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Conservatism won big in central New York, just not the conservative candidate

Conservatism won big in central New York, just not the conservative candidate

A huge missed opportunity in upstate NY-22.

New York Congressional District 22 is in the heart of central upstate New York, a mostly rural or semi-rural district that runs from Utica in the north to Johnson City-Endicott and Binghamton in the south.

If New York had its own flyover country, NY-22 would be it.  The district is so safe Republican, that Democrats are not even running a candidate in this year’s election.

New York District 22

Republican incumbent Richard Hanna either is a liberal or “moderate” Republican, depending who you ask.  Few people call him a conservative, and he’s rated as one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress.

Hanna was challenged by Claudia Tenney, a conservative, Tea Party Republican state assemblywoman.

The race was far tighter than the mainstream media expected.  At the end of the evening, Hanna won by about 1600 votes, 52.8% to 47.2%.  To barely win, Hanna and his supportive SuperPACs spent $2 million to Tenney’s $150,000.

Contrary to how many in the media are portraying the race, Hanna did not win because he was liberal or moderate.  To the contrary, Hanna’s campaign and SuperPACs supporting him ran away from his “moderate” label and fully towards portraying Hanna as the more conservative candidate.

In a complete falsification of reality, the SuperPACs in particular attacked Tenney as not being conservative enough in order elect the more liberal Hanna.

It was, as we wrote numerous times, a false flag operation, convincing voters to vote for the more liberal candidate by portraying the more liberal candidate as more conservative.

Over $1 million was spent on these false flag SuperPAC ads in small television markets — almost certainly the equivalent of several times that much in a large TV market.  The television air war in support of Hanna was, in every sense, a ruse.

Those non-stop, round-the-clock ads are what got me interested in the race.  I’m in NY-23, but in the same Syracuse and Binghamton television markets as NY-22.

Hanna also was helped by an NRA endorsement.  As we saw in the Mia Love contest in Utah-04 in 2012 where the NRA backed the Democrat incumbent against the rising conservative star, the NRA is not hesitant to support the more liberal incumbent so long as the incumbent has high marks on Second Amendment issues.  It doesn’t matter to the NRA if the challenger — Love in Utah-04, Tenney in NY-22 — also is strong on the 2nd Amendment; the incumbent gets protected as a reward.

Guns are big in central NY.  Hanna’s campaign itself raised the claim of Tenney supposedly being in favor of the SAFE Act.  It was false, but once again Hanna was running towards the more conservative position.

The issue which garnered Hanna big SuperPAC contributions, gay marriage, was a non-issue in the race.  Hanna didn’t run on it, and the SuperPAC which spent $700,000 to support Hanna for that purpose didn’t mention it in advertisements.

Tenney received some last minute radio talk show endorsements and conservative media attention in the final week of the campaign, after we brought attention to the false flag SuperPAC ads. That attention helped, but it was too little, too late.

Tenney told Kerry Picket of Breitbart.com:

“A lot of people spent a lot of time trying to get out there and get the message out and we were just getting inundated with ads—100 ads a day—three or four flyers a day. Robocalls, radio ads. It was relentless. We couldn’t counter that.”

It could have been countered had Tenney received national help.  A little more help would have gone a long way.

But by and large, national conservative and Tea Party groups and politicians ignored the race.

This was a horribly missed opportunity.

In the end, conservatism won in central New York flyover country.  Just not the conservative candidate.

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Comments

Captain Keogh | June 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

Mr. Jacobson, how about actually trying to defeat some Democrats for once?

    Pointing out a Progressive Democrat attempting to cloth himself in the mantle of Conservatism in order to both bamboozle his constituents and drive anti-Republican agenda items IS defeating a Democrat. It just happens to be a Democrat who is either lying to himself about being a Republican or is cynically using a blind, deaf, mute and largely impotent Republican “leadership” that won’t call him on his abandonment of Republican Party Planks in order to guarantee their precious “control.”

    The Establishment long ago became a disgrace. Now it has actively become the Enemy which must be destroyed. Only two ways to do that: abandon the Party OR pack the low-level party positions so that when leadership votes arise that more Conservative leaders are put into executive committee positions. So far, TEA Party activists have chosen the latter.

    Perhaps it’s time we start planning for January 2017 to go full separate 3rd party and finally put out the RINOs to pasture for good.

      Captain Keogh in reply to Chuck Skinner. | June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

      I wish you guys would form your own party – for every one the GOP would lose they would pick up more disgruntled Democrats, single women, young people and Independents (as long as we stopped trying to act like The Party of God).

        tom swift in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

        The “third party” approach has been considered, and rejected. Two parties should be plenty for any reasonable political system, but not just any two parties will do. We certainly don’t need both a Democratic and a Democratic Lite party.

        The Republican Party was formed in 1854 specifically to oppose the evil and disgusting policies of the Democrats. That’s still its job today. But lately it hasn’t been doing that job very well. Some candidates and voters are trying to correct that.

          Voyager in reply to tom swift. | June 28, 2014 at 12:59 am

          If the Republicans can’t effectively oppose the progressives, then someone else will.

          We’ve rejected going third party for now, but if the Republican leadership keeps trying to drive conservatives out of the tent, we’re going to have to go somewhere.

    Valerie in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House through a series of races where the Democratic candidates ran to the right of the Republicans. Then, she told the Blue Dog Democrats to sit down and shut up. It’s ok to recognize that type of campaign, and abstract the lesson.

    That said, I think the type of conservatism matters. Fiscal conservatism sells. Social conservatism much less so, especially if it can be framed as injecting the state into private family decisions. This last is ironic, because Obamacare does exactly that.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Valerie. | June 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

      The state is in private family decisions, just not on the side of Conservatives. The state, via the school, tells our children they can get contraceptives and abortions without our consent. The state teaches our children how to have anal sex, again via the school and under the guise of tolerance. The state, via the courts, penalizes us if we abide by our faith and reject the homosexual lifestyle; thus, we are called bigots and homophobes with the atate’s consent when we are trying to live out our faith.

      Rejecting social conservatism basically says we have no values besides financial ones, we have no principles besides what’s in our pockets. Thus, it is a rejection of the tenets of our faith and our God.

      Quite frankly, to anybody who would pitch me a fiscal but not social conservatism argument, I would plainly say bugger off, get the behind me, Satan!

        tom swift in reply to Juba Doobai!. | June 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Rejecting social conservatism basically says we have no values

        Not so. We can have values, without insisting that we need a government to tell us what those values should be. That’s a job for philosophy or religion – take your pick – but not government.

          Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | June 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

          Ergo, we need to repeal laws against theft, murder, etc.

          You really need to try using that brain you have.

          Juba Doobai! in reply to tom swift. | June 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm

          Essentially you are saying that conservative social values should be like expressions of faith, entirely personal and not for the public square. We are the governmen—under the Constitution, our representatives govern with our consent, theoretically these days. Therfore, we have every right to expect government policy to express our values. It is not government telling us what. It is we who are telling our government lackeys what, or we should be. If we don’t engage th country with social conservatism, we are yielding the country to the corrupt and the perverse; we are leaving the homosexuals, the abortion-lovers, and every perverse quack coming down the pike to cram their social values down our throats.

          Going with fiscal conservatism and downplaying social conservatism is a half-picked duck. If you’re going to pluck the danged duck, pluck it clean.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | June 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

          Going with fiscal conservatism and downplaying social conservatism is a half-picked duck.

          That’s the extreme view. Some consider it a fallacy. The two concepts are not a single monolith. In fact they haven’t anything at all to do with each other, except that both are considered to be in some way conservative.

          The political outlook for the social conservatives is much dimmer than it is for the fiscal conservatives. For that reason, the social conservatives – and the progressives – continue to insist that there is a strong link between the two.

          Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | June 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

          “The political outlook for the social conservatives is much dimmer than it is for the fiscal conservatives.”

          That kind of sweeping, unsupported…and WRONG…statement has to be challenged.

          First, you are very likely using your own, unthinking, WRONG definition of “social issues”.

          Gun control is a social issue. Redistribution of income is a social issue. The minimum wage is a social issue. Immigration is a social issue. Education choice is a social issue. Environmental policy is a social issue. Drug policy is a social issue.

          Even foreign policy is NOT a fiscal issue so much as a social issue.

        Phillep Harding in reply to Juba Doobai!. | June 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        ” bugger off, get the behind me, Satan!”

        (cough, cough)

        (grin)

    Ahem, that is Professor Jacobson.

    Ragspierre in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Why would you want Deemocrats defeated? You seem well aligned with them.

    And, as to a third party, why don’t you just gut it up and go Deemocrat?

    Did you miss the part where Mississippi GOP voters preferred the reform candidate over the old bacon meister…???

    tphillip in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    How about you tell us how you’re working to defeat Democrats in the Central New York area? Myself being a resident of Cortland County I’d love to hear what groups you’re working with, what candidates you support, and how you’re getting the message out to the voters.

    Please be specific though. I’ve been in the area almost 30 years and I sometimes confuse places like Mexico, Clay, Pulaski, Dryden, Eastwood, Spencer, and the other towns and cities in the area.

    Unless of course you’re just FOS and trolling. In that case FOAD you little Moby.

      Hi tphillip- who are you asking?

      If it’s me, in 2009 I was Otis Jenning’s office manager in his Conservative Line bid for Mayor of Syracuse. Had Otis not been undercut by establishment Republicans by allowing Kimatian to primary AFTER he agreed that he wouldn’t, Jennings would have won the General election and there would have been a Conservative Black Mayor of a major upstate NY city. Mayor Miner would not have won in a two-party race due to different demographic voting patterns and her damaging 6-party primary.

      While I do not live in the area anymore, I still consult with the rest of my family on political best practices, several of whom are politically active in the “ground game” getting conservative candidates to sit on things like school boards, local business and planning committees, and advisory boards.

PersonFromPorlock | June 25, 2014 at 9:17 am

If the Democrats aren’t running anyone in November, it would seem like Tenney has a pretty good chance as an independent or maybe Conservative candidate.

    Hanna already has the independent line if I recall. A conservative line challenge would be enough to embarrass Hanna, but there are still too many sheeple who will simply pull the R lever ( or. Utton, as the case may be) without thinking about it, and the Democrat voters will then have a vested interest in turnout to protect a pro-gay-marriage, pro-amnesty congressman, which might have down-ticket consequences.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to PersonFromPorlock. | June 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I would like to see her try. That’s what Murograbski from Alaska did, and we need to take the nasty book from the GOPE. Tenney should run and not give up, the same way that that young guy is continuing to fight Cochran. Give ‘me hell!

So once more the people lost and the political class won. But one area I disagree about is re “This was a horribly missed opportunity.”

This was a purposely missed opportunity.

Tenney said her campaign couldn’t fight the saturation of ads by Hahnna. She said “A lot of people spent a lot of time trying to get out there and get the message out and we were just getting inundated with ads—100 ads a day—three or four flyers a day. Robocalls, radio ads. It was relentless. We couldn’t counter that.”

Let’s size this up. Tenney spent $150,000 and Hannah spent $2 million – that we know of. and Hannah won by a miniscule 1600 votes.

This is a Planet X issue, or it is an issue of the dog that didn’t bark. That is, this was a turnout issue – for us. In a lackluster election 10,000 more voters would have turned the election for us. And this was a low turnout election.

How could have Tenney gotten a bigger turnout. We will likely, but not necessarily – lose when we complete with the political class and how they run their elections. If for no other reason this is because they will always outspend us. And we have the least favorable press.

Tenney should have devoted a large part of her campaign knocking on the door of every Republican in the district and talk to them.

This is what Christine O’Donnell did in her closed Maryland Republican primary and she won AND turnout was DOUBLE the usual Republican Primary turnout.

In the election she played it as a professional candidate and got trounced. She should have built up her supporters and kept knocking on doors. She might have won.

It is clear by now that grass roots Tea Party organization and participation is an existential threat to all establishment politicians. And newspapers.

    davod in reply to Guy. | June 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    “This is what Christine O’Donnell did in her closed Maryland Republican primary and she won AND turnout was DOUBLE the usual Republican Primary turnout.”

    Delaware not Maryland

    I think you’re probably right theoretically, but there’s a geography problem with the plan. CNY is not Delaware. The populace, especially republican voters, are far more spread out (we live in farm country). Knocking on every door actually gets more expensive due to the amount of fuel you have to burn to get from house to house in the rural areas. You can get around it somewhat by doing public events and business visits, but those only go so far.

Captain Keogh | June 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

I used to be a Tea Party member and still agree with the original concepts of fiscal responsibility and small government but the chuckleheads who have been their self appointed leaders have gone off the rails with their social conservative tone deaf agendas have continuously hurt the party with their idiotic, tone deaf candidates who refuse to recognize that in order to get to Point C, you have to get first to Point A, and then to Point B and that means doing whatever you have to in order to win elections. The Tea Party types have viciously attacked solid Republicans such as Mitch McConnell, Mike Enzi and Eric Cantor and have caused us to lose seats in the past that we should never have lost. One of the differences between us and the Democrats is that the Democrats would rather win ugly then lose nobly. We had better learn that lesson and stop taking our marching orders from the likes of our Ayatollahs i.e. Limbaugh, Ingraham, and Levin with their fatwas and love of Stalinist style purges. If Senator Thad Cochran successfully reached out to Black voters then bravo for him, it used to be called bipartisanship and smart politics – which all effective legislation requires. God forbid of course that we actually try to expand the Republican Party (hence the hatred for Rand Paul). Cochran at least was committed to winning.

    God help you if you think McConnell, Enzi, and Cantor are what the Republican Party needs. They may be “solid” but they are not what the GOP was and should be today. They are “solidly” entrenched denizens of the swamp that is D.C..

    Ragspierre in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    “If Senator Thad Cochran successfully reached out to Black voters then bravo for him…”

    You mean with a lie, which is what was used, you moron?

    Phillep Harding in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Every time I read someone’s claim that they used to be conservative (that’s what the TEA Party is), my “Skepto-meter” pegs.

    Especially if they sound like a Democrat or an Establishment Republican.

I’m encouraged despite the loss. Far from being dead, the conservative challenge to the entrenched establishment is building momentum. And it will break through. Marathon, not a sprint.

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