A few notes and observations on the grueling, blistering and fascinating election of 2012:
• Kathy Hochul can take solace (maybe) in barely losing Tuesday’s big NY-27 race to Republican Chris Collins. Had she won, the district’s overwhelming GOP registration would have forced the Hamburg Democrat into eternal fund-raising and campaign mode. And Hochul would have permanently continued her Nik Wallenda routine of walking the fine line between supporting and criticizing President Obama.
Life should be easy for Collins. He inherits the most Republican district in the state. It will be considered “safe” for the GOP now for the next decade.
• Then again, maybe Hochul will consider a rematch. It worked for Democrat Dan Maffei in Central New York. He beat incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle after she knocked him off in 2010.
• Did Congressman Tom Reed of Corning ever notice Democrat Nate Shinagawa creeping up from behind? The 28-year-old Tompkins County legislator almost dethroned Reed, demonstrating that every once in a while a Democrat proves competitive in the Southern Tier-based district.
Though the current 25th District has changed over the years, Democrats Stan Lundine and Eric Massa have won in the past. With the traditional Democratic stronghold of Tompkins County added to the district, Democrats should feel even better about the future.
• The Collins brain trust, so vilified through 2011 for managing Republican Jane Corwin’s losing congressional run followed by Collins’ defeat for county executive, is looking good this fine fall Sunday. Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, campaign adviser Chris Grant and others are new heroes in Republican eyes.
• Did we miss something? Is it possible? Could it be that Collins just completed a political campaign with nary a mention of his beloved Six Sigma?
• The crew of numbers-crunchers over at Siena College in Loudonville are lighting victory cigars this weekend after going nine for nine in the statewide polling conducted by the Siena Research Institute. And Don Levy, Steve Greenberg and company nailed NY-27 by reporting Collins with a one-point lead the weekend before the election.
• Former President Bill Clinton’s slew of campaign appearances around the country – including in Rochester for Congresswomen Hochul and Louise Slaughter – may have earned valuable IOUs. They can be redeemed in 2016 for Hillary Rodham Clinton should she decide to make one more try for the White House.
• Speaking of Slaughter, her victory over Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks ranks as one of the GOP’s deepest disappointments. Still, the contest matched top-notch candidates known around Rochester simply by their first names – Maggie and Louise.
• For those keeping score at home, Congressman Brian Higgins received more votes for Congress than any other candidate in New York State – approximately 190,000.
• Of the four GOP state senators who voted for same-sex marriage in 2011, only Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo remains standing. So much for his status as the number one target of Senate Democrats this year.
• This is about the point in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s term that names should start surfacing as potential Republican opponents in 2014. Has anyone heard even a whisper from GOP Land?
• Interesting to see former FBI honcho Bernie Tolbert at the Democratic gathering in Ellicott Square on Election Night. He continues to hint at a 2013 challenge against Mayor Byron Brown, who by the way did not attend the party function on Tuesday.
• Quotes of the Week both originate with Carl Paladino, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor, who periodically chimes in on politics via email:
Quote 1: “The old guard of the Republican Party is washed up and finished both on a national and state level. They live in the past and have shown that they can’t lead.”
Quote 2: “I firmly believe that Obama is diabolical and evil.”