut 20,000 jobs from the state workforce—remember those “Whacky Pataki” shirts, showing the governor wielding an executioner’s ax on a helpless state worker?

How is it possible, then, that Pataki now takes credit for being pro-choice, and has earned the endorsement for reelection of the Public Employees Federation, one of the two biggest state-worker unions? Additionally, Pataki has claimed credit—and earned acclaim—for his environmentalism and his outreach to minorities. How did this happen? How did a Hudson Valley conservative Republican manage to beguile so many traditional Democratic constituencies?

Mike Paul, who heads a Manhattan-based public relations firm, and worked for both Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the ’90s, credits Pataki’s willingness to reach out to voters outside his own base. Democrats were recycling the same old rhetoric, Paul argues: “ ‘Pataki wants to bust up unions, he wants policies that support only the top 1 percent of white males.’ ” But in fact, he points out, Pataki was working to “give up a little bit to get a majority.”

Indeed, Pataki angered many conservative Republicans in April 2001 when he traveled to Vieques, Puerto Rico, visited the Navy bombing range, and urged President Bush to stop the bomb tests: “No mas bombas!” This action, along with a concerted outreach program to Hispanics, has paid off. According to a Newsday-NY1 Poll released Oct. 11, Pataki has the support of 31 percent of New York Hispanics, while his Democratic challenger, state Comptroller Carl McCall, has 39 percent. With 20 percent undecided (and 7 percent for Thomas Golisano), Pataki seems to have effectively neutralized a traditional Democratic voting group.

On other issues, Pataki’s moderate appeal is more smoke and mirrors—such as his position on abortion, for example. Pataki was calling himself “pro-choice” as early as his single term as a state senator (1992-94)—immediately after getting campaign help from Right-to-Life groups. Despite the fact that he has promised, as governor, to sign both parental-notification legislation (which would require minors to get parental permission for an abortion) and a bill prohibiting so-called “partial birth” abortions, he has never been in a position where he would have to—and as long as the Assembly is controlled by the Democrats, he never will.

George Pataki points with pride to his record on the environment. Indeed, environmental groups agree that it was the governor’s intervention with the Environmental Protection Agency that ensured that the EPA would force General Electric to fully dredge PCBs from the Hudson—over 2.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment over a 40-mile stretch of the river. Again showing that he could cross his allies, Pataki effectively sabotaged a compromise plan for a smaller dredging project worked out between the EPA and North Country Republican Congressman John Sweeney, and enraged many of his upstate conservative supporters.

Also, Pataki has been instrumental in adding thousands of acres of wilderness in an ambitious land-acquisition and preservation program. Pataki often speaks of former President—and New York state Gov.—Theodore Roosevelt as his inspiration, and has spoken eloquently of his feelings for the environment, especially the Hudson Valley and the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, according to many activists, Pataki’s commitment to the environment begins and ends with land preservation.

“Pataki is an environmentalist in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt,” notes Jeff Jones of Environmental Advocates of New York. “His land-acquisition program is commendable, and for real. Environmental progress is a lot more complicated than saving land, however.”

To many activists, the rest of Pataki’s environmental program is almost nonexistent. For example, in 2001, Pataki appointed a Greenhouse Gas Task Force and promised that New York state would be a leader in restricting the gasses most directly contributing to global warming. When the task force completed its report this past May, however, the Pataki administration chose not to release it. As Jones points out, Pataki “did not deliver on the state program for global warming, or on a plan to refinance the Superfund program, or effective brownfields legislation.”

There are, according to EPA estimates, thousands of brownfield sites in New York state—former industrial or manufacturing sites, often located in urban areas, contaminated with toxic chemicals, and thus currently unusable. As Environmental Advocates point out, New York is the “only industrialized state that has not enacted brownfields legislation.” By halfheartedly pushing 4-year-old, inadequate brownfields legislation, they argue, the Pataki administration allows a problem to flourish that contributes to urban blight and suburban sprawl, and encourages developers to build on “greenfields”—undeveloped land. With regard to the Superfund program, which finances the cleanup of the worst toxic waste sites, the Pataki administration tied refinancing to a lowering of cleanup standards—thus dooming a Superfund compromise with the Legislature.

If there is one group that the Democratic party can usually count on for support, it’s labor unions. In this year, however, Democratic nominee H. Carl McCall is distinctly lacking the backing of some major players. The New York State United Teachers—all 480,000 strong—are making no endorsement, while the teachers union in New York City, the United Federation of Teachers, has endorsed Gov. Pataki. Pataki has also been endorsed by the Teamsters, the Hotel Trades Council, the Public Employees Federation, and a number of smaller unions.

Despite the fact that more New York workers have slipped into poverty since George Pataki has been governor—the poverty rate increased, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, from 13.5 percent in 1990 to 14.6 percent in 2000—and despite the opposition of the Pataki administration to any increase in the minimum wage, labor unions are supporting George Pataki’s reelection in numbers that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

Some of this support might simply be an unwillingness to offend a popular incumbent who seems likely to be reelected. Much of it, however, can be traced directly to efforts by Pataki to woo labor unions. The unions have been more than willing to get romantic with the governor—some, for a price. As longtime Democratic strategist and former McCall aid Hank Sheinkopf told the New York Sun, “This is a watershed election . . . labor unions are placing self-interest above ideology.”

No organization has benefited more dramatically from Pataki’s election year strategy than 1199-Service Employees International, led by Dennis Rivera. Pataki supported—and the Legislature approved—raises amounting to $1.8 billion for the health care workers of 1199.

“People like Carl McCall took these unions for granted,” Mike Paul argues. “Pataki went to Dennis Rivera [and the union] and said, ‘I believe that your workers deserve the increases.’ ” As Paul sees it, this is why Pataki is succeeding with traditional Democratic constituencies where national politicians, including President George W. Bush, have failed: Pataki backs up his rhetoric with a willingness to work with, and make deals with, groups that wouldn’t ordinarily go anywhere near a Republican officeholder.

Some of Pataki’s early supporters are not pleased. Bernard Brooks, statewide coordinator for the anti-tax group CHANGE-NY, puts it bluntly: “It’s unfortunate, the health care deal—it’s essentially a payoff for Dennis Rivera’s endorsement.” Though Pataki spokespersons have repeatedly denied any quid pro quo, “payoff” is a common term for the deal with 1199; as Victor Gotbaum, a former New York City labor official, told the New York Sun, “This was an open payoff. . . . Pataki went to Dennis Rivera and said, ‘Sign the check, anything you want.’ ”

Probably the most shocking pro-labor move by the Pataki administration—and, it must be noted, the Republican-controlled state Senate—came at the end of September, when Pataki signed a bill prohibiting employers who receive state money from using it to finance efforts to stop union organizing. Employers will be required to keep detailed records of the state monies they receive, and prohibited from using any of this money to hire lawyers or public relations firms to help prevent their workers from organizing.

In recent days, McCall has attacked the governor for his failure to support a minimum-wage hike, and what McCall says are the job losses the state has suffered under Pataki. Last week, McCall picked up the endorsement of the building service workers, bringing his total union member support to more than 800,000. Impressive, but the Pataki campaign spokespeople claim they have the backing of more than 1 million unionists.

This is more than a matter of numbers. The unions backing Pataki will be making crucial phone calls and get-out-the-vote efforts for their candidate, while the neutral unions won’t be doing anything at all. State Democratic party chairman Herman “Denny” Farrell argued, in a statement released after the health care workers endorsed Pataki, that when “it comes time to pull a lever in a voting booth . . . health care workers vote on policy, not politics.” He seemed to address the unspoken reality that significant union efforts would be made on behalf of George Pataki, however, when he added: “Democrats have always executed a sophisticated operation on Election Day, and we intend to break all . . . records on behalf of our Democratic candidate for governor this year.” Given the allies the Pataki campaign has lined up, they will have to.

If I Had $75 Million

Can B. Thomas Golisano become governor of New York by outspending the other candidates—with his own money?

By Travis Durfee

Independence Party Candidate B.Tthomas Golisano. Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen.

He has started his own political party, his ads seem to run as frequently as network promos, and his name has become synonymous with “billionaire Rochester businessman.”

But who is B. Thomas Golisano? What does he stand for? Why is he spending what seems like so much money to the rest of us on what some say is a quixotic campaign to reform New York state government?

“A vote for McCall or Pataki is a vote for the status quo,” says Ernest Baynard, a spokesman for Golisano. “The important distinction is that New York voters are far more comfortable electing someone paying for their own campaign rather than someone paying for their campaign with special interest and taxpayer money. [Golisano] stands accountable on his issues.”

The fact that Golisano’s political stock is rising may prove Baynard’s point to be more than just campaign rhetoric. Golisano won the Independence Party nomination for governor in the Sept. 10 primary, stealing important third-party votes from incumbent Gov. George Pataki. This defeat exposed a chink in Pataki’s armor, according to the Golisano camp. Pataki’s vulnerability was further highlighted by two lawsuits filed by the incumbent claiming that Golisano violated election law, both of which have so far failed to knock him off the ballot.

Golisano is making gains in the polls as well. A recent public-opinion poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute shows Golisano’s popularity with upstate voters eclipsing that of Democratic nominee H. Carl McCall. Whether it is his flood of political advertising or his issues that have sparked interest, support for Golisano is growing.

“The American people love [candidates] who pay for their own campaigns,” says Alan Chartock, publisher of The Legislative Gazette and executive director of local National Public Radio affiliate WAMC. “As a political scientist it appalls me, because what happens is you create a system where money talks and all others walk. But with that said, there is part of me that buys the common myth. If these guys are willing to put all this money into it, there is something sort of neat about it.”

What Golisano hopes that voters find “neat” are his plans to reform New York state government by improving the public education system, cutting taxes and creating jobs. Golisano believes he can accomplish all of this by ridding the state political system of the influence of special interest money.

“We are reforming the budget process,” says Baynard. “Tom wants to enact a zero-based budgeting system. Every agency will have to justify every dollar they spend, just like a company. This way money will be spent based on merit rather than on political influence, which is the order of the day.”

Freeing the state’s political process from the grips of special-interest money has been the mantra of Golisano’s campaign. According to Baynard, the influence of this money in state government is evident in Pataki’s coziness with labor unions and companies doing business with the state.

“He made a deal with Dennis Rivera of 1199 SEIU in exchange for an endorsement,” says Baynard. “Kawasaki Rail is doing business with the state of New York and has given [money] to his campaign. El Paso Electric, they’ve given to Pataki and are awaiting DEC approval regarding a new power plant that they want to start here.”

Baynard says the difference with Golisano is that he doesn’t need to take, nor does he accept, contributions from companies doing business with the state. While Golisano wants to stand accountable on his issues, analysts have said the state’s political system runs on elected officials washing the hands of the private sector in exchange for public support.

“You can’t basically change the school aid formula,” says Chartock. “There is a Legislature that does this. There are deals these guys have made with the unions that will last forever. [Former Gov.] Mario [Cuomo] couldn’t change it, Pataki couldn’t do it.”

Chartock refers to one of the apparently sound policies Golisano has advanced during his campaign that critics fear would have difficulty being implemented in state government: the education-reform-oriented Opportunity Scholarship Initiative. The program calls for reworking the state’s education budgeting process, ensuring that state revenues from the lottery directly go to the state’s education fund. Golisano claims, supported with evidence from a 1998 New York state comptroller’s report filed by McCall, that the state Legislature has instead used lottery funds to justify a decrease in general education spending. With this additional revenue—Golisano’s campaign estimates it at $1.9 billion—students in New York receiving a B average or better in high school would be eligible for a free education at SUNY or CUNY schools.

Another of Golisano’s restructuring policies would allow New Yorkers to vote on single issues rather than waiting for a change in state law to go through the Legislature. Passing a law allowing for initiative and referendum would “open up the political system to voters, especially when there are political logjams holding things up,” Baynard says. The ability for voters to be able to change state law on a single issue is one so desired in New York that candidates like the Marijuana Reform Party’s Tom Leighton and the Right to Life Party’s Gerald Cronin have dedicated their entire campaigns to advancing narrowly focused platforms.

“We’ve never had in New York an experience of a governor who is not a Republican or Democrat,” says Dr. Jerald Benjamin, dean of liberal arts and sciences at SUNY New Paltz. “That would either be an opportunity for real change in New York or completely immobilizing. If [Golisano] gets elected, how effective will he be with the Legislature?”

Benjamin says Golisano would not be able to pass clean elections and term-limits laws by himself. While Golisano claims these reforms are necessary to rid New York government of career politicians, Benjamin says, “Delivering on this stuff is another matter.”

But Baynard insists Golisano will be able to prove this point moot once elected. “Pataki has proven that the governor has a powerful pulpit and powerful voice in Albany,” he says. “He will garner political support using the full power of the office of the governor.”

To get that opportunity, Golisano is continuing his campaign for the support of New York voters, and it is costing him. State board of election figures show the Tom Golisano for Governor Committee has spent $39.4 million on his campaign so far, and his camp has stated that he is prepared to spend $75 million on this, his third, bid for governor.

In Golisano’s previous attempts in 1994 and 1998, he spent $6.5 and $13 million, respectively. By doubling his spending, Golisano’s percentage of the popular vote doubled as well, from 4 percent in 1994 to 8 percent in 1998. And this year, with his spending already tripling that of 1998, he is now polling as high as 18 percent. So why doesn’t he go out and, based on his previous spending returns, shell out $100 million-plus, and ensure victory by plurality? Political analysts say it doesn’t work that way.

“Money is not a pure determinant of outcomes in elections,” says Benjamin. “Being rich makes him competitive and gives him a chance, but there is no linear relationship between the amount of money you spend and the amount of the vote you get.”

Benjamin adds that Golisano’s ability to demonstrate competitiveness, to convince the voters that voting for him is not a wasted vote, is crucial to his campaign’s success. He adds that Golisano has “done some very smart things in regards to his advertising” and it has left an impression on voters. Benjamin says that by portraying himself as a self-made man and appealing to the middle class with his higher-education proposal, Golisano may be attaining the delicate balance of issues and image that could make him competitive on Election Day.

“I am increasingly impressed with the sophistication of this effort,” Benjamin says. “It’s not just spending money—someone is thinking hard about how to spend it.”

Since pointing out the current governor’s fiscal irresponsibility is one of the cornerstones of his campaign, Golisano hopes that spending money wisely will resonate with voters.

“By changing the way the state does business and running it the way a company should be run, he’ll get our fiscal house in order,” says Baynard. “This is a much more common-sense way to do business.”

Though he does not believe that Golisano will be New York’s next governor, Chartock says common sense shows that the candidate’s rags-to-riches-fueled popularity will definitely affect the outcome on Nov. 5.

“Golisano has great guns upstate,” says Chartock. “The election will be bought and sold in the suburbs. If Golisano can bring his conservative agenda to the suburbs and can pick up the kind of momentum he’s got upstate, McCall will win the election.”


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