Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend Update

Watching the never-ending procession of Dems vie for the 20th Congressional District is sort of like watching Jimmy Fallon’s career plunge after he left Saturday Night Live: Sad, but still funny in a way. Mere days after Kirsten Gillibrand was slated to be New York’s next senator, nearly three dozen Democrats from all over the sprawling 10-county district were said to be interested in her seat, ranging from little-known lawyers to a former National Hockey League goalie.

The scramble continued all week, as candidates ebbed and flowed into the race. Mike Richter, the most obvious candidate, pulled his name from contention by mid-week, claiming he wanted to spend more time with his young family and environmental business enterprise in Manhattan. Then on Friday, party leaders announced they had whittled the 30-something names down to a mere half-dozen. Or at least that’s what they’re telling the media.

Democratic insiders say union organizer Suzy Ballantyne will be the candidate to challenge state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Republican juggernaut in his own rite. In choosing the director of governmental affairs for the New York State AFL-CIO, the party will have a candidate they hope will be able to tap the district’s strong labor union contingent. Officially, the party won’t announce their choice until Sunday afternoon, right before the Super Bowl.

But to choose anyone aside from Ballantyne would stand against all political logic. First and foremost, she’s the top pick of Saratoga County Democratic Chairman Larry Bulman –a union man himself –even if he won’t outwardly admit it. Second, she’s not Tracy Egan, who isn’t exactly in the best graces with the 20th District’s state committee representative. Mind you, the former network anchor’s father was a major proponent of Patti Southworth, the wife of the fellow who tried to oust Shawn Thompson last fall. And let’s not go into the myriad reasons city Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim won’t get the nod.

True, Ballantyne doesn’t have nearly the name recognition as Tedisco. Yet she’s anything but a political neophyte. She’s a grass-roots organizer with an extraordinary network of supporters that may have the ability to raise the kind of dough needed to win the district. She’ll be going up against the GOP’s last great hope in New York, who also happens to hold the key to the Republican Assembly Committee’s war chest.

There’s more behind the choice of Ballantyne than simply her ability generate cash for the party. First and foremost, it’s her appeal to woman voters that makes her an ideal choice for the seat. Don’t think Camp Tedisco hasn’t taken note of this either. The minority leader appeared on the Saratoga Springs Public Library stairs with about two dozen ‘Women for Tedisco’ Saturday afternoon, amid the cold and throngs of masticating chowderheads.

Tedisco’s message wasn’t much different than his normal spiel. Cut taxes...blah..blah…blah…create jobs…jobs…jobs…’I stood up to the steam roller’...yadada… yadada... Really, he said nothing outside of what he normally says, and certainly nothing to convince anyone that woman voters will come out for him in droves. Perhaps that’s because they won’t, especially with a candidate like Ballantyne on the ballot.

In short, Ballantyne is the party’s only hope to defeat the immensely popular Tedisco, who ran unopposed in his Assembly district just a few months ago. So why did they wait so long to make a choice? Well Richter for one. The goaltender that helped the New York Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in more than four decades was clearly the first choice, thanks to his name recognition. But when he quashed all the rumors of a congressional run, the party decided to pick another hockey player.

That’s right. Ballantyne, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, can play hockey. She was leading Clifton Park’s Arctic Foxes several years ago and was even featured with the team on the nationally syndicated Today Show. Not that this matters for voters. Ballantyne will still be viewed as an underdog to Tedisco, regardless of her acumen on the ice or otherwise.

But stranger things have happened. After all, not too many pundits predicted a low-profile attorney from Hudson would have a chance against Congressman Kickass. So who knows? With a name like Ballantyne, she may even garner a few votes from the malt liquor contingent. And they’ve got the tallies that no one can predict.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: The Chowderfest folks

This never fails to amuse me every year, these babyboomer assholes who swarm downtown and stand in line for "chowder" in the cold looking like second rate trick or treaters.

There are photographs of the 1930's depression soup lines that looked more respectable, not to mention better dressed, but then again American's had more self respect back then.

And why chowder, for gods sakes, its Saratoga not Maine!

Who thinks of this crap? The downtown business Assoc.?

You know its really true that nowadays americans will stop at nothing to humiliate themselves in public. and i await the inane quotes that reporters got from such "saratogians" while waiting in line for their soup.

Real Saratogian's do not take part in such drivel, if you want to embarrass yourself you get drunk on Caroline Street and get yourself arrested and your name in the paper to create publicity for yourself. Thats our hometown tradition and thats the way its gonna stay.

I say put a moratorium on the chowderfest, its just dumb. That is all.


1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ballantyne sounds like another shady lawyer to the pinky-ring wearing union thugs.

I'm hoping Tracy "Diva Anchorwoman" Egan is the candidate cause she would help the Capital Region "stay classy."

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Elliot Mase said...

She reminds me a little like Val Keehn. She's got my vote!

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newly elected RNC chair is getting personally involved in winning the NY 20th Congressional race.

Tedisco is going to win this!

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice analysis Ho. We’ll find out if you’re right in a few hours, but Ballantyne makes sense on so many levels. AFL-CIO has never really been able to deliver the rank and file union voter, but they do bring a ton of cash to the table as well as an army of campaign volunteers to man the phone banks. Starting with zero name identification, its unlikely she’ll be able to win. However, she’ll be credible and save the local dems megabucks which they’ll need for the off year elections this fall.

Tedisco will be the overwhelming favorite for the following reasons:

1. He knows how to run a campaign while she’ll be getting an education on the fly
2. Obamamania will start to wane, and there will be no coat tails for her to hold onto.
3. Special elections are always driven by party organization and the ability to get out the vote. Even a wounded GOP has an edge over the non-existent Democrat organization
4. The Change-ocrats and regular democrats in the City have a vested interest in Tedisco winning since they see themselves running for the vacated Assembly meeting.

Whatever, politics has become a year round occupation in Saratoga.

5:54 AM  
Blogger BlueDog said...


Thank you for your "on the mark" analysis of the take the chowder fest.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous John Frunke said...

Tedisco is a Bruno wannabee. That means trouble. Now that Bruno is going down the repubs got themselves a new lead scam man.

This Dorian Gray bitch is really full of shit isn't she?

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats in New York's 20th Congressional District are holding secret meetings behind closed doors in undisclosed locations to choose their candidate to run against Tedisco.

What's up with all the cloak and dagger mystery? Why aren't the Dem party bosses filling in the media on what's going on and how they are selecting their mystery candidate?

This isn't change it is more of the same!

The press should be all over this.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Democrats who escaped taxes when using limos, autos, etc. . . . . . .

Why did Public Works Deputy Comissioner Sam Downing have to walk to work and walk home every day, but Pat Design can take a city truck home and park it in his driveway?

Is Pat paying taxes on this extra benefit.?

And don't tell me he needs it so he can be ready to plow streets.

All he needs to do is drive to the city garage and get his truck, just like all the plow jockeys do.

Do the other Deputy Commissioners get a city vehicle to drive home?

Isn't this use of city gas an extra benefit that other Deputies don't get?

HO: Check into this.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...


I skulked out into chowderfest yesterday for a quick mid-day ale. I've never seen such a ludicrous spectacle. Depression-era soup lines, indeed!

Elliot Mase,

The only thing I'd compare Val Keehn to is a semi-rotted turnip. Suzy Ballantyne has a much stronger persona than the former wannabe mayor. That said, I still don't think she stands a chance against Jim Tedisco.


They're trying to create a climax and have chosen just about the worst day in the calendar year to do it. Also, I don't think there are any doubts about where they stand in this race. It's going to be a rough-and-tumble fight against Tedisco, who clearly has the edge; first because of his name recognition and second because the GOP wisely selected him straight up(not that there really was any other choice). In a special election, the quicker you have a candidate, the better.

So I think part of the hold up has to do with forming a contingency plan if Tedisco is elected. Right now, Bulman is probably having discussions with Brian Quail, Schenectady's chairman, so they can roll into Tedisco's seat and then seriously gun for the 20th in 2010. There's also a significant chance that the 20th gets redistricted by then anyway.

But I agree. Them screwing around like this is more or less giving the seat to Tedisco.

John Frunke,

I suppose you could say that about Jim. I don't think he has nearly the sway that Bruno once commanded. But Jimmy has a mouth on him and a habit for getting it front-and-center in the media. The guy regularly makes national news, and is pretty much a poster-child for the party's national mantra. The only thing that surprises me is that he's not running for governor. My guess is some GOP strategist figured it would be better to take the easy win than to risk not winning anything at all, while running against Paterson or Andrew Cuomo, either of which could beat him handily in a race for gov.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is reporting that the Democratic party bosses are eyeing Scott Murphy.

Great…that’s all we need is another tax cheat who outsourced our jobs to India.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...


I'd be amazed if there was even an ounce of truth to the post on After all, it is a blog produced by the right. Nevertheless, the race is about name recognition and fund raising. The only name recognition Murphy has is in Missouri, which is a bit outside of the 20th district. On the outside chance they do tap him, I'd say it's indicative of them conceding the race.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Tom R said...

It's Murphy.

A good choice because he is:

- Not a labor union leader (folks: this is the 21st century we are living in)

- Not a lawyer

- Not a spiteful city council member who moved from the Republican party over to the Democratic party and proceeded to help ruin the city of Saratog's chapter.

And oh yeah:

- Not a NXIVM cultist (not to my knowledge anyways; but that Vanguard is a sneaky SOB!)

And for the ill-informed (because I can predict it's going to come shortly):

Scott Murphy is a Venture Capitalist, or 'VC'. That is not a Wall Street Banker, hedge fund manager, stock broker, etc.

A VC invests pooled money in young enterprises which tpyically cannot get traditional funding (because they are too young and have no hard collateral assets) and then oversees how that money is put to use in that company.

You can kind of look at it like this: they are at the opposite end of the food chain from bankrutcy lawyers.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous The Tommyknockers said...

Why not Tom Mctygue? He has name recognition. We would love to bury his worthless ass once and for all. He got kicked hard the last time he tried to run outside the city.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...


If this post has sputtered out, me thinks you can mine gooey gold with a CHOWDERFEST post. I hear your disdain along with the HOWLS of Dorian and Dog. Your readers may well be drooling to have their say... after one of your well-seasoned essays. You might be gunning for The STREETWALK and FIRST*NIGHT and HATS*OFF and more. But ANY way you serve it, I think it'll be good and HOT blogging for a day or three.

-Kyle York
Full of It

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, Murphy has some residency issues and actually might be the true carpetbagger in this race as he's not even from the capital region. His campaign press release provides a 917 area code to reach him. That's a New York City area code, folks.

So, the Dem Party bosses had their secret backroom meeting and selected a tax cheat from New York City via Missouri. Nice.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to John Fruncke:

I prefer the term elitist or working class snob. thank you ;)

Dorian Gray

7:44 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

i will not pass judgement on the merits of chowederfest as my obligations dictate that i am away from it this year.

Yet, Please note the following facts to hopefully move the discussion along:

The origin of the 'souper-bowl' (oh, yes - no charge for the name) came as an outgrowth of a committee spearheaded at the time by then convention/tourism chief Gavin Landry. Major players on the committee were dignataries from NYS parks + rec; the GM of the Gideon Putnam, Mark Baker of City Center (and probably at the time repping the DBA as well...the idea was to give a 'downtown' augmentation to winterfest, an very nice event that was outdoor sports oriented and centered around spa state park primarily.

whether the event works or not i think would be subject of a lively debate, with merits on both sides.

i do think that the whole 'soup kitchen' ambiance thing is just us getting ready for the real thing; except you might see dignataries like kyle, as well as michelle riggi's 'people' (you wouldnt expect the ACTUAL MR, c'mon...) in the chowderfest queue...

oh and this PSA; please avoid the peanut chowder until further notice; otherwise- enjoy!

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Chowder fest, like the other downtown events are to get people downtown. I've lived here for over 30 years and the only downtown event I ever went to was the Caroline St. Block Party. The Chowder Fest must have been successful if there were lines like the ones described here. if you don't like the events don't go downtown. go to the mall, with the soon to come paid parking, you might was well get used to shopping there anyway.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I do not believe in Malls, so if thats your prescription for my angst and sarcasm you are......

Yes, I know that the chowderfest is to get people downtown,I'm not a complete dolt I was merely commenting on the utter silliness of it.

As for the tired issue of "paid parking" I prefer walking and if it comes to be where we must pay for parking so be it. its a non-issue with me.

Dorian Gray

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Dog:

Re: Chowderfest

I just call it like I see it. That is all.

Dorian Gray

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another heads up analysis

1:18 PM  

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