There’s a traditional “morning after” question we here at One Politics Column Plaza encounter each Wednesday after Election Day: “Aren’t you glad it’s over?”
And we reply: “It all starts again today.”
That appears to be the strategy of New York Republicans, who plan to launch the 2014 campaign for governor in Buffalo on Wednesday, Nov. 6 – the same day as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s big Buffalo fundraiser. They will kick off a statewide tour focusing on Cuomo and his policies, while signaling a full-fledged effort to elect the first Republican governor since George Pataki in 2002.
“We’re serious about taking him on,” state GOP spokesman David Laska said of Cuomo.
Laska revealed that Chairman Ed Cox will fire an “opening salvo” to reiterate favorite themes about Cuomo “failures.” That includes attacking Cuomo’s “dithering” on the fracking issue that Cox pushes in his remarks around the state, Laska said.
The administration’s lack of action on approving fracking, Cox continually emphasizes, has left New York behind while other states revel in its economic bonanza.
All of this is fine and dandy. But it would be nice if the party had a candidate.
That’s why many Republican eyes will gaze southward to Westchester, where County Executive Rob Astorino is engaged in a tough re-election effort against Democratic challenger Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle. Astorino seems to dominate the Republican lineup of potential challengers, but must first survive this tough test.
• Cox will also follow Election Night returns at Republican headquarters at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Buffalo, maybe because the local GOP feels confident about its races. Sources say Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy is telling associates he is optimistic about the County Legislature, where the majority appears to hinge on two hot contests: Republican Bob Anderson vs. Democratic incumbent Tom Loughran in District 5, and Democrat Wynnie Fisher vs. Republican Ted Morton in District 8.
If things work out the way Langworthy hopes, Cox would certainly favor Buffalo over the Big Town for his Election Night venue. Despite his exuberance over Republican Joe Lhota in his bid to upset Democrat Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York, most polls show a Dem occupying Gracie Mansion for the first time since David Dinkins.
On the Democratic front, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy was slated to highlight the Thursday fundraiser for Chairman John Crangle’s Ton-awanda Democrats at the NOCO Pavilion.
Those are the kinds of assignments often handed to lieutenant governors, and maybe that’s why reports continue to swirl that Duffy may return home as head of the Rochester Business Alliance should Cuomo win a second term.
But they are important assignments nonetheless. Along with Cheektowaga, Tonawanda is the kind of big, working class, ethnic, Catholic, Democratic town where a Dem like Cuomo needs to prevail in Western New York. Duffy didn’t venture westward because he so enjoys the NOCO Pavilion.
And it doesn’t hurt that Crangle voted last year against the Erie County Democratic organization headed by Chairman Jeremy Zellner, with which the Cuomo team still has no relationship.
• Interesting endorsement of the week: Democratic Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder’s support for Legislator Joe Lorigo, a Conservative who caucuses with the Republicans. That followed his earlier backing for Lynne Dixon, an Independence member who huddles with the GOP.
Schroeder likes to exhibit an independent streak, and has always been close to the Conservative Party, which just happens to be headed by Joe Lorigo’s father, Ralph.
But the moves are duly noted in Democratic Headquarters, where Chairman Zellner is waging an all-out battle to preserve his majority in County Hall.
“It’s strange that he would endorse someone with such a conservative bent and not help our Democratic caucus and our Democratic county executive,” Zellner said.