December 23, 2011

Schimminger's Problem

This piece in the Buffalo News a few days ago highlighting Assemblyman Robin Schimminger's bucking of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor Andrew Cuomo on two key policy votes touches on the possibility of repercussions against Schimminger by Cuomo in the 2012 election cycle. Cuomo had supposedly threatened to campaign against members of the Assembly GOP caucus if the group didn't vote unanimously for Cuomo's budget bill. Schimminger ended up being one of just two Assembly Dems to vote against the measure.

The vote, as the piece depicts, was quite out of character for Schimminger, who's primarily been a "go along to get along" type of guy during his 35 years in the Assembly. This anomaly, however big or small in the eyes of the beholder, has not gone unnoticed by the governor's office.

For the record, we like Cuomo - so far. He's gotten a handle on the state's budget woes and we like his take no prisoners approach to getting things done. Sort of like Eliot Spitzer and his "I'm a fucking steamroller" approach, but with a certain flair and panache that Spitzer severely lacked. Given the state of the state, we need drastic measures to be taken by people with the will, fortitude and vision to turn around the most dysfunctional state government in the country. That's why we know that, even with Tom Precious highlighting a potential election problem for Schimminger from Cuomo, the issue runs deeper than that.

Niagara Times has learned that some folks quite close to Cuomo have participated in discussions with North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, the popular Republican, about challenging Schimminger in 2012. While that news may come as a shock to some, it frankly isn't all that surprising given Cuomo's penchant for reaching across political aisles to accomplish what he wants.If Schimminger isn't with him, he's against him.

With New York State is going through a redistricting process that will see most Senate, Assembly and Congressional districts take on different shapes, the timing works. Schimminger currently represents most of North Tonawanda and the city and town of Tonawanda. With Silver controlling the Assembly redistricting, and Schimminger on the outs with him, there's a strong likelihood that Schimminger's district will look a whole lot different come petition time. Given the run Kevin Stocker took at him in 2010, combined with a much less politically-friendly district, Schimminger could be very vulnerable next year. Don' think for one second that these facts have escaped Mr. Cuomo's attention. 

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