How NY’s GOP Blew It On Primary Night

September 15th, 2010 at 6:24 am | 12 Comments |

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As Republicans nationally continued to show a propensity for self-destruction Tuesday night, the Party’s New York faction eagerly did its part to ensure the Empire State remains a Democratic lifeline.

If ever there were a year that New York could begin a return to its days as a bastion of moderate Republicanism, this was it. With the appointment of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand resulting in an odd confluence of both Senate seats facing election in the same cycle, Republicans faced a unique opportunity to change the face of at least half the state’s delegation. Gillibrand, in addition to being appointed by the woefully inept Governor David Paterson, also faced charges of flip-flopping from previously conservative positions on guns and gay marriage. Despite her deep-pocketed fundraising prowess, Gillibrand offered a rare opportunity for Republicans to pick off a Senate seat in deep blue country. Amidst controversial stewardship by State Party Chairman Ed Cox, the Republicans recruited to take up this challenge were a veritable all-star lineup: former Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman, former Bear Stearns executive David Malpass, and former Westchester Congressman Joseph DioGuardi. The latter of the three emerged victorious, a CPA who can run on name recognition as the father of a former American Idol judge.

To take on Senator Charles Schumer, Republicans tapped political consultant Jay Townsend and former FBI agent Gary Berntsen. Townsend emerged with the dubious honor Tuesday night, a meaningless nomination in a race with no hope of victory. Schumer, perhaps the Democratic Majority Leader pending the fate of Harry Reid, has absolutely no chance of losing. Schumer is now virtually entrenched as a Senate institution, remarkable considering his surprise 1998 victory came at the expense of a three-term Republican incumbent. Given the opposition, Schumer is guaranteed a third term of his own.

In the race for Governor, New York Republicans picked up on the national trend line for self-immolation by nominating Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino. Defeating former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio—famous for handing Hillary Clinton her Senate seat after attempting to shove papers at her during a debate in 2000—Paladino kicked off his campaign with a somnolent rendition of the classic line from Network: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Shortly thereafter, he nearly cost himself any electoral hopes after it was revealed that he’d circulated racist and obscene e-mails concerning President Obama. Before his recent surge in the polls, Paladino made headlines by suggesting that New York’s vacant prisons be used as temporary housing for welfare recipients, where they could learn valuable job skills and personal hygiene. The Party would face long odds of defeating Andrew Cuomo no matter who they nominated, but Paladino is the perfect tonic for those of us in New York who had been wishing for our very own Sharron Angle.

In a telling result Tuesday night, 20-term congressman Charlie Rangel won the Democratic nomination to defend his seat, defeating four challengers despite facing well-known ethics charges which are still under investigation. Meanwhile, on the Upper East Side, Rep. Carolyn Maloney walloped her competition from 34-year-old lawyer Reshma Saujani. In an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment, tidal wave election, New York Democrats seem willing to take their chances with the status quo. Rather than take full advantage of the favor by recruiting top tier candidates, the state’s Republicans are instead inexplicably taking a pass. If the days of Javits and Rockefeller couldn’t return to New York in 2010, they likely never will.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Slide

    Guys get over it, there is no moderate Republican party anymore. Those moderates are now called independents. You now have a Sarah Palin, Jim Demint GOP. You may do well this election cycle but this is disastrous for the Republican party long term.

  • mpolito

    With all due respect, Jay, nobody was going to beat Cuomo or Schumer, regardless of how moderate they were. Furthermore, the only person who could beat Gillibrand is Guliani, who declined to run. So I think you’re kind of making a mountain out of a molehill here.

  • GEValle

    I don’t think you RINOs and CINOs get it: The era of useless, entrenched, liberal Republican “moderates” is OVER.

    You guys are dead in the water.

    Please…Do us all a favor, and register as “Independents”, or better yet, become Democrats.

    Grass Roots Conservatives will no longer tolerate the idiocy of the gutless GOP establishment. We now OWN this Party. Without us, you’re nothing. And if you keep trying to screw us, we will bolt…And then the GOP will become a REAL 3rd Party, made up of liberal, northeastern, elitist Republicans…The kind who could screw-up a wet dream, if they had the chance, and who’ve never won ANYTHING.

    It’s over.

  • dante

    GEValle – As a former “moderate Republican”, I did exactly that, I switched my registration over to Democrat back when GWB was fouling up the Conservative waters. Since then I’ve donated money to the Democrats and have voted straight-line Democrat in every election. Call me spiteful if you wish, but the *only* thing that will get the GOP back to it’s moderate stance is going to be a long period of time out of power. I’d hoped they’d learned that lesson in 2008 after their popularity plummeted when McCain picked Palin, but I was wrong.

    Who knows, there only needs to be another 10-20 million people like me and maybe the tea partiers will get it through their thick skulls that alienating more than half of the electorate is not the way to get elected…

  • forgetn

    GEValle:

    Are you posting the same thing on each FF news article?

    I kind of agree with your statement: Its over for the Republican,…. long live the Democrats? One day your heroes of the Tea Party will face the real world, with real journalists that will ask hard question (not just FoxNews — which couldn’t find a hardball question if they knew one), because being a Senator or Representative is a hard job. Also Backmann already holds the job of Head Wacko!

    Yes, it seems its over for the right — screwing the pooch when the election is handed to them on a platter.

  • sinz54

    Mr. Gatsby: If ever there were a year that New York could begin a return to its days as a bastion of moderate Republicanism, this was it.
    NO.

    There can be no significant “moderate Republicanism” anywhere, as long as Obama is in the White House.

    The Republicans absolutely despise Obama (check the polls), the same way that the Dems despised Nixon. And Obama’s doctrinaire liberal philosophy has radicalized the Republicans, pushing them toward more ideological positions, just like the Dems who knocked off Nixon were more ideological (check the Dems who got elected in 1974).

    You can only get “moderation” when party activists don’t believe the country is doomed. That’s why in 2000, the choice was between two relative moderates–McCain and Bush 43. No ideological candidate like a Jim DeMint type appeared.

  • mpolito

    Dante- blaming the 2008 defeat on Palin is pretty ridiculous, and I say that as someone who is not a fan of Palin. The party’s popularity plummeted after Palin? Who thought McCain would win prior to picking Palin? Do you think he would have won with Romney on the ticket? Let’s be serious.

  • jjv

    Well, I don’t want Javits and Rockefeller. I’ll take Giuliani, D’Amato and control of the NY Senate. What’s amazing is how they split the vote at least old DiGuarid has both the Conservative and Republican line. NY 23 can’t say that. The Governor can’t say that. If DiGuardi catches a break he might win in a miracle. I don’t see that happening with anyone else on the ticket.

  • moderategoper

    The New York Republican Party might as well be controlled by Democrats; they have done nothing to reach out to minorities or their grassroots. They are so removed from reality that it’s shameful.

  • MSheridan

    Too bad about Rangel. I would have liked to see him defeated by an ethically unchallenged candidate. Oh well–not my district, not my state.

  • easton

    Sinz, nice rewrite of History, I had no idea that Republicans loved Clinton. I guess the main difference between 94 and now is that the Contract with America crowd quickly sold out (remember term limits, how many of those jokers who pledged that actually stuck to their pledge?) and they actually accomplished a lot with Clinton. But outside of National Security, it will just be one long NO from them, and because of the way they cut taxes in 2001 (via reconciliation) taxes will go up, the deficit will go down, the economy will pick up steam and the Republicans will be crushed in 12.

  • chriscurrey

    The loonies took over the asylum folks. We have become ridiculous, a laughing stock.