The 2009 election of a Democrat from a district that has been reliably Republican since before the Civil War, and which turned a rather obscure former Mayor and current State Assemblywoman into a verb like Dr. Spooner, Capt. Boycott, and Judge Lynch, was in my considered opinion a signal that moderate Republicans (who make up the bulk of the district’s voting population) will not support extremist conservatives, and will vote for a moderate Democrat instead when faced with that choice.
In terms of behavior, Northern New York has always seemed to me more like the rural/small-city Midwest or the Mountain States than like most of the rest of New York State. It’s not doctrinaire anything, inclined to welcome a little of most political ideologies’ raisons d’etre, but mindful that a little goes a long way. They’ll favor land use planning and zoning, even of rural areas, but object strenuously to what they see as intrusive regulations. Theyll support welfare programs and even the public option on health care, and object strongly to government operation of most businesses. And so on; those two examples should clarify my point.
Conventional wisdom says that Congressman Owens should be an easy target for the GOP in November – he squeaked in in a rock-solid Republoican district under circumstances unlikely ever to repear themselves. But five months from the election, the county GOP leaders cannot seem to agree on a candidate to oppose him, according to recent reports in my hometown newspaper.
Anyone have any insights (as opposed to wishful thinking based on your partisan stance) on what’s apt to happen here?
I grew up in this area. Northern New Yorkers tend to feel like forgotten people both in state and national politics. Everything is about downstate New York.
Hoffman probably got hurt by the endorsements he got from nationally known conservatives like Palin and Pawlenty. It made Hoffman look like he was “their guy” rather than “our guy” - like he was going to Congress to represent the conservatives rather than represent northern NY.
Owens and Scozzafava were able to portray themselves as people who would put the interests of northern NY ahead of any national ideological movement.
Culturally, Northern New York is the western end of rural New England. Think of it as West Vermont. They’re conservative but it’s the “see to your own business” type of conservative. More “the government shouldn’t be telling people how to live” rather than “the government needs to preserve the sanctity of the American family”.
If you want to see a upstater get pissed off, ask him about the Adirondack Park Agency. It’s a state agency that regulates land use in northern New York. And we hate it. We’re not against conservation and zoning but we don’t like downstate people who don’t live here telling us how to live.
Other than that, there isn’t much conversation around here, yet, except that Owens has always been on “probation”, and isn’t well liked. If the Republican establishment screws up again, he may squeak thru, again. If not, he’s probably gone. Beyond that, we’ll have to see what the R party establishment does, to say.
It depends. APA-modeled laws based on what Downstaters want to see protected, or cookie-cutter suburban laws intended to make their small towns ar the edge of urban sprawl over into just another suburb, they’ll fight.
Ones tailored to local administration, encouraging what locals want to see grow and protecting what locals want to see protected, they by and large support.
My cite: my 16.5 years (between 1980-98) experience working for a state agency functioning as enabler rather than regulator for land use laws in the western half of NY-23.
By the way, they initially hated the Uniform Fire Code, too, and for the same reasons – not because they opposed having a good fire code in place, but because the one they got was tailored for large cities and suburban and resort areas, and their input into it, and anticipated local difficulties in administering it, was all but folded into paper airplanes to amuse bored Assemblymen.
OK, I can really only speak about the rural Oswego county towns of Scriba (where I live), New Haven, Mexico, Richland, Orwell, and Boyleston (where I know people). Any kind of zoning laws are routinely destroyed. They never even come up for a vote. Someone proposes one in a town meeting, and they get themselves a new asshole reamed for suggesting it. That’s what’s happened every time I have ever seen any kind of zoning law proposal made in my area of NY-23. I have heard people say that similar things have happened in Jefferson and Lewis counties, but my “evidence” on those is just hearsay. Still, it sounds just like what I’ve seen here in my town, so I tend to believe it.