UPDATED : Siena Poll is out with ugly State Senate News in New York

The NYS Senate is currently controlled by the Democratic Party 32-30. The Democrats can afford a net loss of one seat and remain in control due to the pending election of Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo’s tandem running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy will be empowered to cast the tie breaking vote in favor of the Democrats organizing the majority. This is important as the majority party of each chamber redraws the district lines in their respective bodies. The Assembly is under super Democratic majority of 108-42.  Even a dozen seat loss will still leave that chamber under a very large blue team majority.

More after the jump

The Siena Research Institute conducted a poll of three endangered Democratic seats and one open Republican seat. The link is below with crosstabs


Unfortunately my local freshman Senator Brian Foley is heading for defeat down 16 points.  Darryl Aubertine is within the margin of error in SD48 down only four points.  Tim Kennedy who defeated an incumbent Democrat in the primaries now leads his Buffalo based 58th SD by six points. In the open race SD40, the Republican has a five point lead.  What is interesting is that in the LI 3rd and the Buffalo 58th, the voters are almost swinging opposite their intended Governor vote! Cuomo is winning the 3rd against Carl Palladino 57%-33% while Zeldin is up over Foley 53%-47%.  In Palladino home turf of Buffalo he runs ahead of Cuomo 58%-30% while Kennedy the Democrat is up 45%-39%.

If these polls hold the Democrats will be in a 32-30 minority come January.  They need to pick up one seat and that may happen in one of four relatively unpolled races including the 41st SD where Didi Barret is running a spirited race against Republican Stephen Saland. This district like others in the Mid-Hudson Valley has been trending Democratic with an 8,000 Democratic registration advantage. The open 38th that has a 40,000 Democratic advantage in registration where a fine young Democratic candidate David Carlucci is facing off against Scott Vanderhoef a local County Executive.  This may be the Democrats best pickup opportunity for the tie Senate seat. In Queens the 11th SD where incumbent Frank Padavan was re-elected by only a few hundred votes faces stiff challenge from City Councilmember Tony Avella in a district that has three times as many registered Democrats than Republicans.

There are some other spirited challenges in the Monroe County and Erie County regions but I feel these may be our best chance to keep the majority Blue! What do you think?


I just returned from a GOTV canvass out of the Foley Patchogue HQ.  I spoke with his top managers who had this to say about the Siena Poll

Notice that the Siena Cross-tabs dropped Race from the poll. In a district that is the most diversified on LI with roughly one in three residents Latino and African American, not to poll for race, not to include cell phones, to show that males will outnumber females on election day??? The Foley internals show Brian up by three points and we got a hold of the Zeldin internals that also show Foley up by two points

I said to them, and we were alone, listen, I am here for the ride if we were down fifty points, just don’t blow smoke up my butt if we are really this far back.

Their response

If we were that far back our staff would have been pulled out into the upstate close races for the final push, instead we have four hundred workers hitting the streets for the final GOTV not including organized labor and we have enough supporters identified to win the race if we just get them to the polls.  The 6th Assembly seat which is heavily minority and is a third of the State Senate District has a trained GOTV by Assemblyman Ramos staff and we are leaving nobody home

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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We need a “Use it or Lose it” Campaign for the NY State Senate!

It is becoming more and more clear with each passing day that our competitive Democratic challenges to the 32 Republican held state senate seats has grown to the 12 to 14 seat range.  A great deal of money will be needed to materialize many of these dozen or so challenges into Democratic pickups in November.  Early in the cycle it seemed as though we would enjoy the advantage of former Governor Spitzer’s fundraising prowess to foot the bill needed to do the job.  Of late, it has become apparent that Governor David Paterson will not be bringing anything close to those resources to the table.  

more after the flip

Our 30 incumbents as a group have raised well as have many of our challengers.  But to expand the playing field in the spirit of our NDC Chair Howard Dean’s fifty state project we will need our incumbents who will greatly benefit from gaining the majority to play a key role as well.  The fact that we have so many safe seats that will be effectively unchallenged in November reminded me of the 2006 successful campaign to get safe Democratic US House and Senate candidates to kick in from their resources to help fund what became a 30 seat house and 6 seat senate pickup.

While visiting MYDD today, I read desmoinesdem front page post calling for a 2008 version of the “Use it or Lose it” campaign.  Here is desmoinesdem brief description of the effort:

In 2006, MyDD and MoveOn.org launched a “Use It Or Lose It” campaign to contact “ultra-safe Democratic House Representatives and ask them to help fully fund all of our competitive challengers this cycle.” The project spurred at least $2.3 million in additional major donations from House incumbents (click the link to read details).

So, why not a similar effort lead by our TAP Community to get the DSCC to bring the pressure to bear on our unchallenged or under-challenged state senate incumbents that can raise significant funds to be distributed among our growing list of competitive challengers.  Lets take a look at some of the Cash on Hand in the July BOE reports for these Democratic State Senators:

SD 07 – Craig Johnson  453.9 K  (Contested Gen.)

SD 10 – Shirley Huntley  6.9 K  (Light Primary)

SD 12 – George Onorato 278.0 K

SD 13 – John Sabini     52.0 K  (Not Running)

SD 14 – Malcolm Smith  782.0 K

SD 16 – Toby Staviskey 215.0 k  (Light Primary)

SD 17 – Martin Dilon    28.1 K

SD 18 – Velm.Montgomery 52.0 K

SD 19 – John Sampson    33.6 K

SD 20 – Eric Adams      35.0 K

SD 21 – Kevin Parker    45.5 K  (heavy Primary)

SD 23 – Diane Savino    67.5 K

SD 25 – Martin Connor   83.0 K  (HEAVY PRIMARY)

SD 26 – Liz Krueger    324.5 K

SD 27 – Carl Kruger   1814.6 K

SD 28 – Jose Serrano    30.3 K

SD 29 – Tom Duanne     114.7 K

SD 30 – Bill Perkins    38.7 K

SD 31 – EricSchneiderman 47.8 K

SD 32 – Ruben Diaz      30.3 K

SD 33 – Efrain Gonzalez(10.8 K)  (Light Primary)

SD 34 – Jeffrey Klein   NA

SD 35 – Andrea Stew-Cous, 180.5 K(Contested Gen.)

SD 36 – Ruth Thompson   0.0 K    (Light Primary)

SD 37 – Suzi Oppenheimer 68.8 K  (Contested Gen.)

SD 46 – Neil Breslin    148.5 K  (Primary???)

SD 48 – Darrel Aubertine 45.3 K  (Contested Gen.)

SD 49 – David Valesky   191.6 K(Gen.Opp only 31k)

SD 58 – William Stachowski 47.3 K

SD 60 – Antoine Thompson  50.5 K

While most of our incumbents have some level of sacrificial lamb challengers, I only listed contested General for our targeted incumbents or where some quasi reasonable funds were raised by their opponent.

If we exempt all our incumbents with contested Generals and Heavy contested primary challenges we have 21 incumbents in no genuine threat sitting on 4.2 million dollars.  That is 4.4 M with no need to spend it in 2008 and an ongoing ability to raise it.  If each of these incumbents were assessed to donate back to our serious challengers just 25% of their COH we would have over $1M more to invest in our challengers.  That is one million dollars more to enable the challengers to make strong stretch drive runs at their GOP incumbents or open GOP seats!  Even if Carl Kruger has other electoral ambitions with that 1.8 M he has a proven ability to easily raise back his 450 K boosty! A powerful majority chairmanship has got to be worth the price of 25% of an unneeded campaign stash.  If it can be done with our congressional incumbents who thirsted for a return to the majority why not our incumbent state senators who are four times as parched!

The question is, How do we go about bringing the kind of pressure on these state senate incumbents as MYDD and Moveon.org did in 2006 and plan to do again this cycle?

Swingstate Davidnyc got his message across!

DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen heard the messages of Swingstate Project crafted by Davidnyc!  I copied this from the DCCC homepage:

Saturday’s big Democratic win of Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert’s seat is just more proof that voters are looking for the big change that Democrats will deliver.

In South Florida, we have three strong Democratic challengers fighting for change against some of President Bush’s most reliable rubbberstamps. Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-24) have rubberstamped President Bush’s failed agenda time and time again. With only underfunded challengers as opponents, they have become entrenched politicians unwilling to respond to the will of the voters.

Those days are over. Democratic challengers Annette Taddeo (FL-18), Raul Martinez (FL-21), and Joe Garcia (FL-24) are running tough campaigns against the South Florida Republicans that will force them to defend their blind support of President Bush. With Bush’s approval numbers mired in the 30’s, that’ll be no easy task.

The DCCC will be right alongside these candidates taking the fight to these loyal Bushies. The DCCC’s sole mission is to elect Democrats to the House and that’s just what we plan to do. We do it by ensuring our challengers have all the resources we need, knocking on doors, making calls and making sure no Republican attack goes unanswered.

While some of our Members may not always be able to actively campaign with every candidate, you can be assured that the DCCC will be there.

In a recent blog post at Swing State Project, there was frustration against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s call that she would not be campaigning for South Florida candidates. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz works tirelessly to help elect more Democrats to Congress. She has made clear that she supports the DCCC involvement in these South Florida races and has made sure that a Member who could completely throw themselves into those races would be assigned to them.

These Florida districts are ready for the big change that Democrats will deliver with a Democratic President and a strong Democratic Majority. Let’s keep the focus on beating Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-24).

I was very impressed to read that our progressive blogosphere has pierced another layer of recognition with the head of the DCCC actually citing the Swingstate Project posts and criticisms of Wasserman-Shultz!  Van Hollen’s predecessor, Rham Emmanuel at times left me with the sense that he had very little regard for the progressive blogs, especially regarding his efforts in 2006 to replace Progressive Challengers who ran well in 2004 with more conservative challengers who he felt were better fits for the district.  I find this a sign of progress regarding the attention that leaders like the heads of our national party committee at least recognize our concerns.  Congrats David!