Let’s see how the sausage is made, shall we?
…The answer is: very, very wickedly. But I get ahead of myself.
Background: New York’s 21st district. After the dust, thunder, and occasional bare-knuckle brawl in an alley that was the 2010 NY redistricting died down, NY-23’s Rep. Bill Owens jumped into this new seat… and won in a bare squeaker against Matt Doheny. Rep. Owens subsequently decided to retire after this term, which is a major reason why the open seat is generally considered a tossup (well, that and the fact that it’s R+2). This year it’s Republican Elise Stefanik against Democrat Aaron Woolf, and there’s an interesting wrinkle there.
We start this story off with a most curious letter to the editor last Friday to the Watertown Daily Times, in which a fellow by the name of Michael Flynn (keep track of that name) demands to know Ms. Stefanik’s current dating history. …No, really. Continue reading Aaron Woolf’s (D CAND, New York-21) cruel exploitation of his own partisans.
Well, that’s the NRCC’s claim:
A few weeks ago Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello went on the radio and claimed that Manhattan multimillionaire filmmaker Aaron Woolf was running for Congress solely to write a documentary about the experience. He repeated that accusation to DenPubs a week later.
Turns out Funiciello’s smoke leads to some fire – specifically in Woolf’s FEC report. A quick look at Woolf’s disbursements shows that he added two documentary filmmakers to his staff in April.
…and now I’m starting to wonder, too. Basically, the two people in question appear to be independent of the people doing Aaron Woolf’s campaign ads; if they’re not there to do election-related filming, then why are they there? Is it, in fact, to do a documentary of the campaign?
The reason that this matters is because NY-21 is going to be a tough seat for Democrats to defend: its incumbent Bill Owens is retiring and it’s traditionally Republican (Bill Owens got it largely because of poor decision making on the part of the local Republican party). Elise Stefanik is the GOP and Conservative nominee (failure to acquire both was the primary, pardon the pun, problem for the GOP in 2010*), and she is in a good position to win this race, given that it’s a midterm. You would think that the Democrats would have picked a serious-minded person to oppose her – but if Michael Woolf does[n’t] care if he wins, because he’ll get an unique documentary out of the experience even if he loses… well. That’s kind of a good way to ensure that he loses.
*And the 2009 special election that put Bill Owens in office in the first place.
This was that thoroughly contested seat (the one involving Doug Hoffman) that drove the GOP nuts in 2009 and 2010 in trying to take it back. As Politico implies, Bill Owens hasn’t really been fitting in in Congress and the Republican party has been actively planning to go for it in 2014; we just took a large step towards retaking it.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Circumstances in 2009 (GOP assigning candidate) and 2010 (loser of the GOP primary making an abortive third-party run) are what gave Owens his chance in the first case; his 2012 win against a regular GOP candidate was razor-thin. Without incumbency, this race shifts in the GOP’s direction pretty much immediately.