Skip to main content

Jane Corwin

Spokesman claims Corwin staffer was yelling 'coward' at Jack Davis after veterans' event

By Howard B. Owens
May 15, 2011, 6:09pm

The reason the Erie County GOP won't release the possible second tape of the confrontation in Greece on Wednesday is because it will show Jane Corwin's staffer disrespecting a veteran, says a spokesman for Tea Party-line candidate Jack Davis.

Curtis Ellis said a person who witnessed the incident claims that Michael Mallia, chief of staff for Jane Corwin's assembly office, jumped out of a car as Jack Davis was walking toward his car and called Davis a coward.

Mallia, he said, repeatedly called Davis a coward for not participating in last Thursday's debate.

"Here's a U.S. military veteran coming from this very somber veterans' event and some young kid is calling him a coward," Ellis said.

The event at a fire hall in Greece, sponsored by Republican David Bellavia, who endorsed Davis at the event, included a recitation of the names of all the military members killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Coming to an event like this and yelling 'coward' at a veteran as he's leaving is an insult to every veteran, every man or woman who has ever served in the military," Ellis said. "Jane Corwin needs to apologize."

If Corwin doesn't apologize for her staffer's conduct, Ellis said, "she's no better than Jane Fonda."

When we asked to speak with the volunteer who was with Davis at the time of the incident, Ellis said, "If they dispute my account, they can release the tape. They won't do that because it will show that she's really Jane 'Fonda' Corwin. That's what it will show."

Ellis made these comments in response to our earlier post requesting that Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy either release the tape or explain how somebody could operate a video camera without knowing the battery was dead. (Langworthy has claimed he can't release the second tape because the camera battery was dead.)

At 4:30 p.m., after talking with Ellis, we e-mailed Corwin's spokesman, Matthew Harakal, and asked for a response. So far, we haven't received it.

Candidates' questions: Personal liberties

By Howard B. Owens
May 15, 2011, 4:35pm

We now have answers from all four candidates in the NY-26 to our questions on personal liberties, with Jack Davis being the last to respond (answers had been due on Friday).

We posted the questions Friday, so won't repeat them here, except in context of the answers. The answers are after the jump in the order received.

Ian Murphy

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. We're really good at killing each other with guns, and I'd hate to see that American tradition come to an end, but it's probably a good idea to outlaw automatics, semi-automatics, RPGs, Scud missiles and nuclear arms. Anything beyond personal protection and hunting is not necessary, nor should we allow crazies, murderers, people convicted of gun violence, etc. to continue to carry guns.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

I would have voted against the Patriot Act. It's an idiotic piece of legislation pushed through in the fearful wake of 9/11, which violates the Fourth Amendment on many levels, doesn't keep us safe, and hands an ideological victory to the enemies of freedom.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

Yes. Incoherent puritanism aside, there's no reason Joe Sixpack shouldn't be able to smoke a joint in his own home. Tax it like we do booze and cigarettes, which kill about a half million people each year combined.

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

Well, that's a  complicated situation. It's real easy to get bent out of shape about some dude touching your “junk,” but some very credible reporters have claimed that the whole “Opt Out” movement was a carefully orchestrated PR campaign aimed at demonizing the TSA, which has been involved in a decade-long struggle to gain the same collective bargaining rights enjoyed by employees of all other federal agencies. And lo they have been demonized.

Astroturf aside, I have no problem with being scanned. And if you do “opt out” prepare to be frisked. I don't feel like I'm giving up any rights in this case, and I'd like to know that everyone on that plane was checked for explosives and other weapons too.

There's a  very big difference between something like this and something like the warrentless wiretapping in the Patriot Act. Our Constitution provides us protection against unwarranted search and seizure. It doesn't, however, give us the right to enter a potential flying bomb with weapons. To me, this seems by definition warranted.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

If rampant speculation and grift is legal on Wall Street, why not on my lap top? But Frank being in Wall Street's pocket is not the issue at hand. According to the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, Americans spend $100 billion annually gambling online with offshore providers, which don't answer to U.S. regulators. It's better to make it legal, regulate it and tax it, because like most vices, people will do it anyway. 

Kathy Hochul

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

My record on gun issues is clear.  I am a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns.  As Erie County Clerk, I streamlined the pistol permit process, allowing Erie County residents to more easily navigate the bureaucracy of purchasing a firearm.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

As a Member of Congress, I would have voted to extend the expiring provisions. While we must continue to ensure that we are protecting basic civil liberties, we must also continue to take a proactive approach in our fight against terrorism both here and abroad. 

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

I oppose the legalization of marijuana.

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

I understand the importance of airport safety and support the use of full-body scanners. However, we must take every step necessary to ensure that we are balancing the privacy of airline passengers with airport security.  That is why I support efforts to make it illegal to distribute or record images produced by TSA scanners.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

As a Member of Congress, I would support legislation that implements strict regulations on online gambling to protect consumers and prevents underage gambling. 

Jane Corwin:

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns? 

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and am the only NRA-endorsed candidate in the race. I am a member of the NRA and SCOPE.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted? 

I would have voted to extend the Patriot Act because I believe it affords our intelligence community necessary tools to keep our country safe. However, I believe that Congress must constantly review the Act to ensure that the components in the legislation are still needed and effective and do not infringe on individual freedoms.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?


What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

The TSA has a mission of keeping our airlines safe, however it seems clear – at least from some of the reports I’ve seen – that in some cases they have gone too far with their pat down policy.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

It would depend on what specifically the legislation that would be voted on would say, and it hasn’t been finalized yet. Generally speaking, I believe that if an individual would like to play poker online they should be able to, so long as they abide by gambling regulations already in place.

Jack Davis

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

I am a life member of the NRA and support the Second Amendment which gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. It says this right “shall not be infringed”, and I agree. "Shall not be infringed" means don’t mess with my stuff. 

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act.  If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

We saw a great uprising of principled conservatives opposing the Patriot Act’s abrogation of the rights the founders wrote into the constitution and the bill of rights. I would have joined them. We must protect our civil liberties as well our economic liberties.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

This can be regulated at the state level.  

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

We need to start concentrating our resources on real potential threats and not squander them hassling average citizens.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States.  Will you support such legislation?

Yes, the Commerce Clause was designed to allow Congress to create a free market within the fifty states.

Questions linger about second tape from Corwin staffer's confrontation with Jack Davis

By Howard B. Owens
May 15, 2011, 3:41pm

Richard Nixon has his 18 1/2 minute gap. Nick Langworthy has his dead battery.

As the screen shot above shows, there was a second camcorder at the scene of Wednesday's confrontation between Jane Corwin's Assembly chief of staff and Tea Party-line congressional candidate Jack Davis.

The question is, where's the tape from that second camera?

Langworthy, the Erie County GOP chairman, told the Buffalo News there is no tape. The young woman with the camera was operating a device with a dead battery.

Our question, didn't she know the battery was dead? How could she not know the battery was dead? (See our video posted below.)

Our public question to Langworthy: Please explain how the woman could be operating the camera without knowing the battery was dead, and, presuming that's impossible to explain, where's the full, unedited copy of that tape? 

In the now widely discussed incident -- perhaps the most bizarre incident in the NY-26 since Shirtless Chris Lee sent a half-nude photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist, leading to this special election -- Michael Mallia, an Assembly staffer by day, a Corwin campaign volunteer at night, confronted Davis after a campaign event in Greece.

In the video shot by Mallia, you hear Mallia repeatedly and aggressively asking Davis why he dropped out of a planned debate scheduled for the following day.

Davis is seen saying, “You want to be punched out?”  The 76-year-old Davis then takes a swipe at the camera -- it's unclear if Davis hit the 50-years-younger Mallia, or merely slapped the camera, or if Davis connected with nothing but air. After the swipe, Mallia falls away, wailing like a damsel in distress.

Buffalo's WGRZ-TV caught the tail end of the incident on tape and what the footage reveals is that a second person, who seems to clearly be part of the GOP crew, is standing behind Mallia taping the incident.

The tape from that second camera could answer a lot of questions about what really happened.

Besides saying the battery in the second camcorder was dead, Langworthy has steadfastly refused to release the unedited version of the tape from Mallia's camera, saying of the 15-second tape: “It’s the whole story, right there.” (Source, Buffalo News, linked above).

A spokesman for Davis, a registered Republican, has called the incident a "set-up job."

As the Buffalo News story indicates, even many Republicans are critical of Jane Corwin, Langworthy and Mallia over the incident.

Popular conservative talk show host Bob Lonsberry, a lifelong Republican, posted a strongly worded denouncement of the ECGOP tactics on his Web site

Afraid that Jack Davis was polling too high, apparently unable to argue against his platform, the Corwin campaign and the Republican Party decided to use character assassination, and they got a state employee to do it.

This isn’t the Republican Party that took control of the House of Representatives last fall. This isn’t the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan. This is the Republican Party of Richard Nixon. This is the dirty tricks party.

Of course, the second tape would inform us all better whether this was a "set-up job" or whether Davis acted as irrationally as Langworthy would like us all to believe.

So, Mr. Langworthy, where's the tape?

Hochul campaign hits Corwin on fundraising letter from Paul Ryan

By Howard B. Owens
May 14, 2011, 4:09pm

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.”

Bellavia takes another swipe at Corwin camp

By Howard B. Owens
May 14, 2011, 3:27pm

The following was received from Batavia resident David Bellavia, a Republican and Iraq War veteran who was passed over for the GOP nomination in the NY-26:

Dear Tea Party Colleague:

Before you get involved in the special election in NY-26, there's something you need to know.

Jane Corwin's two top advisers defrauded Carl Paladino to shove combat veteran Gary Berntsen out of the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

In fact, when they were caught, Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy and Corwin's campaign manager Chris Grant lied to me about it.

Why would you help Langworthy and Grant, when they hate the Tea Party so much that they would do this - potentially a criminal felony fraud - to push their establishment candidate for U.S. Senate over Carl's choice: my friend Gary Berntsen.

As Rus Thompson of TEA New York wrote: "[They] fancied themselves independent political operatives and clandestine master manipulators, and spent a small fortune of Carl's money WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OR APPROVAL, for a large lit drop naming Jay Townsend as the Paladino endorsed candidate. We caught wind and squelched the effort as best we could, and Carl issued an urgent press release confirming Berntsen as the Paladino endorsed candidate...[but Gary] Bernsten got screwed."

Before you lift a finger to help these two anti-veteran Corwin advisers manipulate this election, too, be sure to read the whole story here:

I urge you: don't help the people that will do anything - anything - to kill the Tea Party movement.

In Freedom,
Staff Sergeant David Bellavia
US Army, Ret.

UPDATE Sunday, 3:49 p.m.: We just received this e-mail response from Rus Thompson.

Although what happened during the Paladino campaign was unethical and just  plain wrong the FBI investigated and there is NO current investigation  ongoing with this. The FBI came in, went through Bernstens accusations and  found no wrong doing in violation of any Laws. The investigation was over as  fast as it started. There were no violations of the Law and NO campaign  finance Laws were violated, end of subject.

On the other hand, is it not unethical to do what Bellavia, Bernsten and  Caputo are doing right now? Endorsing a fraudulent tea party candidate for  the sole purpose of vengeance, to pay back fools with the republicans for an  idiotic move during a campaign last year?

Grow up and take this battle to a primary and not throw a special election to  the democrats.

Rus Thompson

Corwin campaign critical of Pelosi support of Hochul

By Howard B. Owens
May 14, 2011, 9:26am

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:

Candidates' questions, no answers

By Howard B. Owens
May 13, 2011, 7:28pm

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.

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

Bellavia accuses Corwin of breaking promise to self-fund her campaign

By Howard B. Owens
May 13, 2011, 2:12pm

Press Release:

(BATAVIA, NY) - Decorated combat veteran David Bellavia today accused Jane Corwin, the candidate of the Republican elite, of reneging on her commitment to self-fund her race - a broken promise that will cost real conservative Congressmen their seats in 2012.

"When the Erie County Republican chairman force-fed Jane Corwin to Western New York GOP organizations as his hand-picked candidate to replace Rep. Chris Lee, he said it was because she promised to spend $5 million on the race," Bellavia said. "Today it looks like she won't after all - and national Republican organizations are instead paying the bill."

"Where is Jane's $5 million?" Bellavia asked. "And why is she putting real conservative Congressmen at risk just to save a buck, when she's reportedly got $140 million in her checking account?"

To shore up one of the worst-run campaigns in recent Republican history, national GOP political action committess and their allies have committed to spending at least $1 million in the 26th Congressional District race. Bellavia said this puts more solid conservatives in harm's way in the next election cycle.

"Today Retired Army LTC Allen West, a combat veteran, is the number one target of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012 and they will pour millions of dollars into his opponent's campaign," Bellavia said. "Today Rep. West is the darling of the Tea Party movement and a potential candidate for Vice President - but because of Jane Corwin's miserable campaign, Rep. West and a dozen other targeted Republicans may not have the funding necessary to win in 2012."

"The only reason she was selected was because she could buy the seat herself," Bellavia said. "But now that the bill has arrived, Jane is headed to the powder room."

David Bellavia is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who served in the 1st Infantry Division (Task Force 2-2). He was recommended for the Medal of Honor, nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross, and received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Conspicuous Service Cross. In 2006 he was invited to attend the President's State of the Union address as an honored guest. In 2004, Bellavia was the subject of a Time Magazine cover story titled "Into the Hot Zone" which won a Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of the best selling book, "House to House," an account of his experience leading a platoon in the Battle of Fallujah published by the Free Press in 2007. Bellavia has endorsed Jack Davis in the hotly-contested special election, who is running on the Tea Party line.

Hochul campaign releases response to Corwin statements during today's 'debate'

By Howard B. Owens
May 12, 2011, 10:55am

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 <> ]

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 <> ]

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 <> ]

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 <> ]


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


Financial Services Roundtable Supports The South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Deal

In April, The Financial Services Roundtable hosted a fundraiser for Corwin in Washington, D.C. [Roll Call, 4/27/11]

In December 2010, the Financial Services Roundtable issued a statement in support of the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. [The Financial Services Roundtable, 12/03/10]

Financial Services Roundtable: Colombia Free Trade Agreement Is Good For Economy

In 2008, the Financial Services Roundtable supported the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“The Financial Services Roundtable supports the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and believes it is an important step in strengthening American trade.” [Financial Services Roundtable, 4/07/08]

Financial Services Roundtable Supported NAFTA

In 1993 the Financial Services Roundtable, then known as the Bankers Roundtable, supported NAFTA, saying “NAFTA is demonstrably in the national interest.” [Bankers Roundtable, 11/15/93]


Jane Corwin wants to cut taxes for multi-millionaires and billionaires
-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 <> ]

Republican Budget Would Cut Taxes For Wealthy Americans

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 2012 Republican budget would “cut taxes for wealthy Americans.” [Chicago Tribune, 4/22/11]

Wall Street Journal Column: Budget Cuts Would Overwhelmingly Benefit The Rich

According to a column in the Wall Street Journal by Alan S. Blinder, the budget cuts in the 2012 Republican budget would overwhelmingly benefit the rich.

“How many Americans know that 72% of Mr. Ryan’s claimed budget cuts would go to fund tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich?” [Wall Street Journal, Alan S. Blinder Column, 4/19/11 <> ]


Jane Corwin says she supports cuts to oil subsidies, but the TRUTH is...
-WGRZ/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Debate, 05/12/1]

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 <> ]

Republican Budget  Protects Subsidies For Big Oil

When asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News if the Republican budget eliminated tax breaks for oil companies, Rep. Ryan said, “the problem with our deficit is not because Americans are taxed too little.” [The New York Times, 4/06/11 <> ]

GOP releases video of operative harassing Jack Davis, getting 'assaulted'

By Howard B. Owens
May 12, 2011, 7:50am

The big overnight news in the NY-26 special election race to replace Shirtless Chris Lee is a video posted by the Erie County GOP that purports to show Jack Davis and an aide assaulting a person with a video camera.

Watch the video yourself and decide -- Did Jack Davis hit the camera operator or just shove the camera out of his face? 

Nick Langworthy freely admits that the camera operator works for the GOP, telling the New York Daily News, "[A] Young Republican volunteer [was] just asking Davis after his event why he pulled out of the debate. Other than that, I guess the video speaks for itself. Davis certainly does not have the temperament to serve in Congress if he can't handle tough questions from a tracker."

Shortly after the video was released, David Bellavia, who earlier endorsed registered Republican Davis, posted on his Twitter account, "GOP sent thugs to name-call and attack Jack Davis, even shoved his aide. Release both the uncut tapes Langworthy or you are a coward!"

WHEC posted a written statement from the Jack Davis campaign:

"Producers of this theatrical video have no respect for the truth. They lie about their own record. They lie about Jack Davis' record. Now they're fabricating an incident to distract us from their own failed policies that destroyed our economy and outsourced our jobs. This is the Blair Witch Project of video sensationalism. We see shaky camera moves and bad sound effects trying to make something out of nothing. The producers of this film will do anything to prevent Jack Davis from getting to Washington."

It's apparently not the first time a GOP operative has dogged Davis at a campaign event that provoked a response from Davis.

This event reminds me of a time during the 2008 campaign when I showed up at a GOP rally at Lewiston and West Main (where Clor's is now located) with my video camera with the intent of interviewing Chris Lee. Nick Langworthy wouldn't let me use a video camera. He said he feared the video falling into the hands of the Democrats and being spliced in a way that it could embarrass Lee.

UPDATE: WGRZ has a pretty full report. The significant revelation is that the Erie County GOP had two volunteers with cameras, so not only should there be an unedited version available from the first camera, but also an unedited version from the second camera, which will show a wider angle and more of what actually happened. I wonder if Nick Langworthy will release those tapes?

I can't get the WGRZ video to embed right, so here's a link to it.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has an item well worth reading: Who is Jack Davis? It covers the good, the bad and the ugly.

Jack Davis withdraws from debate, will host his own online town hall meeting

By Howard B. Owens
May 11, 2011, 8:20pm

Press release:

Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul are professional politicians. They are lying about me and my record. They lied about their own past history, taking credit for work done by others. 

In the real world, any employer would fire both of them for dishonesty. Sadly, their behavior is considered politics as usual. I refuse to accept it.

My morality and upbringing require me to tell the truth. My opponents have no such loyalty to the truth. We have seen politicians from both parties say one thing in campaigns and do another when elected. Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul fit that mold.

My honesty and my reputation have enabled me to build a successful business in Western New York. They are also my qualifications for serving the people of the 26th district in the U.S. Congress. 

I will not lend my integrity and my reputation for honesty to a forum with two politicians who will say anything to get elected.

After thinking about this long and hard, I have come to a decision that I will not participate in the alleged debates. Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul can use the television time to explain how both political parties have sent our jobs overseas and spent our nation into debt. 

I will speak directly with the voters who want and deserve honest answers. I will hold an electronic town hall on Saturday May 21st where voters can ask me any question they want and get an honest answer.  

Jane Corwin's campaign issued this response:

WILLIAMSVILLE -- Matthew Harakal, Communications Director for Jane Corwin for Congress, made the following statement this evening regarding Jack Davis' withdrawal from tomorrow's scheduled debate:

“This is exactly why Jack Davis can’t be trusted by Western New Yorkers – he backed out of the debate and he’d back out on them. Tomorrow’s debate will show a clear contrast between career politician Kathy Hochul and businesswoman Jane Corwin. Unlike Democrats Jack Davis and Kathy Hochul, Jane Corwin has never been one to back down from a fight, and you will see the type of leader she will be in Congress during tomorrow’s debate.”

David Bellavia won't endorse Corwin, says nice things about Davis and Hochul

By Howard B. Owens
May 10, 2011, 8:21pm

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."

Outside group could spend more than $600,000 on behalf of Jane Corwin

By Howard B. Owens
May 10, 2011, 6:14pm

The GOP is apparently spoked by recent polling data indicating Jane Corwin could lose what was considered a safe Republican seat and so a group lead by former White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove is stepping in with a pledge to buy $350,000 in television advertising.

If that doesn't work, the group is prepared to dump another $300,000 into the race, according to USAToday.

"This race has become artificially competitive because liberal Democrat Jack Davis is now trying to pass himself off as a conservative while the other liberal Democrat, Katie Hochul, is benefiting from his trick," said Jonathan Collegio, communication director for American Crossroads.

"This ad buy seeks to expose the Democrat trick for what it is," Collegio said.

Rove's group, American Crossroads, is what is now known as a Super PAC -- a new kind of political action committee that doesn't have the spending limits of a traditional PAC.  Super PACs were created by the FEC in response to a Supreme Court ruling that determined corporations were persons and their political contributions couldn't be capped.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that congressional Democrats are finally about to jump in the race, having raised $100,000 on behalf of Hochul.

Democrats are accusing the GOP of being in full panic mode.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: According to Roll Call, Jack Davis has loaned his campaign another $500,000, bringing his personal investment in his election bid up to $2.1 million.

Corwin announces signing of 'tax pledge'

By Howard B. Owens
May 10, 2011, 4:21pm

Press release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Jane Corwin, successful businesswoman and candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, today signed a written pledge to Western New York taxpayers to fight against any tax increase on Western New York working families and small businesses. Corwin was joined for the signing by Ogden Supervisor Gay H. Lenhard, who understands the effect high taxes have on the welfare of the community.

Corwin signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for lower tax rates and reforming our tax code. As a signer of the pledge, Corwin committed to opposing “any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.” Additionally, Corwin pledged to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

“Just last week it was announced that our unemployment rate rose to 9 percent, and the last thing we want to do in a struggling economy is raise taxes on the job creators that will lead our economic recovery,” Corwin said. “As someone who has helped run a small business in Western New York, I know firsthand the devastating effect high taxes have on a small business’ ability to grow and create jobs. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and if honored to be Western New York’s next representative in Washington I will fight to fundamentally reform our tax code to allow hardworking taxpayers to keep more of what they earn and small businesses to invest in themselves and create jobs,”

Corwin gained her firsthand perspective of the detrimental effect of high tax rates while working in the private sector. Corwin helped grow her family’s company – The Talking Phone Book – to more than 700 employees.

“Democrats Jack Davis and Kathy Hochul think that raising taxes on job creators is the way to grow our economy but they just don’t get it,” Corwin added. “Shrinking government and growing the private sector is the only way we can plan for long term prosperity, and that all begins with making our tax code more competitive so Western New York families can keep more of their hard-earned money and our region’s small businesses can compete on a level playing field so they can grow and create jobs.”

As a result of her legislative efforts to reduce taxes and make Western New York a more economic friendly environment, Corwin received a perfect 100 percent rating from Unshackle Upstate, a pro-growth, pro-jobs reform organization.

Jack Davis knocks Corwin and Hochul for taking 'special interest' money

By Howard B. Owens
May 10, 2011, 3:43pm

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.

Morning round up of NY-26 coverage

By Howard B. Owens
May 10, 2011, 8:29am

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.

New Hochul ad goes after Davis and Corwin; and other campaign news

By Howard B. Owens
May 9, 2011, 12:37pm

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.

No reply from Jane Corwin on trade and ag questions, Day 3

By Howard B. Owens
May 7, 2011, 4:19pm

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.

Corwin visits county GOP; doesn't object to Murphy in debate; GOP picks slate

By Howard B. Owens
May 6, 2011, 6:42pm

Jane Corwin, candidate for the NY-26 special election race, stopped by the Genesee County GOP dinner last night at Bohn's Restaurant.

When I first heard she would make an appearance, I thought I would try to catch up with her there and ask questions in person. Then I heard from her Communications Director Matthew Harakal, who apologized for not sending in the answers for the questions on trade and agriculture, which the other candidates have provided (now including Ian Murphy). Harakal promised them today.

It's 6:33 p.m., and I still don't have the answers. I wish I had asked the questions at Bohn's.

But I did ask Corwin for her thoughts on Ian Murphy being excluded from the WGRZ candidates' debate.

She said it's up to WGRZ to decide whom to include, but "I"m happy to talk about any issue with anybody at any time." 

She said she had no objection to Murphy being included in the debate.

So now Jack Davis, Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin all say they either favor or have no objection to Murphy being included in the debate.

As for the county GOP's business, here's the endorsed slate of candidates:

Genesee County Legislature

District #1, Towns of Alabama and Oakfield
Raymond F. Cianfrini
District #2, Towns of Elba, Byron and Bergen
Robert J. Bausch
District #3, Towns of Darien and Pembroke
Annie Lawrence
District #4, Towns of Batavia and Stafford
Mary Pat Hancock
District #5, Town of Le Roy
Shelley Stein
District #6, Towns of Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion
Esther Leadley
District #7, City of Batavia, Wards 1 and 6
Marianne Clattenberg
District #8, City of Batavia, Wards 2 and 3
Frank C. Ferrando

Genesee County Coroner - Barry Miller

New York State Republican Committee, Assembly District #139
Gertrude Penepent and John Rizzo
New York State Republican Committee, Assembly District #147
Barbara Eddy and Neil Kingdon

Eighth Judicial District Convention, Assembly District #139
Don M. Read and Charles Zambito, Delegates
David Saleh and Michael Cianfrini, Alternates
Eighth Judicial District Convention, Assembly District #147
Nelson Green, Delegate, Kenneth Alfes, Alternate

One last note: Ian Murphy did answer the questions on trade and ag. His answers are now posted.

Authentically Local