While the title of the article is humorous, the reality for residents in the Southern Tier that is contained in the NY-22 is that Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is on his way. For at least the next 6 months, Assemblyman Brindisi will spend his time in only 3 locations – Washington DC, Albany, and the Southern Tier (mostly Binghamton/Broome County). Thus the theme of invasion is apt.
Why should residents care? Who is the Assemblyman from the 119th Assembly District? Why would he bother to spend significant time away from his constituents? The answer to all of that is that Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is the hand-chosen pick of Washington elite Democrats to run for the New York 22nd Congressional District seat in 2018. Yes, that race has started already.
For the blindly partisan, on the Democrat side, the fact that Sen. Charles Schumer has publicly stepped forward to lend his star power to this candidate further cements the straight down the line Democrat vote. For Republicans that same endorsement guarantees the same but opposite effect. But for those who are neutral, Independent, Independence (not the same as Independent), Conservative or Libertarian, more needs to be said. In fact, given yet another Democrat in the wings, and a rumor of two 3rd Party candidates mulling about, this race will get crowed quickly.
In our more than a decade of interviews, articles, commentary, and live coverage of politics, we have spoken to Assemblyman Brindisi several times. Publicly, on talk radio programs (WUTQ, WNBF) predominately Assemblyman Brindisi has been brusk and evasive in most conversations. In regard to responses to email inquiries on issues, Bills, and projects that Assemblyman Brindisi has spearheaded he has been reluctant to respond – when he has responded. We mention this as we want full context for readers. We continue to offer Assemblyman Brindisi the opportunity to have an unedited verbatim interview with us (as we provide to all interviewees), as we have for more than 3 years now, the offer remains open.
With that said, what is the importance of Assemblyman Brindisi being in the Southern Tier? Why would (and we believe will) he abandon his constituents to campaign where he is unknown? Because if the race were held today, Assemblyman Brindisi would lose in a landslide. He is unknown south of upper Chenango County and west of Madison County. His fund raising capabilities are severely limited to Utica and Washington DC. It was these limitations, among others, that may have led to his flip flop on entering the 2016 NY-22 race.
“If Assemblyman Brindisi cannot make a clear decision, or even consistently consider a decision, what confidence can voters have about how he will act on critical issues – like Iran, ISIS, and jobs – if he were to be in Congress?”
What can be said clearly about Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is that he is, among New York Democrat elites, a frontrunner for the Democrat congressional ticket. He is part of the Assembly, in a State controlled by Democrats for 60 years, with a District that is anchored by a large Democrat voting pool. According to traditional NY politics, the only other challenger on the Democrat ticket should be Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who shares his same location based benefits but has no interest in the elected office. Yet there are other declared and undeclared Democrats in the race which complicates and clouds the credibility of Assemblyman Brindisi as the best Democrat choice. But the NY-22 is a Republican stronghold, by 6 points depending on the source, and thus a problem as well.
While part of the answer is a parade, and there will be a parade, of notable New York politicians and politicos – Sen. Schumer is only the first and soon to be followed by Sen. Gillibrand, Gov. Cuomo, and Mayor De Blasio in short order – it is not enough. Money will be even more important in this race than in 2016. Democrats spent nearly 10-1 in that race, and lost hard. Initial estimates are that spending in this race will demand roughly $3-$4 million not including self-interested outside PAC’s like Grow the Economy. Considering that Congresswoman Claudia Tenney is now an incumbent (which conveys an automatic 85% chance of re-election historically for any member of Congress), with access to a larger donation base and a more full commitment from establishment Republicans, total targets of spending could top $6-$7 million or more (mandating even more out of State funding than Legislator Kim Myers received in her failed election bid).
Still that is not enough to win this race. Even in a mid-term race. The lesson of abandoning constituents in 2014, of running marginally qualified candidates in 2012 and 2016, ring loud in NY Democrat circles. 2012 taught that a Democrat candidate must have a record with something to point at. 2014 proved that silence exacerbated all other problems. 2016 demonstrated that relying solely on money and gender is an act of failure.
Assemblyman Brindisi seems to answer these problems. He is relatively young, reasonably liked in his Assembly District, has several Bills that Democrats will like and several proposed (but not passed or defended) that Republicans won’t hate. He looks good on camera, is decently spoken, and doesn’t get terribly flustered when questioned. But that’s where it stops.
The question is who is Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and where does he stand? That’s hard to say. He has no defined stance separate of the Party line. Which is why he has no presence in the Southern Tier. Thus, we return to the title of this article, an onslaught of appearances, dead-end Bills in the Assembly, and empty accusations without regard to reality. That last point is the current theme of Citizen Action and NY Dem elites – knowing full well that credible threats on the life of Congresswoman Tenney exist, before and after the attempted assassination of Republicans on the baseball field. The attack is that Congresswoman Tenney is avoiding the public rather than following security directives for the safety of the public and herself.
“Rep. Ron DeSantis said earlier on Wednesday that as he was leaving the field before the shooting occurred, “a guy … walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there.”
So like the British, the question will be if Assemblyman Brindisi will invade the Southern Tier by media or in person, or most likely both? Like the Beatles, there will be media fanfare and tons of coverage. Yet at the end of the day, no matter the invasion strategy, the dead on arrival Bills in the Assembly, the parade of Democrats, or the millions of dollars spent, voters that are not blindly partisan will find the same questions as the ones presented on April 9, 2016:
“It appears that while Assemblyman Brindisi, State Senator Griffo, and Rep. Hanna were very public in gaining attention on promised benefits to New York State in creating a Drone Testing Site at Griffiss International Airport, they have since preferred to not speak about the subject after more than $256 million in taxpayer dollars have been spent on the project in 2 1/2 years. It appears that a total of 11 jobs, have or will be at some point, created since August of 2015…
Which brings us to the question of accountability. Are elected officials expected or required to be accountable for the promised jobs and taxpayer dollars spent on programs they advocated for? Should politicians be absolved from following up on the progress of the projects they advocated for and spent taxpayer funds on? Is it reasonable for elected politicians to gamble taxpayer money on projected hopes in amounts in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars, and then those same politicians evade the apparent failures of that gamble?”