Collins vs. Hochul in NY-27? Bring It.

Kathy Hochul vs. Chris Collins? The 2011 County Executive race that wasn’t, resurrected? The popular Hochul gets to not only campaign in her former homebase of Hamburg, but throughout a district that she’s served eagerly and well? 

Bring. It. 

Bellavia did quite well in the GLOW counties, as was expected, but Collins obliterated him in Erie and Niagara Counties. 

And when I say “obliterated”, I mean that fewer than 8,000 people voted in Erie County, and 2,759 people voted in Niagara County.  The total vote count was about 19,000 throughout the district. 

If you subtract out Erie and Niagara Counties, Collins received about 2,960 votes, and Bellavia received about 4,500; Bellavia beat Collins in GLOW 61 – 39%.  It reveals a few ugly truths about the Buffalo media market. Firstly, the only thing that matters to the Republican Party in Erie and Niagara Counties is money. It’s why they’ve aggressively courted the Independence and Conservative Parties to act as their corrupt surrogates. It’s why they’ve turned over the reins of the party to people like Chris Collins and Carl Paladino – brash people who by all rights don’t belong anywhere near political office, yet get their way repeatedly.  Why? Because the party sees them, and their eyes turn into dollar signs like Scrooge McDuck, and they immediately fantasize about a future where they get middling electoral results, but get to dive into a basement-full of gold coins and overflowing treasure chests. 

Chris Collins is planning on regurgitating his “brighter future” catchphrase – a promise he sure as hell didn’t fulfill while acting as County Executive. In fact, he went out of his way during that time to give comfort to his conservative, suburban, well-off base, and to do harm to the urban poor on whom he didn’t rely, and about whom he gives no thought. The only thing missing now is his messianic Six Sigma nonsense. Perhaps he can learn lessons, after all. 

But I tend to doubt it. What his primary against Bellavia showed is that he’s going to run exactly the same race against Hochul that he ran against Poloncarz, and that Corwin ran against Hochul. It’s going to be an expensive race where the candidate avoids voters, doesn’t listen, parks in handicapped spots, runs to the front of parades, insults random people, and will do everything in his power to not debate his opponent

The astonishing thing is that the Collins/Corwin method of campaigning seems to work with WNY Republican voters. They seem  perfectly willing to vote the way Nick or Carl or Chris tell them to, and they sure as hell don’t need any “information” or “platform” – just an (R) after the name.

I look forward to hearing more about fiscal restraint from a guy who proudly describes how he started his business by maxing out his credit cards. You think Collins can score points against Hochul for being a tax ‘n spend liberal? What does that make Collins? He likes to say he’s looking out for the taxpayers, he’s raised taxes on us, and gone to court to prevent the legislature from keeping those hikes lower. Although he says he’s careful with our money, he’s spent millions on his friends and cronies, without regard to results or merit. Although Collins likes to seem as if he’s a good government type, he repeatedly and brazenly violated the county charter in terms of providing monthly budget monitoring reports. A brighter future? Why in four years did he maintain the tired, failed status-quo when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses in western New York; eschewing the notion of IDA consolidation, and hasn’t set up a one-stop-shop for businesses to use when considering a move to our region.

 Chris Collins found under 6,000 Republicans in Erie County to vote for him. 

Later today, Chris Smith and Brad Riter will post a podcast through Trending Buffalo (entire interview via the preceding link) which will contain the interview I did yesterday with David Bellavia. He was confident that he would win, but he got out-spent and he underperformed farther west. But as a moderate yet partisan Democrat, when I spoke with him about issues I found someone who is nothing like how he’s portrayed by Collins or his detractors on either side of the political spectrum. The tea party guy isn’t some frothing right-wing lunatic. He’s a thoughtful guy who isn’t about public-office-as-American-nobility, but instead about service. I disagree with him about social issues, but he doesn’t simply dismiss – or worse, denigrate – those who hold different views. I disagree with him about how Citizens United should be repaired, but he recognizes the problem and proposes a different solution, with perhaps fewer Constitutional problems.  He thinks the federal government wildly overspends, but opposes the Ryan budget while recognizing the need to maintain entitlement programs, and quickly pivots to a discussion of the myriad, expensive entitlement programs we grant to big business with nary a peep out of anyone. 


Within literally moments of the AP calling the race for Collins last night, Hochul released this: 

“Chris Collins has made it a hallmark of his campaign to avoid taking positions on key issues.  But one thing is clear, Mr. Collins supports Paul Ryan’s budget; a plan that turns Medicare into a voucher program and makes seniors pay $6,400 more for their Medicare benefits to fund tax cuts for multi-millionaires.  He has even has said that it does not go far enough.

“It is time that Chris Collins comes clean with voters about his plans to take the Ryan’s budget further.  What more could he do on top of decimating Medicare and protecting the super rich?  We hope that now that he is the nominee he willing to answer questions on the issues that matter most to the people of the 27th district.”

Yes, it’s exactly a re-litigation of an issue that heated up during the May 2011 special election Hochul won. It’s one that Hochul wins handily, because Medicare is ridiculously popular and efficient, and there’s no reason to destroy it and yank it away from anyone alive today – whether it be seniors already enjoying Medicare, or every American now living, and expecting them when they become seniors. 

Let’s talk about Obamacare, which the hyperpartisan conservative-activist Roberts court may repeal or effectively cripple. People like Collins will cheer that result, but offer absolutely no reasonable alternative. To people like Collins, our health care insurance system is just fantastic. The poor should lose their Medicaid, though. And the old should have to pay more for Medicare. That way, we can afford more tax cuts for multimillionaires in Spaulding Lake.  That way, we can maybe fight another war. Maybe in Iran. They’re bad. 

But a take-down of Obamacare opens us up to having a discussion about alternative ways for the United States to heal the sick. We should pivot off a SCOTUS loss and the Ryan budget’s idiocy and talk about expanding Medicare to all Americans. Make it voluntary, and let health insurers offer policies to supplement things Medicare doesn’t cover fully. Boom. All done problem, and we have universal care and can eliminate Medicaid as redundant, to boot. 

Let the fun begin. 


  • I really hope that this race will not boil down to “Old people will have to eat cat food casserole after Medicare is gutted by my opponent…”

  • Let’s see if Laura Zepfel jumps on the Collins bandwagon.  If so, what a disgrace to women – again – in the GOP.

  • “He’s going to run exactly the same race against Hochul that he ran against Poloncarz, and that Corwin ran against Hochul.”

    My thoughts exactly.  It is insane for the Erie County GOP to think they can win with the same campaign strategy that lost them the last two elections.  Collins needs a new campaign strategy, and one that doesn’t involve using the word “jobs” in every sentence and trash talking Obama and tying in Hochul.

  • Already posted this comment on yesterdays story but it is worth repeating, Chris Collins is the face of today’s Republican Party, wealthy, arrogant, and intolerant. It is no surprise he won, most on the right share his vision (or lack of). Sad part  is that much of his support comes from conservative low information voters that fail to recognize they are voting against their own best interests.

    • Today’s typical Republican has no tolerance for someone who is measured and rational, like David Bellavia.  Unfortunately, we live in a time where every Republican candidate is expected to act like the hysterical talking heads on Fox News and AM radio.  This is the only explanation for the continuing popularity of people like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.  It is why a lifelong moderate like Mitt Romney had to abandon every position he has ever staked out.

      Obnoxious appeals to anger and frustration have spawned a billion-dollar news network.  It should come as no surprise that is now the modus operandi of the GOP.

  • “He’s going to run exactly the same race against Hochul that he ran against Poloncarz, and that Corwin ran against Hochul”
    My thoughts exactly.  The Erie County GOP is insane to think they can win by using the same campaign strategy they used in the last two elections.  Collins needs to come up with a better platform than simply using the word “jobs” in every sentence and trash talking Obama and tying him with Hochul.

    • He is going to run a different kind of campaign this time around. Collins threw out almost all of the people that ran the last 2. They have fresh, young blood and Collins is going to run a youthful, activism oriented campaign.

      • I don’t think that matters, Collins has no likability, he comes across as detached, arrogant, and elitist.  He is like a cruder ruder version of Mitt Romney, his handlers will have to gag him to keep him from saying something offensive.

      • What? Langworthy, Hook, and Grant are still running the Collins camp…

  • Bellavia did come off well in your interview Alan.  However,  there are just too many other interviews available where Bellavia contradicts a great deal of the points he makes in your piece. 

    *He doesn’t dismiss or denigrate yet these 3 quotes are his:

     “Miserable Liberals”
     “New Yorkers aren’t Patriots”
     “We couldn’t ask who was ‘liberal in the military but I could pick them out by what was on their IPODs.”

    *The tea party guy isn’t some frothing right-wing lunatic yet he went on Glen Beck comparing Americorps to Saddam Hussein’s loyalists.

    *”He thinks the federal government wildly overspends, but opposes the Ryan
    budget while recognizing the need to maintain entitlement programs, and
    quickly pivots to a discussion of the myriad, expensive entitlement
    programs we grant to big business with nary a peep out of anyone.”

    Yet he referred to himself as a “Paul Ryan Republican”  and was for the budget before he was against it

    He also left off the some of the most egregious of entitlement programs. Farm subsidies.  A lot of his GLOW support came from wealthy farmers who have made millions in govt subsidies. He even claimed that corn subsidies were a thing of the past!!! ( 6:30 in)

    As I said before, he came off well in your interview. I believe that may have been more to your tone and style and perhaps Bellavia’s playing to the interviewer more than an insight into the candidate himself.

  • I love driving around Lancaster and seeing the dumpy little ranches on the busier roads with Collins signs on the front lawn.

    Slit your own economic throat – all the cool kids are doing it!

  • Damn Russ you nailed it there. I also got a kick out of the former Russo compound on Boston State Rd which sold then was welched on for around 3 mill with the I’M MAD AS HELL TOO CARL sign driven into its manicured lawn. What was he mad about, late tee times, watered down cape codders at OPCC ? But the working dopes like my plumber with his truck plastered in Calvin pissing on Obama decals and all kinds of Socialism asswipery simply slay me. I am not the least bit enthused to watch this little prick buy an election as Citizens United has turned these things into a potlatch not a democratic process and the chief with the most bearskins to toss on the fire wins. Maybe CC will go hot for tranny like the last guy who held the seat with his silver spoon in his ear. Other than that I have no reason to believe the fuckhead Dumbocrat party has a shot in hell of winning this thing. After watching them scratch their asses in Wisconsin and hearing that dipshit DW Shultz blithely announce that the Wisco recall vote had no national significance, followed up by a last minute tweet from the White House all but guarantees these numbnuts haven’t got a clue as to how you go about beating a funded Republican even a total fucking gaffe maching like Scot Walker and/or Chris Collins. Hmm maybe I am being a hair cynical but this shit is rigged and there’s no way to get out from under it except with more money. 

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