February 25, 2008

Battle In The North Country

There is a battle going on in rural Northern New York. A nasty and expensive campaign between two State Assemblymen, Republican William Barclay and Democrat Darrel Aubertine, has generated significant statewide interest. The two are looking to fill the seat vacated by former State Senator James Wright. So why the interest in a race that for years was a virtual blip on the political map? Because the balance of power in New York state politics potentially hangs in the balance.

The New York Times wrote, "The 48th Senate District, in the upper reaches of the state, almost irrelevant in state politics for so long, has become the Fort Sumter of a multimillion-dollar war between Democrats, led by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, and Republicans, for control of the Senate. Indeed, voters in this icy swath of hinterland along Lake Ontario, including Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, will have a big say over whether a balance of power shifts in Albany for the first time in 40 years."

From Sunday's Albany Times Union: "The opening shot in the battle for the state Senate begins Tuesday in the snowy, sparsely populated North Country, where state party money, hordes of volunteers and attack ads have transformed the steady drumbeat of local issues into a spectacle of knock-down, drag-out Empire State politics."

From Thursday's New York Sun: "In a quirk of politics that is startling even by Empire State standards, a band of irate fishermen who live almost 300 miles from New York City may play a pivotal role in determining the fate of the state Senate."

Obviously with the amount of money, resources and bodies being poured into this area, both Republicans and Democrats view this race as crucial to their respective efforts. With Election Day less than 24 hours away, a single race with statewide implications will have political eyes watching closely.


Pete M said...

Obviously there is a ton riding on this race. I would be curious to see where the candidate's financial contributions are coming from. Something tells me that the Dem candidate is getting a serious influx of cash from NYC. That would be very telling.

Anonymous said...

Pete, that information is very easy to find....here you go:


cardinal said...

If the Dems win, the upstate taxpayers should be prepared to open up their wallets again. Could you imagine all statewide elected officials from downstate, the Manhattan Speaker and the Senate Majority from Queens? God help us! It may be time to begin the process of creating the 51st state.

proud democrat said...

I wouldn`t worry about having to support Down State again so soon. But wait till the races for the local Senate seats start. If all goes as predicted in earlier blogs, than races in this area of the state will make tomorrows election look like a traveling circus.

Anonymous said...

I hope for the Democrats that they win this seat because there is no way that the Democrats will win the Mary Lou Rath Senate seat with Dan Ward or Michele Ianello, they both are losing candidates. Michele Ianello because of her lack of qualifications, lack of ability to understand complex issues, lack of ability to raise the needed money, lack of name recognition and the fact that she has never had a serious opponent. Dan Ward because he hasn't won a one on one race since the 1980's.

pirate's code said...

I tried to save you folks some time and looked up campaign expenses myself. If you have any doubt about the seriousness of this race, simply note that the two candidates, starting from zero just a few months back, combined have raised more than $1.83 million, and spent more than $1.76 million.

Most of the money has come from the state level committees of the two parties -- $874,700 for Barclay from the Senate Repubs, and $864,000 from the Senate Dems.

Barclay has spent most of his on two upstate consultants -- Cookfair in Syracuse (longtime GOP strategist/consultant) and Wahl Media in Fairport (advertising firm) -- to the tune of almost $745,000.

Aubertine has spent most of his so far -- nearly $833,000 -- on a single consultant, Global Strageties Group out of NYC. They list themselves as the "general consultant and pollster" for Spitzer's recent campaigns for AG and Governor.

Both of these make sense because, in such a short campaign, it is all about the media buy.

Neither has raised a ton from individuals or corporates, just a couple of notes -- Aubertine has received $35,000 from a handful of individuals with NYC addresses. He also has more union money, as one might expect carrying the Dem flag.

Barclay has only $2,600 worth of corporate money listed, although he did get $10,000 from a certain law firm by the name of Hiscock & Barclay.

What's it all mean? It's good to be a consultant, I guess. Otherwise, that's a huge pile of Benjamins for a race in a sleepy part of Upstate.

proud democrat said...

Look at the finale cost to flip this seat. Th price for politics just went up.