Bill Nojay is just a first-term New York Assemblymember, but he has quickly become a leading statewide Republican via his loud opposition to Gov. Cuomo's gun control law (the SAFE Act) and ability to parlay that into lots of free media.

Especially yesterday, when he and gun-freedom advocates announced Freedompalooza -- a country music concert with tea party/gun nut speakers on Aug. 24 at the Altamont Fairgrounds outside Albany.

He got statewide coverage -- the New York Times, the Albany Times Union, his hometown paper, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and scores of TV and radio stations.

In conjunction with the concert, Nojay also announced a new tea partyish 510(c)3 -- the Freedom Coalition, allegedly nonpartisan and apolitical, to register conservative white voters.

All of this is designed, IMHO, to recreate the 2010 tea party anger among conservative whites and use that to defeat NY Democrats in 2014.

When Nojay may well run for Congress or a statewide office.

Why, below.

Nojay is a well-educated lawyer (Colgate, then Columbia JD and MBA) from the Rochester suburbs who got some Pataki patronage in the mid-1990s to early 2000s. He lost his first race for office, a Republican primary for an open Congress seat in 2004, and won his next race, for the open 133rd Assembly District in 2012.

In between, he launched a Monday-Friday one-hour radio talk show on WYSL in Rochester, which is now carried on 10 upstate stations, and which he (uniquely, I believe) continues to do as an Assemblyman.

The intro to the show, available here, is, like the show itself, pure tea party rabble-rousing:

Behold New York, the once legendary Empire State, where corruption, waste and laziness stultify the Albany Legislature. Big unions, the education lobby, and enviro whack-jobs push New York's already intolerable tax burden to outrageous new heights.

The state's best and brightest flee to saner states, leaving a crumbling socialist New Age penal colony disproportionately populated by malingerers, criminals and self-serving grievance groups perennially attached to the teat of a bloated and indifferent government.

Can anyone save New York? Is it worth saving?

One person thinks so.

Who else, but our great white hope Bill Nojay.

The intro hints at the sub-rosa racism of the upstate-downstate "issue" that most upstate Republicans use in every election.

The "issue" that implies that good hard-working (white) upstaters support downstate (black and brown) "malingerers, criminals and self-serving grievance groups" is pure BS, since downstate provides substantially more in state revenues that it receives in state services.

But it must effectively rouse the rabble, because it is always part of upstate Republican political messaging for state offices.

Nojay got into some related trouble last year, when he mocked Democratic Congressional candidate Nate Shinagawa for his Japanese name.

Back to Freedompalooza, Nojay et al. did not announce any bands, but did note that tickets will be $35 (free for kids under 13). Their promoter is a tea party guy from Rochester who never done an event like this, and the various free gun rallies in Albany this year attracted at most a few thousand. So Freedompalooza will be lucky to break even.

Whatever, Nojay has substantially raised his profile as a candidate for higher office with his latest project. He could certainly get the Conservative Party nomination for any statewide office, and the GOP nomination and/or primary win would certainly follow.

Then he would lose in the general.

Even if his Freedom Coalition registers some tens of thousands of white conservatives, there will still be twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans in NYS.

Nojay is smart and articulate, but thankfully his tea party populism has limited appeal outside the old, white, Christian, upstate GOP base.

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