Saratoga Springs is a gambling town. And in gambling towns, people like to know the odds. Sometimes is so they can take their money and throw it on a winner; other times it’s because they’re feeling lucky and want to play the long shot. Were most people true gaming aficionados, they’d probably have a sixth sense of the odds and the local rag wouldn’t need to print the Pink Sheet each summer. But with most normal people lacking this sense, there’s a market for the odds, even if they’re right only half the time.
So imagine the broad-based dismay among the Spa City’s voting public when they reached for the Saratogian this weekend and read Managing Editor Barbara Lombardo’s column
about the paper forgoing its endorsements for the election.
“…the publisher and I agreed that The Saratogian could serve readers best by providing news coverage and, as always, making sure the editorial page continues to be a forum for local opinion,” she wrote in the column published Saturday.
Sweet baby Jesus. The Saratogian has decided against foisting its opinion on readers? What’s next? Eliminating the Pink Sheet? Well, the editorial crew at iSaratoga has nowhere near the scruples of Lombardo, her publisher or any of the other lofty-minded news outlets that did provide endorsements in lieu of the odds, which is what people really
want to know.
Let’s face it: Were the common voter not lusting to know the spread, John Zogby’s recent appearance at the Canfield Casino last week wouldn’t have made a ripple in the news, the political science majors at Siena College would have a hell of a lot more drinking time on their hands, and newspaper pages would bear vast tracts of empty space where the poll numbers were once printed.
So let’s cut to the chase. Election Day is a gambling addict’s holiday. It’s the one day of the year preceded by all the other days of the year where folks of this ilk can talk game free and unabated by the constraints of the local chapter of Gamblers Anonymous, their spiritual leader or prying family members who simply don’t understand the rush in throwing several hundred thousand dollars down on hand of Texas Hold’em.
So here are the odds at today’s races for those who might just want to bet on…um…vote for the winner. Or perhaps those who want to find a long-shot in the mix.
John McCain vs. Barack Obama
Stakes: A sweet pad in D.C.; the free world
Track condition: Yielding
Odds: Obama 2-to-1
In the race that means the most to voters but the least in the actual day-to-day lives of voters, the senator from Illinois will win it by what some pundits will call a landslide. Any doubts about the pathetic nature of McCain’s plumber-centric campaign were allayed when the frail candidate attempted to parody himself on Saturday Night Live, just one week after his equally pitiful running mate appeared on the show. McCain will lose for many of the same reasons as Sandy Treadwell: You can’t say you want to ‘change’ a system you helped cultivate. This isn’t to say Obama hasn’t done or won’t do the same; just he’s got less of a track record. And when the other horse has a history of losing, sometimes it’s better to go with the unknown.
Sandy Treadwell vs. Kirsten Gillibrand
Stakes: The 20th Congressional District
Track condition: Fast.
Odds: Gillibrand 5-to-4
Late afternoon showers left the track a bit muddy. That hasn’t stopped these well-heeled thoroughbreds from running at a break-neck pace. Yet with a furlong to go, Gillibrand appears to be pulling ahead. In a somewhat desperate move, the independently wealthy Treadwell has been clutching and grabbing in hopes of thwarting the incumbent Democrat, but with little avail. In truth, Treadwell’s history of running beaten favorites will hopefully lead to his campaign getting put out to pasture; maybe even the glue factory. After all, how can the electorate that showed the hopelessly corrupt John Sweeney to the door possibly elect the guy who allowed such a bibulous freak into power in the first place?
Roy McDonald vs. Mike Russo
Stakes: The state’s 43rd Senate District
Track condition: Muddy
Odds: McDonald 4-to-1
Alleged Working Families party candidate Chris Consuello
would figure into this race, had he not been hosing down the track for the past week. What was initially a clean race between the highly-favored Republican and Russo abruptly turned muddy when the Republicans sent out a last-minute mailer urging third-party voters to pull the lever for Consuello, who rightfully won a primary but is otherwise known as a GOP plant. Note to Consuello: If you ever do consider a serious run for office, try and learn how to use Photoshop. The whole flap is fairly senseless, seeing as though longtime 43rd sitter Joe Bruno all but anointed McDonald the victor. Russo didn’t do much to attract voters when he claimed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority had “blah blah blah
” somewhere in its official title.
Jim Tedisco vs. Jim Tedisco
Stakes: The state Assembly Majority’s whipping boy
Track condition: Closed
Odds: Tedisco 1-to-1
The sad part about it is that Tedisco is actually running this race. Or at least his supporters have bothered to put out a sign or three. Pathetically, the Democrats or the area’s third party pawns…cough…Working Families…cough…couldn’t find anything or anyone to run against Tedisco, the 26-year-veteran of the assembly who is rapidly becoming the Capital Region’s new Joe Bruno. As many recall, even the Democrats tacitly supported Bruno’s uncontested reign in office by not endorsing their own candidate and even taking great pains to knock potential candidates off the ballot.
Matt Dorsey vs. Jeffrey Wait
Stakes: A decade of arraigning drunks in City Court
Track condition: Dry
Odds: Dorsey 5-to-2
Some would opine that neither candidate is good successor for retiring Republican Douglas Mills. Dorsey, the former city attorney, was endorsed by the city Republican Committee over part-time city court Judge James Doern
, who served nine years as Mills’ understudy. And then there’s Wait, who the Democrats for Change
did everything in their power to torpedo before he soundly bested Joe Montagnino in September’s primary. They ultimately decided to support Wait as an olive branch to mend the party. But in this case, it’s a dollar short and a day late.
Jim Buhrmaster vs. Paul Tonko
Stakes: The 21st Congressional District
Track condition: Sloppy
Odds: Tonko 3-to-1
Tonko would have to have a real stumble in the final stretch to lose this race. The race started out as a free-for-all for the Democratic nomination, but ended with Tonko soundly securing the nomination; game, set match. The 21st District is occupied by generally beloved Rep. Michael McNulty and is heavily gerrymandered to support the Democratic cause. Couple this with Tonko –the assemblyman that was able to carry a heavily Republican Montgomery County for nearly 25 years –and you have a near vertical challenge for Buhrmaster to overcome at the polls. Buhrmaster is also hampered by the fact that he has next to no recognition as a minority member of the Democrat-dominated Schenectady County Legislature.
Hugh Farley vs. Fred Goodman
Stakes: The state’s 43rd Senate District
Track condition: Slow
Odds: Farley 6-to-1
Voters love an old geezer, and Farley is no exception. The electorate first put Farley into office during the United State Bicentennial, and there’s a good chance they’ll keep re-electing him until the tercentennial. There’s a comfort Farley brings to his constituents that’s reminiscent of the feeling some get when they visit grandpa at the retirement home. But let’s give credit where credit is due: Goodman, a Democrat, and Working Families Party candidate B.K. Keramati are at least running against Father Time, even if neither really has a chance of winning. The only challenger that stands a chance of unseating Farley is senility, and even that would be a neck-and-neck race.
Tony Jordan vs. Ian McGaughey
Stakes: The state’s 112th Assembly District
Track condition: Heavy
Odds: Jordan 6-to-5
Folks, if you’re looking for shaky bet this is your race. The challenge for McDonald’s soon-to-be-vacated seat could go either way. Jordan
was quick out of the gate against McGaughey and was being heavily pushed by the Republicans over the summer, when his challenger was basically unknown to about two-thirds of the district. But since then, the Assembly Democrats
have been pumping money into McGaughey’s campaign in hopes to reach the diehard Irish electorate and the geriatrics that will mistakenly believe they’re still voting for the immensely popular McDonald. They might be onto something here.
That’s about it for the handicapping on an election many media outleare already terming a “historic election
” long before the votes are even tallied. Unfortunately, many of these voters participating in this oddly dubbed contest will crawl back into their hovels and blow off their democratic duties come the local elections. Sadly, as one reporter pointed out, those races start tomorrow