night leaves no one guessing about who won the major races
Tracy Brooks’ campaign announced a day before the primary
this week that they would go to court to request that voting
machines be impounded after all votes were cast, in anticipation
of an extremely close race for the 21st Congressional District
seat. Their request was granted. But by 10 o’clock on primary
night, it became fairly clear that the race was not nearly
as close as the Brooks campaign had hoped. Former Assemblyman
Paul Tonko had kept the race close in Albany and took votes
home in a landslide in his former assembly district. By 10:40
PM, Brooks conceded the race.
was a combination of my past experience and a record of change
that I had produced that allowed me to speak forcibly about
change I want as a congressional representative,” Tonko said
at his victory speech at the Washington Tavern.
Poll watchers at Townsend Park Apartments in Albany reported
a fairly steady turnout for primary night. Outside, Phil Steck
supporters, wrapped in his signs and stickers, marched up
and down rain-soaked sidewalks. A lone Tonko supporter stood
on the other side of the street, waving at cars.
Tonko took home around 14,000 votes and Brooks followed with
more than 11,000. Albany County Legislator Phil Steck took
home more than 6,000—while ex-Kirsten Gillibrand staffer Darius
Shahinfar earned nearly 4,000 votes. Joseph Sullivan, former
Albany city Republican Party chair who switched to Democrat,
took home around 2 percent of the vote. Steck and Shanifar
conceded the race to Tonko and though Steck is still on the
Independence Party line, he has stated that he will not actively
Brooks had a blast of last-minute exposure—including a number
of television spots and an endorsement from the Times Union—but
Tonko’s name recognition and good will in his district proved
too much to overcome.
Tonko had been the assumed favorite in the contest; however,
his late entry into the race made some pundits think earlier
entrants like Steck and Brooks, who ran tight campaigns, might
have been able to overtake him.
This is the second time Brooks, a former Republican and Clinton
staffer, has lost a race. She was unsuccessful in a bid to
unseat Assemblyman Pat Casale in 2002.
Meanwhile, Republican Schenectady County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster
won an overwhelming victory against challenger Steven Vasquez.
Buhrmaster released a statement saying he looked forward to
doing battle with Tonko.
In the primary for the 46th District of the New York Senate,
incumbent Neil Breslin won in a landslide against his two
challengers, David Weiss and Charlie Voelker. Breslin garnered
around 15,000 votes, and his opponents took more than 2,000
a piece. It was the first primary Breslin has ever faced for
the seat. Voelker has announced he will continue to campaign
on the Conservative line.
In Rensselaer County, Mike Russo defeated Brian Premo to win
the Democratic Party line in the race for the 43rd District
Senate seat vacated by former Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
On the Republican side, Roy McDonald defeated Raymond Seney.
In Saratoga County, all three McTygue brothers—Thomas, Peter
and William—were defeated for their seats on the city Democratic
Committee by Democrats for Change candidates. Last year, Republican
Skip Scirocco defeated Thomas McTygue for the commissioner
of Public Works position that McTygue had held for more than
30 years. Democrats for Change candidates declared an end
to decades of “McTygue dominance.”
the face of the current state of the American
health care system and the ongoing health care
debate, Americans may have a hard time empathizing
with the French, who are facing cuts to their
national healthcare system. French President Nicolas
Sarkozy has cut funding for half of the country’s
165 physiotherapists at the National Baths of
Aix-Les-Bains. As a result, the physiotherapists
have gone on strike. Sarkozy has begun to take
on France’s state sector industries, which have
regularly scared away attempted cuts by previous
French leaders. In a recent speech, Sarkozy recently
pointed out that there are 721 French diplomats
in the former colony of Senegal, which only has
a population of 12 million—while there are only
271 diplomats in India. “How is that normal?”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had a run in
with protestors who were holding McCain signs
and chanting “Drill here! Drill Now!” during the
Democratic National Convention this week. The
speaker paused and then responded, “Right here?”
“Can we drill your brains?” Pelosi went on to
call the protestors “the handmaidens of big oil”
and the “two-cents-in-ten-years crowd,” referring
to the amount she thinks off-shore drilling will
reduce the price of gas.
Day the Swinging Died
Region pundits and reporters lost one of their
favorite subjects this week. A Slingerlands psychiatrist
put in the winning bid to buy the Union Street
Bed and Breakfast in Schenectady, effectively
ending the run of the swinger hangout that features
a sex dungeon in its basement. Owner Bob Alexson
has said that he was not driven out but has chosen
to move on. Alexson clearly did not consider what
area columnists and anchors would be left to write
about with his sexy B&B out of the picture.
Seattle woman who registered her dog to vote—a
protest against the lax oversight of voter registration—had
fraud charges dropped against her this week. The
judge dismissed the case, sighting that the woman
had already paid over $200 in court costs. The
woman did not try to hide the fact that her dog
was registered, and she pointed out that the dog
never actually voted.
news: Darius Shanifar waits for primary results.
County Family Court candidate accuses incumbent Courtenay
Hall of stealing his signs and slogan
uncommon to see slogans created by one candidate usurped by
another. One prominent examplei can be seen in the presidential
race: Rather than attack Barack Obama’s push for “change,”
John McCain has tried desperately to make the term his own.
But Saratoga County Family Court candidate Kurt Mausert didn’t
expect to have his slogan, “A Family Man for Family Court,”
co-opted by his opponent in a race he had been told by many
was insignificant in a busy political year.
said he is used to hearing that no one is paying attention,
that no one cares. But Mausert, who copyrighted his slogan
along with the rest of his campaign material, said he cares
deeply about the race and about having his intellectual property
statement, Rich Moran, Mausert’s campaign advisor, wrote,
“Courtenay Hall, in his 32 years of legal experience, apparently
failed to learn the lesson the rest of us learned in childhood:
Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.”
declined to comment and referred Metroland to his campaign
chair, Jefferey Bagnoli, who did not return calls for comment.
Bagnoli told the Daily Gazette, “It’s like someone
running for Congress saying it’s time for a change. It’s a
common slogan,” Bagnoli said. “Kurt is really out-of-bounds
with this kind of campaign. I’ve never seen a judicial candidate
use such negative tactics, especially someone running for
family court.” Bagnoli also said that Hall had used a similar
slogan during his first run for the position years ago.
said that running as a Democrat in Saratoga County is a lot
like running as a Republican in Albany County—the deck is
stacked against you. Mausert said that he feels his opponent
has been laying low, trying not to make any waves, to quietly
has been making noise and pushing his platforms all around
Saratoga County. He can be found during the mornings at the
Saratoga Springs Farmers Market, handing out literature and
talking to passerby about how he feels that Saratoga County—
the wealthiest counties in the state—should spend more money
on mediation and amenities in the courthouse to keep victims
of abuse comfortable and away from their abusers.
worries that Hall will confuse voters now that Hall is showing
up campaigning late in the game with the same slogan.
a race with such little supposed stature, Mausert’s bumper
stickers and signs have become common sight in Saratoga County.
However, Mausert alleges that his signs are beginning to disappear
in a mysterious fashion. He said that more than 45 signs have
gone missing from Clifton Park in only three days’ time.
there was controversy when the Saratoga County Independence
Party endorsed Hall. Mausert claimed that the party had promised
to invite him to speak at the meeting where the endorsement
was decided, and then did not follow through. Mausert claimed
the party chair was either “confused or corrupt.”
is currently ahead in the race for the Independence line with
an unofficial tally of 149 votes to Mausert’s 126. Mausert,
however, said that he expects absentee ballots to tighten
up the race.
primary race isn’t over,” said Mausert. “This race is amazingly
close. Here is the context I view this in: He has been active
in politics for years, he was the endorsed candidate and the
incumbent, and the race is still close enough for me to whack
him on the backside. This is an amazing result.”
end, Mausert said it may seem like a silly issue, but more
is at stake than just a slogan. “Imitation is flattery, but
it is also confusing to the voters. If our slogan made an
impression and voters remember and like it, they may not remember
who is using it. Confused voters means loss of votes.”
loose ends this week-