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Jack Davis
Jack Davis is proving to be a real wild card

Siena (PDF) (4/26-27, likely voters, no trendlines):

Kathy Hochul (D): 31
Jane Corwin (R): 36
Jack Davis (T): 23
Ian Murphy (G): 1
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ±4.5%)

I have to say, I wasn't expecting numbers like this, not at all, for a whole host of reasons. Republicans looked very unified in tapping Assemblywoman Jane Corwin - she was acceptable to the conservatives and even quite a few teabaggers, despite her establishment pedigree, and she also was personally very rich. Meanwhile, Democrats dithered, waiting weeks to pick a candidate after Corwin was already in the race. Furthermore, the one bona fide teabagger who hoped to run, Iraq war vet David Bellavia, screwed up his paperwork and failed to get on the ballot. And on top of that, Ian Murphy, the writer who achieved his 15 minutes with his fake David Koch prank call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, decided to hop into the race on the newly-reconstituted Green Party line. And oh, yeah, the 26th is the most Republican district in the state. The GOP seemed poised to avoid the mistakes they'd made in the NY-20 and NY-23 specials. It didn't seem promising for Dems.

But the one wild card has proven much wilder than I had anticipated: zillionaire nutball Crazy Jack Davis is having a much bigger impact than his shot-to-hell reputation would seem to warrant. Prior to this year, Davis had run for this seat in three successive cycles from 2004 to 2008, losing twice in the general and once in the primary — all three times as a Democrat. But he cut a strange figure for a Dem, sound like the most unhinged of right-wingers on his favorite issue, immigration. He also has a well-deserved reputation as a lunatic who is impossible to work with, abuses people, and can't hold on to staff. Thus he earned the epithet "Crazy," and he's been Crazy Jack Davis for about as long as I've known of him.

He looked to cement that reputation a few months ago, when he decided he'd get into the mix for this seat yet again, following Rep. Chris Lee's resignation. But this time, Davis wanted to score the Republican and Conservative Party lines — well, I told you he was crazy. He was quickly rebuffed by both, but this is where that unusual "T" line comes in next to his name in the blockquote at top. Thanks to his millions (he's always spent his own money freely), Davis was easily able to get on the ballot as an independent, and cannily chose to name his ballot line the "Tea Party." This caused an entertaining split among teabaggers in western New York, with the "real" teabaggers insisting that Davis was just trying to bogart their good name (yeah, I know, LOL)... but there was nothing they could do about it.

And thanks to his free-spending ways, it seems like Davis is screwing up what should have been a sure thing for Corwin. At the same time, he's also hurting Hochul. Looking at the cross-tabs (PDF), Davis gets 24% of the Republican vote, 20% of the Democratic vote, and 27% of the independent vote. Rare to see a candidate with such cross-spectrum appeal!

It'll be very interesting to see how the major-party candidates react. Surely the campaign committees are doing their own polling, but even if it doesn't match Siena's, these numbers will have to make operatives second-guess themselves a bit. Does Corwin start attacking Davis? Or does she try to pound Hochul? Or both? As I see it, though, the strategy for Hochul is a lot simpler. As Siena notes:

They strongly oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits to help close the deficit (59-38 percent); however, they strongly support increasing personal income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans (62-35 percent)....

Hochul's most recent ad attacked Corwin on Medicare — Corwin said she'd have voted for the Ryan Republican budget — and I said the other day that she should make this her unrelenting theme for the final weeks of the campaign. The poll numbers bear that out. (I'm sure that Hochul won't call for tax increases on the rich, despite that being super-popular in a red district, but that wouldn't be a bad idea, either.)

We'll also have to see if the DCCC and NRCC decide to get involved here. If Hochul can use Medicare the way ex-Rep. Scott Murphy beat Jim Tedisco over the head with the stimulus in the spring of 2009, this could be a real race — coupled, of course, with the Jack Davis factor. All of a sudden, things just got exciting in western New York.

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Comment Preferences

  •  NY-26 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, ipsos, filby, nellgwen, Andrew C White

    On Monday, Canadians are going to show how to vote right wingers out of office and replace them with progressives. NY-26 could learn some lessons from us, Canadians across the border from them.

  •  The organization forgot to claim the domain name (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stegro, James Allen, Andrew C White

    Have fun looking at this site:
    Not the real thing

  •  You know we should list them as (T) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveW

    Listing them that way makes them seem like a different party than the Republicans. Maybe list them as (R*) or, if you're a coding geek, (R--). But at the end of the day they go home, oppress minorities, cheat on their taxes (and their wives), in other words they're just Republicans.

    As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:39:53 AM PDT

  •  I'd vote for Murphy in a heartbeat (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:40:21 AM PDT

  •  Any IRV polls? (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen any IRV polling done - anywhere - but this race looks like a great place to start.

    Really pathetic that Corwin gets so much support after stating that she would have voted yes on the Ryan budget, the very same one that cuts taxes for the rich and privatizes Medicare.  Isn't anyone paying attention?

    Also pathetic, to a lesser degree, that Hocul doesn't come out and plainly support increasing taxes on the rich - or at least doing something to raise their effective tax rate to match what the middle class pays.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:40:24 AM PDT

    •  So much support? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, Bruorton, DCCyclone

      I think thirty-six percent is pretty feeble!

      Isn't anyone paying attention?

      This is what attack ads are for. Fortunately, Hochul's already been hitting Corwin on this. She needs to keep it up.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Town halls haven't needed attack ads. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not aware of any attack ads preceding the town hall slapdowns that so many Republicans are experiencing.  And unlike the national media, I notice that the people attending those events rose up in anger and protest when "their" Congresscritter tried to float one of their bald-faced lies.  (like, "I'm protecting Medicare").

        Anyway, it's not an attack ad to simply tell the truth. Guess we could call them Truman ads, though.

        An IRV poll would reveal whether that 36% is meaningful.  All it indicates now is that the crazy guy is getting lots of support.  If that option weren't there, would those people switch to a Democrat, or to someone who has blithely revealed their fanatical goal of privatizing Medicare?  Would the person who's riding that corporatist, debt-exploding train win, solely because she has an "R" next to her name?  That's what I was referring to when I mentioned "paying attention".

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 12:30:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, Andrew C White, Woody

    gets involved in this.

    The Dems have been quiet, but 5% can be in striking range.

    Wonder in the Dems can make their voters think about what a disaster 2010 because they stayed home.   Hope it stimulates them to get to the polls this time.

    If Hochul wins, even though the republicans will deny it, it will be promoted by Democrats as a sign of how voters don't like cutting Medicare.

    HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

    by HylasBrook on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:41:28 AM PDT

  •  Does NY have winner-take-all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White

    or runoffs? If the latter, it sounds like Hochul could have a real shot.

    Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

    by DaveW on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:44:01 AM PDT

    •  Winner-take-all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, Odysseus

      Only a handful of southern states have runoffs for federal races, and then, only for primaries. All federal general elections are first-past-the-post, no matter how weak the plurality.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:57:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Winner-take-all... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but I'm deeply, deeply pessimistic about this race going to Hochul, for a number of reasons.

      First, the Democratic GOTV operation is pathetic around here these day, especially over here on the Monroe County (Rochester) side of the district. The Monroe County Dems are in disarray, torn by a divisive Dem vs. Dem race for mayor of Rochester (spoiler alert: the Democrat won) and just generally disorganized and floundering. The race for Monroe County Executive is now just seven months away, and if we even have a Democratic candidate to run against the increasingly unpopular GOP incumbent, it's news to me. (They ran nobody at all, not even a figurehead, four years ago, and lost what would have been a good shot at control of the County Lej as a result.)

      Second, the district is historically very Republican. In a special election, the turnout will be heaviest from the ruby-red rural precincts between Buffalo and Rochester, and probably very light in the areas the Democrats need most, closer to the two big cities at either end. And absent a strong GOTV operation in Monroe County, well...

      Third, Corwin's been on TV first and heaviest, with slimy ads pinning Hochul to "Obamacare" and "Nancy Pelosi." That's catnip to the rural voters in Genesee and Orleans counties who'll swing this election. Hochul? Almost invisible on TV so far.

      Fourth, he's Crazy Millionaire Jack Davis. The Republican voters will flirt with him when the pollsters call, but they'll come home to Corwin in the end. But the "moderate" Democrats in the district will hang with Davis, at least in numbers large enough to wipe out whatever chance Hochul has.

      My pessimistic call in the end? Corwin 40, Davis 33, Hochul 27. Hope I'm wrong...

      So this is DK4, eh?

      by ipsos on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 11:05:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually there is a pretty strong ground game (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DCCyclone, Woody, Odysseus

        Phone banking and door to door have been going on for several weeks now.  I have been phoning several nights each week and MCDC put out a call 2 days ago for senior to senior phone banks.  There is a campaign office in Greece also if you want to help.  you can email me at donna.mclean5atgmail.com if you want more info on how to get involved

        Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can. - Ashleigh Brilliant

        by dmac on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 11:33:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's good to hear (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not on that side of the district (NY-29 over here on the east side), so I'm obviously not seeing the ground game as closely as you are. This would be a great pickup if we can get it.

          Intended to be a factual statement.

          by ipsos on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 12:17:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  let us know when he's reached the 20th century (0+ / 0-)
    Congressional candidate Jack Davis, in a speech earlier this year, warned that increasing immigration from Mexico could lead to a new civil war between northern states and Mexican-influenced Southern states that may want to secede from the United States.

    "In the latter part of this century or the next, Mexicans will be a majority in many of the states and could therefore take control of the state government using the democratic process," Davis said in the speech. "They could then secede from the United States, and then we might have another civil war." [...]

    "They have an allegiance to Mexico, where they were taught the U. S. fought an unjust war with Mexico and took this territory," Davis said. "They believe the territory of these states belongs to Mexico."

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule"

    by annieli on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:58:24 AM PDT

  •  I just dug deeper into the numbers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Nir, Odysseus

    in my diary here if anyone is interested.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 11:06:16 AM PDT

  •  that highlighted paragraph (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    should read:  They strongly oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits to help close the deficit (59-38 percent); AND, they strongly support increasing personal income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans (62-35 percent)....

    This is not a "however" situation.  Both of those ideas are perfectly compatible.  

  •  Maybe Davis should get his own TV show, (0+ / 0-)

    then he can be a "serious" national political figure.

    "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."-Barbara Jordan

    by sancerre2001 on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 11:30:35 AM PDT

  •  David, Please remind us (0+ / 0-)

    Just when is this special election to be held?

    •  the Special Election on Tuesday, May 24, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      So less than a month to go.

      (BTW I clicked on that site with her name as the domain name -- Not the Real Thing -- and eventually linked to her real Facebook page with this info.)

  •  Fascinating! (0+ / 0-)

    Some data from last cycle

    District: NY-26
    Location  Just south of Lake Ontario, east of Lake Erie map
    Cook PVI R + 6
    Representative Chris Lee (R)
    VoteView 309
    First elected 2008
    2008 margin  55-40 over Alice Kryzan
    2006 margin  NA
    2004 margin NA
    Obama margin 46-52
    Bush margin 2004 55-43
    Current opponents Phil Fedele
    Demographics  55th most Whites (92.3%)

    Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

    by plf515 on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 04:55:20 PM PDT

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