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May 15, 2011 - 2:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul, jim owen.

Popular local teacher Jim Owen, who has been turning students into fans for more than four decades, has an interest in the NY-26 special election race that's a bit different from a lot of other Genesee County residents.

One of his former students is on the ballot.

Back in the mid-1970s, Kathy Courtney took a typing class from Owen.

Eventually, she would marry Bill Hochul, become a member of the Hamburg Town Board, then clerk of Erie County and now, she's the Democratic nominee for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"As a teacher, you have students in a classroom as juniors or seniors and you have no idea where they might go," Owen said. "Then when you read the paper that they've been very successfully -- obviously, I had nothing to do with it -- but it's nice to say, 'hey, I had her as a student.'"

Kathy Hochul isn't the only famous name that Owen can list as a typing student during his 35 years of teaching at Hamburg High School. 

Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Tom Toles was also a student.

"I wish I'd gotten one of his cartoons back then," Owen said.

Owen, who also coached her brothers and cousins in track and field, remembers Hochul as a diligent student.

"Now, in typing, we don't communicate too much because you're supposed to be typing, and she was," said Owen. "She did her work."

Owen wasn't sure Kathy would even remember him.

On the campaign trail today, Hochul had time for a brief conversation and said Jim Owen is certainly "somebody stuck in my memory bank" as an important person in her young life.

"The students loved him," Hochul said. "He had a real way to take something as mundane as typing and make it real fun. He was very popular with all of the students."

A staunch Republican, Owen won't reveal who he's voting for, but admitted he can't help but root for Kathy.

"It's kind of neat to say, 'Here's a young lady I had in class and now she's running for Congress,'" Owen said. "I wish her a lot of luck. I hope things work out for her."

He added that he thinks "all three" candidates, especially the "two young ladies," would represent the community well, and he's expecting close results -- so close that a recount may be necessary.

Now a substitute teacher for Batavia City Schools, Owen doesn't know if he'll be required to work Tuesday. If he's off, he plans to attended the candidates' forum at 11 a.m. at the YWCA on North Street. If he makes it, it will be the first time teacher and student have seen each other in more than 20 years.

May 14, 2011 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

The following is a statement from Fabien Levy, Director of Communications for Kathy Hochul for Congress:

“Last night, Representative Paul Ryan sent out a fundraising plea in support of Jane Corwin and her endorsement of the Republican-endorsed budget that would decimate Medicare. 

“This just shows how out of touch Assemblymember Corwin is with the people of the 26th District. Voters are undoubtedly rejecting her support of a budget that would throw our seniors under the bus, while giving massive tax breaks to the multi-millionaires and billionaires, yet she and Congressman Ryan continue to push it down our throats.

“Jane Corwin and the Republicans in Washington are out of touch with the voters of this district, including the thousands of Republicans. And on May 24th, voters will not only reject Jane Corwin’s plan to decimate Medicare, but they will reject her.”

May 14, 2011 - 9:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Career politician Kathy Hochul joined Nancy Pelosi for a swanky fundraiser in New York City last night, underscoring the deep admiration between the two liberal Democrats. The event continues a weeklong showing of affinity from Hochul towards the former Speaker of the House, an icon to the liberal special interest groups funding Hochul’s campaign. On Tuesday, Hochul said that Pelosi did “a great job for this country” during her time as Speaker, despite the fact that during Pelosi’s time as Speaker our country borrowed trillions more dollars from China and millions of jobs were lost.

“Kathy Hochul’s proud support of Nancy Pelosi shows she just doesn’t understand the congressional district she wants to represent, which isn’t surprising considering she doesn’t even live here,” said Matthew Harakal, Communications Director for Jane Corwin for Congress. “It comes as no surprise that Pelosi would expect Hochul to report back to her, considering that Hochul is Pelosi’s handpicked candidate. Kathy Hochul has followed Nancy Pelosi’s lead in supporting massive tax increases, the Obama health care law, and growing government, but where does she disagree with Pelosi?”   

This is at least the second time in recent weeks that Hochul has traveled to New York City for a posh fundraiser with downstate leaders who have helped decimate Western New York’s economy, all the while leaving Western New Yorkers behind.

“Kathy Hochul just doesn’t get it,” Harakal added. “Voters across the country rejected Nancy Pelosi’s tax-and-spend economic policies which have brought our economy to a screeching halt, but Kathy Hochul continues to push that same failed agenda. Maybe Kathy Hochul should actually spend some time in the district and instead of sipping champagne with liberal special interests in Manhattan, explain to taxpayers why she thinks it’s smart to raise taxes on job creators to fund her ideas for growing government.”

The press release contained the following links:

May 13, 2011 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

As part of this week's questions for candidates, we told the candidates that we would delay publishing answers if by the deadline (which was late this morning) one or more of the candidates hadn't responded.

But we also said we would update readers on the status of the questions and answers.

This week's topic (questions after the jump) is personal liberty.  

We've received responses from Ian Murphy, Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin. We haven't received a response from Jack Davis.

I spoke with his representative this afternoon Curtis Ellis, who said the Davis campaign has just been kept very busy the past couple of days, but the answers would be forthcoming.

So, stay tuned for the answers as soon as we hear from Jack Davis.

May 12, 2011 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today's debate highlighted the clear differences between Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin on a number of issues, including Medicare, NAFTA, Taxes, and Big Oil.


Jane Corwin: "This is not a voucher system."
-WGRZ/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Debate, 05/12/11

Corwin: I Would Have Voted For The 2012 House Budget

In a campaign statement, Corwin said she would have voted for the 2012 Republican budget.

“As a member of Congress, I would have voted both for this week’s plan to cut $38 billion and for the 2012 House budget resolution passed today,” Corwin said. [Capital Tonight, Jane Corwin Statement, 4/15/11 <http://www.capitaltonight.com/2011/04/corwin-i-would-have-voted-yes/> ]

Wall Street Journal: Republican Budget Would Essentially End Medicare

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Republican plan “would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11 <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870380630457624075112451852... ]

Alan S. Blinder: Republican Plan Threatens To Eviscerate Medicare

Alan S. Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the Republican plan “threatens to eviscerate Medicare by privatizing it—with vouchers that, absent some sort of cost-control miracle, would fall further and further behind the rising cost of health insurance.” [Wall Street Journal, Alan S. Blinder Column, 4/19/11 <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870391600457627083224494099... ]

AARP: Premium Support System Would Dramatically Increase Costs For Medicare Beneficiaries

According to the AARP, the changing Medicare to a “premium support system would dramatically increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage—a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” [AARP, 4/19/11]

St. Petersburg Times: Seniors Would Have To Pay About $6,400 More

According to the St. Petersburg Times, under the Republican proposal for Medicare, “seniors would have to pay about $6,400 more than if the program were not changed, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” [St. Petersburg Times, 4/22/11 <http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/medicine/proposed-medicare-cuts-brin... ]


Jane Corwin, asked directly if she supports NAFTA, refuses to answer.
-WGRZ/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Debate, 05/12/11


May 11, 2011 - 7:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Good overview from the Buffalo News this morning on outside spending on the NY-26 race, which now includes a $250,000 television buy from congressional Democrats.

... the committee responded to the American Crossroads effort purchased $250,000 in ad time -- in addition to nearly $100,000 it quietly had steered toward Hochul's effort, a Democratic operative said. About $47,000 of that was spent on communications, research and other political help, while the Democratic committee raised $50,000 for Hochul's campaign.

That was just the beginning of the committee's fundraising effort. Robby Mook, the group's executive director, sent would-be contributors an e-mail Tuesday, saying, "We can win this race, but with Election Day just two weeks from today, we will need $150,000 by midnight tonight for urgent rapid response resources."

UPDATE: Roll Call has more, and some pretty interesting stuff, on spending in the race, especially on the Democratic side. The article indicates the DCCC was quietly helping Hochul prior to yesterday, but were trying to keep it quite so as not to alert the big GOP spenders. Now that Karl Rove's American Crossroads is in the race, Democrats are ramping up efforts. But their Super PACs are newer and not yet infused with cash. The DCCC has $8 million in debt holding it back as well.

UPDATE: More recommended reading, the Daily Caller.

May 10, 2011 - 8:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Batavia resident and one-time congressional hopeful David Bellavia is planning to endorse a candidate in the NY-26, according to neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard, and it won't be Jane Corwin.

About Jack Davis, Bellavia said:

"Jack is a veteran. Jack is a self-made man," Bellavia said. "He's a guy who will leave his factory to his workers when he dies. He's right on immigration. He's right on jobs. The issues that I disagree with Jack, I disagree with all three [candidates]. There's not one pro-life candidate in this race."

As for Kathy Hochul:

Bellavia said Hochul is a "smart, honorable, decent woman" who's had to "move left" to appeal to her party. "I do respect her and I do like her."

May 10, 2011 - 3:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s super-PAC funded by anonymous deep-pocket donors purchased $650,000 of television air time, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an effort to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend in NY-26.  Both groups seek to influence the special election and defeat Jack Davis in the special election on May 24th.

Jack Davis issued this statement:

This is further evidence - if any were needed - that Jane Corwin is owned by Karl Rove, Washington lobbyists and Wall Street bankers. It's no coincidence that John Boehner travelled to Wall Street yesterday after appearing with Corwin. Jane Corwin could pay for her own campaign, but she'd rather have the special interests she's working for pick up the tab. 

As far as Kathy Hochul, her own disclosure report shows she has taken thousands of dollars from bankers, lawyers and Democratic insiders. Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which claims it is not involved, sent out a nationwide "emergency email" trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pour into this race. 

Kathy Hochul will be ordered around by Nancy Pelosi and Wall Street, just as Jane Corwin will be ordered around by John Boehner and Wall Street.  I will take my orders from you. I have not taken any money from the special interests that have shipped our jobs overseas.

I have not taken one penny from any special interest, political party, lobbyist or influence peddler. It is clear who is on the side of the people of this district and who is on the side of the special interests.

May 10, 2011 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

The Buffalo News covers yesterday's events in Erie County, particularly Speaker John Boehner's appearance at a Corwin fundraiser in Depew.

It allowed Boehner to bring up hot-button issues like a lagging economy that still is not producing jobs, as well as sky-high gasoline prices. And he continually referred to the Democrats' liberal spending policies that have produced a unified GOP effort in the House to rein in spending.

"Washington Democrats hope to steal this election so they can move their agenda of higher taxes and more spending," he said. "The president wants to raise taxes. Why? So they can continue to spend. It's time to say no, and we're going to continue to say no to higher taxes and more spending in Washington."

Boehner, who also was scheduled to speak Monday to a Wall Street audience in Manhattan, referred to Corwin as the only conservative in the race who will "stand up to Nancy Pelosi and the liberals in Washington." 

And our own Bea McManis gets a mention.

Appearing with Richtman and Hochul were Bea McManis and Judy Hale of Batavia, two senior citizens worried about the impact of the Republicans' plans for Medicare.

"The Republican budget will decimate Medicare," Hochul said. "That's what this election is all about -- people like Bea and Judy."

Public Policy Polling, the company that conducted the poll released yesterday showing Hochul leading Corwin and Davis, posted a blog item with thoughts on its own poll.

The dominance the GOP showed with independents last year is over. Hochul is winning the independent vote with 37% to 31% for Davis and 20% for Corwin. A more significant finding though is that 39% of independent voters want their new representative to caucus with the Democrats in Washington to 36% who want the winner to side with the Republicans. That suggests Hochul might be winning even in a two-way race with independents and after a year where independents nationally sided with the GOP by a 19-point margin on the national House ballot. That's very meaningful.

Mona Charen, writing for Town Hall, tells her national audience that voters in NY-26 are being duped by Kathy Hochul on her claims about the Ryan budget and Medicare and by Jack Davis, whom she says is really a Democrat. She also says Jane Corwin isn't running a very competent campaign.

The NY-26 race was discussed at length last night by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

May 9, 2011 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

In other campaign news, the Buffalo News has published a story saying that Corwin's critics are calling into question claims in her professional biography.

Also, House Speaker John Boehner is in Depew today, to support Corwin's campaign and take part in a fundraiser.

In response, Jack Davis is giving away free hot dogs at Zorba’s Texas Hots, just down the road from what Davis said is a $2,500 per-plate lunch with Boehner.

A Buffalo News article also notes that Hochul is having a hard time interesting House Democrats in financial and strategic support for her candidacy, even as she seems to be gaining ground on Corwin.

Finally, DailyKos claims to have Hochul's internal polling numbers, which shows the race going 31-30-26 for Corwin-Hochul-Davis. The post says the poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group, but doesn't say when or what the margin of error might be (but it's certainly within 1 percentage point, making this at least a two-way tie and possibly a three-way tie).

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: DailyKos is reporting that a new poll (which I think they're saying was commissioned by DailyKos and SEIU) shows Hochul with a lead in the race. The numbers break down 35 percent for Hochul, 31 for Corwin, 24 for Davis with 2 percent going to Murphy. Full spreadsheet of the poll here. One of the interesting charts is of the approval rating for the Republican-lead Congress, with 57 percent overall, and 35 percent of the Republicans in the district saying they disapprove.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: The DailyKos poll is making national news. Here's a story from Roll Call.

“I think they have a pretty long record of being inaccurate with their polls,” Corwin spokesman Matthew Harakal said of PPP.

When asked, Harakal declined to release internal polling from the Corwin campaign to counter the PPP survey.

“We’re very comfortable with where we are,” he said. “The fact is that Kathy Hochul and Jack are on the wrong side of the issues. The only poll that matters is on Election Day.”

Harakal also told Roll Call the lunch today was $150 per plate.

The progressive New Republican wonders if Corwin will become Paul Ryan's first "victim."

If Hochul pulls this out, it will exert a huge influence over the Congressional landscape. Democrats even in unfriendly districts will have a viable plan to unseat Republican incumbents. Meanwhile, Republicans, who have been riding high on ideological hubris, will suddenly come face to face with some cold political reality. 

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: More on the race from The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Sean Carroll and WHAM13 has a run down of today's events in Erie County. So does Commentary Magazine.

May 7, 2011 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

UPDATE 9:29 p.m.: Jane Corwin's answers are now added to the original post.  Click here.

It's been three days since the answers were due on the set of trade and agriculture questions we sent to the four candidates in the NY-26 special election to fill the seat vacated by Shirtless Chris Lee, and still no reply from Jane Corwin.

We've been promised the answers, but have not yet received them.

It would be interesting to know Corwin's answers because on one hand, the head of her party in the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner promised the passage of three free-trade agreements if the GOP won a house majority.

On the other hand, when she announced her candidacy, Corwin promised to be an independent voice in Washington and not beholden to the House leadership.

So we don't really know where Corwin stands on what may be one of the most important votes likely to come up during her first few months in office, should she win.

Is Corwin authentically in support of free trade agreements or will she oppose such deals? We still don't know.

With most Democrats and some Republicans opposing the deal, whomever wins the NY-26's race could wind up casting a crucial vote.

Kathy Hochul, Jack Davis and Ian Murphy all told The Batavian they oppose the South Korean trade deal and would vote no on ratifying the treaty if elected.

There are also pending free trade deals with Colombia and Panama, which Boehner has promised to get passed.

May 6, 2011 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – As the unemployment numbers released today show the economy continues to struggle, a new survey released this week showed job creators ranked New York as the second-worst state in the country to do business. Citing high taxes as one of the most significant barriers to job creation, more than 550 CEOs surveyed <http://www.rbj.net/article.asp?aID=187482> by a business journal offer more evidence that the tax-and-spend economic policies pushed by career politicians like Kathy Hochul are having a devastating effect on New York’s economy.

Hochul has repeatedly said she would raise taxes on small businesses making more than $500,000, which includes a significant number of Western New York’s small businesses. 

“Only a career politician like Kathy Hochul – whose only time in the private sector was spent as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. – would think that raising taxes on job creators will create jobs,” said Matthew Harakal, Communications Director for Jane Corwin for Congress. “Despite a rise in unemployment numbers and job creators saying what they need to create jobs, Kathy Hochul still says she knows best and wants to raise taxes on small businesses.”

Having helped run a business and create hundreds of jobs right here in Western New York, Jane Corwin understands the conditions needed for small business to grow and create jobs. If honored to serve as Western New York’s next Representative for New York’s 26th Congressional District, Corwin would fight to lower taxes, cut spending and strengthen our economy to create jobs here in Western New York.

May 5, 2011 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

In our ongoing effort to ask candidates questions of substance on issues that matter, we turn our attention this week to trade and agriculture.

All four candidates in the NY-26 special election to replace Shirtless Chris Lee on May 24 where asked the same exact questions.

We received responses from Jack Davis and Kathy Hochul. Ian Murphy apologizes for missing the deadline and will have his responses in later today.

As for Jane Corwin -- we've heard not a peep from her campaign. I've left messages and sent multiple e-mails today seeking a response and Matthew Harakal, her communications director, hasn't acknowledged the messages.

If Corwin replies later, we'll update the post with her answers.

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: We received an e-mail from Matthew Harakal that he sent about an hour ago. He apologized for not responding to messages today.  He said he was away from the office all day.  He said answers will be forthcoming tomorrow. We'll add the answers to this post once received.

UPDATE: Ian Murphy's answers added below.

As previously, the questions we asked are below and the candidate answers, in the order received, cut and pasted verbatim after the jump.

What is your position on NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)?

The next representative of the NY-26 is likely going to be asked on vote on the South Korea – United States Free Trade Agreement. If elected, will you vote “Yes” or “No.”

After offering a straight up or down answer, please explain your yes or no vote.

The U.S. has a $252 billion trade deficit with China, the largest between any two countries in the world. Does this concern you and as a congressional representative would you do anything to address it?

Would New York’s farmers find your immigration policy beneficial or harmful to their businesses?

What policy changes need to occur that you would favor in support of New York’s dairy farmers?

What policies, if any, do you favor to assist family farmers selling their products in local markets?


May 4, 2011 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

ERIE COUNTY – Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, today reiterated her opposition to the Shuster amendment after the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday announced their opposition to the Republican-backed amendment that would unravel two years of work to reform the airline industry.   

In a statement yesterday, the FAA said they had “concerns” that the Shuster amendment protects “a set of procedural hoops that could have the effect of slowing down rulemaking projects under way and in the future.”

“Every Member of the United States House of Representatives, who voted for the Shuster amendment, is responsible for potentially endangering the lives of airline passengers from across the country,” said Hochul.

“If I were in Congress today, I would be fighting, alongside Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressmembers Slaughter and Higgins, for the people of the 26th District and the families of Flight 3407; working tirelessly to ensure major changes to how the airline industry operates are enacted.    

“No one from outside this area understands the collective pain we experienced as a community following the crash of Flight 3407, which is why it is disturbing to hear my Republican opponent will not rescind her offer for Speaker John Boehner, the leader of the party that overwhelmingly supported the Shuster amendment, to travel to Western New York and raise thousands of dollars for her campaign.

“The safety of our families and loved ones must be our top priority and we must do anything we can in order to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again.”

The Shuster amendment halts major measures to combat pilot fatigue, increase commercial pilot licensing requirements, improve training practices, establish an electronic pilot records database, and set up new transparencies for regional carriers.  

May 3, 2011 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

There was a time when Republican Jane Corwin and her GOP handlers focused their attack-ad firepower on Democrat Kathy Hochul in the special election race to fill the NY-26 seat vacated by Shirtless Chris Lee.

Then, last week, a Siena Poll showed Corwin's potential vote percentage trailing the GOP registration advantage in the district, with Democrat Kathy Hochul holding to near even with the registration numbers.

Meanwhile, Jack Davis, on the Tea Party line, isn't far behind either frontrunner and poll numbers suggest Davis, who ran two previous times for the seat as a Democrat, is drawing votes from Republican Corwin more than Democrat Hochul.

The Buffalo News reports that the poll has prompted GOP strategists to put Davis in their cross hairs.

Now the GOP is ratcheting up last week’s verbal criticism of Davis into mailers delivered throughout the district linking him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and “liberal Democrats.”

“Meet the Real Jack Davis: A Liberal Democrat That Must Be Stopped,” screams the headline on one mailed piece. Another claims he supported Pelosi and President Obama while accepting contributions from disgraced Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-Harlem.

“With a record like this, how can we trust Jack Davis?” asks the mailer, featuring photos of Pelosi, Obama and Rangel. 

Davis responded with a statement sent to the media today.

This proves that both parties are corrupt and will do anything to protect the status quo.

Both parties supported trade deals like NAFTA that ship our jobs overseas. President Obama and Speaker Boehner are now collaborating to ram the next NAFTA through Congress, and both Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul will vote for it.

Both parties supported bailouts for Wall Street and the big banks. Both parties supported tax breaks for multinationals that make billions in profits and pay zero taxes.

Both parties sold out our country and now to make us pay for it all, Republican Jane Corwin wants to replace Medicare with vouchers that stick it to our seniors. Democrat Kathy Hochul, of course, wants to raise taxes again.

Republican Jane Corwin will listen to Speaker Boehner. Democrat Kathy Hochul will listen to Nancy Pelosi. If you vote for me, there will be only one voice I listen to -- and that will be the people of Western New York.

Your voice will finally be heard. No more trade deals that ship our jobs overseas. No more bailouts for Wall Street. No more tax breaks for multinationals.

We need a different perspective and a different approach. As a businessman, I fought to create and keep jobs here, and as your Congressman I will fight for your job -- not Wall Street.

I cannot be bought. Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul cannot be trusted.

That is the difference in this race -- two parties that sold us out to Wall Street, or an independent who will fight for you.  

The Buffalo News article concludes:

Meanwhile, there is still no indication that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — which champions election of Democrats to the House — has any plans to financially support Hochul despite the Siena poll showing her trailing Corwin by only five percentage points in the primarily Republican district.

But Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan said he remains “hopeful” the Washington support will materialize.

“I think Kathy is coming on strong and victory is within reach,” he said. “Everything the campaign is doing is aimed at gaining support and winning the election.”

April 28, 2011 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

ERIE COUNTY – Oil companies British Petroleum (BP), Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Exxon Mobil all reported first-quarter profits today, with Exxon Mobil reporting an astonishing 69-percent increase in profits. 

“While Americans are paying more than $4 at the pump, oil companies are making exorbitant profits thanks to the help of their Republican friends in Congress,” said Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District. “Speaker John Boehner says Congress ‘ought to take a look at’ tax breaks for oil companies, but we know that the House has already given them far too many.

“The 2012 House budget, that my Republican opponent supports, further fuels the profits oil companies made last quarter by cutting federal spending in energy research and development, while calling for the elimination of tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy technologies. House Republicans would rather gut alternative energy technologies and decimate Medicare, than cut subsidies for big oil. How is that competitive?”

Jane Corwin has publicly stated her support for the Republican’s 2012 budget that would decimate Medicare, while giving tax breaks to corporations and America’s wealthiest individuals. The proposal also terminates alternative energy development, innovation and exploration.

April 28, 2011 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

This week, we asked each of the four candidates in the special election for the NY-26 Congressional District questions related to taxes, spending and debt.

Below are the questions. After the jump, the candidates' responses in the order received.

Let’s start with general economic theory. There are two primary, and opposing, schools of thought regarding modern economics and the role of government. Which theories most closely match your own economic view, those of John Maynard Keynes or Ludwig Von Mises?

A median-wage worker pays 23.4 percent of his or her income in federal taxes. A person in the top 1 percent of wage earners pays 16.9 percent.  Would you consider this differential something that should be reformed in the current tax code, or does this seem reasonable to you?

For purposes of political speech, corporations are considered persons. In tax law, persons must, at a minimum, pay an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Should the AMT be extended to the “persons” of corporations, such as General Electric Corp.? In other words, should corporations be required to pay at least some tax, regardless of write-offs and other tax advantages?

At the federal level, there are several departments and agencies – such as education, health, commerce, and more – that duplicate state and local services. Which, if any, of these departments and agencies could be eliminated or greatly reduced?

In 2009, Obama pushed through a tax cut cut for the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers that saved taxpayers from $800 to $1,600 per year. In December 2010, Congress overturned this tax credit. Would you have voted to repeal this tax cut if you were in office at the time?

Is it necessary to reduced the nation’s $14 trillion in gross national debt, and can it be reduced without tax increases? And if taxes have to go up, where should they go up first – corporations, the top 1 percent wage earners, the middle class, the poor?

Would you support a flat tax or national sales tax as an alternative to income tax?

April 27, 2011 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

The following is a statement from Fabien Levy, director of communications, for Kathy Hochul for Congress:

“While voters of the 26th District express their concern over Jane Corwin’s support of the Republican budget that decimates Medicare, the Assemblymember is hitting the D.C. fundraising circuit with the same Washington insiders who voted for the proposal.

“This morning, Jane Corwin is headlining a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., with slick Washington politicians and her old Wall Street pals at the Capitol Hill Club. The fundraiser is being hosted by The Financial Services Roundtable – a group of Wall Street bankers, who were among the first to back President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.

“So not only do Jane Corwin’s donors want to decimate Medicare, but they supported privatizing Social Security as well? Voters in the 26th District will not stand for politicians that support proposals that could send our seniors back into poverty, while lining the pockets of the super rich.

“Jane Corwin’s plans are wrong for all Americans and will only add burdensome costs onto the backs of our seniors, while providing massive tax breaks to America’s corporate giants and wealthiest individuals.”

UPDATE: Response from the Corwin campaign:

"Today, Jane is discussing how she would vote to cut spending and create jobs, while over the last few days Kathy Hochul has been sipping champagne with radical New York City special interests that have decimated Western New York’s economy. Instead of hobnobbing with glitterati on New York City’s Upper East Side, maybe Kathy Hochul will finally speak up and unveil her plan for cutting spending, creating jobs, lowering gas prices, or anything else for that matter."  -Matt Harakal

April 26, 2011 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

This is the new commercial released today by Kathy Hochul's campaign. 

Here's a fact-checking assignment: The commercial cites several newspaper sources. Are the quotes being used in context?

UPDATE: A reply from Corwin's campaign: 

Statement from Matthew Harakal, communications director for Jane Corwin for Congress:

“This commercial and personal attack is a bold-faced lie.Politifact has given claims in this ad a “Pants on Fire!” rating. These types of baseless scare tactics are exactly what you’d expect from a career politician like Kathy Hochul, but Western New Yorkers deserve better.”

Harakal sends along a link to a Times-Union article as well.

UPDATE: New, related PR from Hochul's campaign:

“On April 15, after a week of prodding, Assemblymember Jane Corwin finally admitted she supports the Republican’s 2012 budget that would end Medicare as we know it and give massive tax breaks to America’s corporate giants – the same corporate giants that paid absolutely nothing in income taxes last year.

“Jane Corwin talks a lot about cutting spending, closing corporate loopholes, coming up with alternative energy plans, and protecting our seniors, but the truth is Jane Corwin is all talk and no action.  She says she has a ‘plan’ that would ‘fight to begin getting our national addiction to spending under control.’  Well that plan is a point-by-point copy of the Republican budget, which does none of those things.  

“Assemblymember Corwin has publicly supported a budget that cuts taxes on major corporations and the highest-earning individuals, instead of making them pay their fair share.  She supports a budget that cuts spending on alternative energy research and development, instead of cutting subsidies for big oil.  She supports a budget that decimates Medicare, instead of ensuring we protect our seniors from burdensome costs.

“While Jane Corwin says she supports solutions for the people of the 26th District, she really only supports solutions that line the pockets of corporations, oil companies, and the super rich.”

April 21, 2011 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Matthew Harakal, communications director for Jane Corwin for Congress, made the following comments today regarding Kathy Hochul’s continued silence on the $14.3 TRILLION debt facing our country:

“Despite our fiscal crisis, Kathy Hochul continues to sit silently with Nancy Pelosi and refuse to say how she would cut spending. While Kathy Hochul refuses to take a stand, our national debt has increased $32.72 billion.

Western New York taxpayers deserve an answer from Kathy Hochul on spending. Does she support the president’s $1.5 trillion tax hike on families and small businesses? Or will she finally stand with Jane Corwin and commit to cutting spending?

Every day, another $4.09 billion is added onto our national debt, but Kathy Hochul remains silent. Kathy Hochul says she fights for Western New York, but it’s hard to win a fight without saying a word or taking a stand.”

Statistics on our record-high national debt can be found HERE <http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/> , and information on how Jane Corwin would cut spending can be found HERE <http://janecorwin.com/posts/janes-plan-to-cut-runaway-government-spending>.


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