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Powers attacked for ties to Netroots

By Howard B. Owens

The Buffalo News reports this morning that opponents of Jon Powers are making an issue of his ties to "netroots," the supposed grassroots movement of online activists.

The Iraq War veteran and former substitute teacher has raised $322,452 through ActBlue, a Web site that bills itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action,” while winning the praise of bloggers from Buffalo to the Beltway.


But there’s a downside to Powers’ prolonged courtship of the netroots. It’s the reason he raised nearly twice as much money from New York City as he has from the Buffalo area, a fact that allows his opponents to charge that the 26th District might not be foremost in his mind if Powers makes his way to Washington.

“Jon Powers is campaigning the same way he’ll govern; from outside New York and inside the pockets of the special interests,” said Joy Langley, a spokesman for Davis, the millionaire industrialist who’s paying for his third congressional race with his own money.

Of course, if you're going to do your fundraising in a manner that allows anybody anywhere to contribute, New York City (pop. 8 million ) is going to out raise Buffalo (pop. 1 million). Proportionately, you could argue that Powers has done pretty well with fundraising in WNY.

For the record: I neither support nor oppose Jon Powers. I'm just saying ...

A lot of people think this is a pro-Powers site. This site is neutral at this point in the race; their are just a lot of Powers supporters who like The Batavian. That, too, probably says a lot about how strong Powers support is among Netizens.

Russ Stresing

( <i>I am a Powers supporter and campaign worker.</i> )

Last week, Jon Powers met with educators in Batavia. He also rolled out his education plan as covered by The Batavian. The Buffalo News ignored that to cover a jay walking ticket and to criticize his fundraising. These are both issues that were fed to them by the Davis campaign. The pattern has been for something to come out on a Davis website, followed very closely by a story in the Buffalo News.

Jack Davis came to Genesee County and said our farmers should stop whining about finding migrants to pick their crops and hire local unemployed. The Batavian covered this, and the Buffalo News didn't. Jack Davis went to Niagara County and complained that the voters are apathetic. The Lockport Union-Sun & Journal covered this but the Buffalo News didn't.

Jack Davis promised to spend $3 million on his campaign. Part of that will be spent on newspaper advertising. Powers campaigning has so far been focused on volunteers canvassing areas including Leroy, Oakfield, Elba, Avon, Warsaw, Perry, Dansville, and Batavia. Not a lot of ad dollars to be found there. It could be that if Jack loses this primary, there won't be the same amount of money available during the general. The D&C has had a different slant on their coverage, maybe because it's not the marquee race in their distribution area, so not nearly the amount of advertising will be spent with them. The coverage in the local newspapers has been largely balanced and fair. Though, like The Batavian, the bulk of the Letters to The Editors submission have been in support of Powers. Again, probably reflective of the committed support in these areas.

The attack on the Netroots is because there's next to no support for Davis on any Internet sites save his own. In fact, he is widely criticized. Also, if you check, the traffic on the Buffalo News blogs doesn't approach the traffic right here on The Batavian. Both the Buffalo News and the Davis campaign appear to be realizing that the Internet is largely bypassing them both.

Nothing the Davis campaign has done in recent weeks is to build up his support. Rather, its to dampen the enthusiasm that Powers' supporters have for him because the Davis campaign doesn't enjoy much grassroots support. That's coming only from my experience having made personal contact with over 300 voters and the observations of the 30+ supporters with whom I've canvassed and phone banked. I've met less than a 1/2 dozen Davis supporters and the lot of those gave lukewarm support, at best. In fact, the people who expressed negative opinions of the Davis campaign without even knowing who else was running outnumbered his supporters.

Personally, if I could afford to, I'd donate the max to the Powers campaign. I can't, but I can phone bank and canvass, so that's how I contribute.

Aug 17, 2008, 1:54pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

Is that all the Davis campaign has left to attack the Powers campaign on? Are they really THAT desperate?

Davis has 35 Million in oil stocks, they aren't funding his campaign, their funding him personally, if he's elected to congress thats exactly who he'll govern for, oil companies.

Full Disclosure: I am the President of the Genesee County Young Democrats and a Powers volunteer.

Aug 17, 2008, 4:53pm Permalink
daniel cherry

Usually i try and stay out of this polotics thing goin on here on the batavian.Isn't it a tiny bit weird that davis buys people gas.Isn't he the one who has that song on wbta?He didn't buy my vote i can tell ya that for sure.I myself dont like the way polotics works.The commercials, and i approve of this comment...dan

Aug 17, 2008, 6:10pm Permalink

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