A few things to know about Campaign 2013:
• Just like the rest of us, Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo gets his best ideas in the shower.
And also like the rest of us, it’s tough to write down those ideas amid such liquid surroundings.
But Lorigo likes his newest idea so well that he didn’t need pen and paper. As Buffalo Republican Carl Paladino continues to explore running for governor again next year – this time on the Conservative line – Lorigo is also exploring a statewide radio campaign aimed at drawing voters to the Conservative line this year.
“It’s kind of a ‘test the waters’ thing,” the chairman said a few days ago. “The idea is to see what kind of response we get.”
As the Politics Column has reported, this is important stuff for the state’s major minor party. It pretty much owes its existence to the votes Paladino drew in 2010. Until the party finagled election law to name Paladino as its candidate, the Conservatives were stuck with Rick Lazio – who had fared miserably in the Republican primary.
So now the party is eyeing not only preserving its line on the ballot in 2014, but maybe supplanting the GOP as the state’s No. 2 political force. And that would prove a historic achievement.
None of this is solid yet. Paladino says he will back off if the GOP fills the tall order of finding a viable and well-funded candidate to face Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his $28 million campaign kitty.
But if the Conservatives determine Paladino tests positively by luring 2013 voters to their line, you might just hear them singing in the shower come the gubernatorial election.
• Speaking of Paladino, several of the 2010 Republican candidate for governor’s companies recently dropped $9,000 on Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner’s housekeeping account, according to campaign finance records. This occurs even after Zellner moved Democratic Headquarters out of Paladino’s Ellicott Square.
“I’m supportive of Jeremy’s efforts,” Paladino said last week. “When it comes to good government, it’s what we do. We support both parties’ central operations to do the right thing.”
• Neither Democrat Kevin Gaughan nor Republican Stefan Mychajliw are setting any campaign fundraising records as they compete for county comptroller this year. Board of Elections filings indicate Gaughan has a mere $10,000 on hand, while Mychajliw reports about $62,000 – better than his opponent but hardly enough to run an effective countywide effort.
Still, the Republican incumbent gained a major boost last week when Bill Paxon headlined a $500 per person event at Chef’s Restaurant. The former Newstead congressman, now a Washington lobbyist, has been known to help with local GOP congressional candidates over the years, but friends note the rarity of dipping into local races.
Now estimates say Mychajliw picked up at least $10,000 at Chef’s. And is it just coincidence that Gaughan challenged Paxon for Congress in 1990?
• Speaking of fundraising, Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez reports only $968 on hand, hardly enough to run any credible advertising effort against well-heeled incumbent Byron Brown. The challenger last week released an impressive campaign video titled “We’re in this Together” destined only for social media. You won’t see that one on TV with a $989 treasury.
• Still on fundraising, those same Board of Elections records show the much-ballyhooed WNY Progressive Caucus to be tapped out following a major effort against Zellner-endorsed candidates during the primary.
But given its experienced organizers and their connections to top contributors, the caucus could conceivably spring back to life at any time. Could the County Legislature candidacy of Rick Zydel, defeated by Pat Burke in the Democratic primary but still alive on Conservative and Working Families lines, prove tempting enough? Just wondering.