Albany Dems’ review panel withholds backing in Senate race
April 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist
The executive committee of the Albany County Democratic Committee has been called to meet Thursday night, just five days after the party’s candidate review panel declined to endorse seven-term-incumbent state Sen. Neil Breslin.
The review panel, in fact, declined to endorse any of the three Democrats — Breslin, Luke Martland and Tim Carney — who interviewed with it, passing the decision instead onto the executive committee, according to two people with knowledge of the committee’s action.
There’s about 500 words in Carleo-Evangelist's story, with plenty of quotes from Albany County Committeemen telling us not to read too much into it. I’ll provide some more choice quotations below the fold, but I rather like the way the Times Union journalist closes his post:
Cue rampant speculation.
Cross-posted on The Albany Project
After the profound revelation that Neil Breslin isn’t getting the auto-endorsement, the story immediately goes on to report that we shouldn’t really be bothered:
Review Committee Chairman Shawn Morse, who is also one of two deputy majority leaders in the Albany County Legislature, later confirmed the events but called it “not uncommon” and urged people not read too much into it.
“Our recommendation was to make no recommendation at this point, which really was, I think, the fairest way to do it,” said Morse, adding that the committee wanted to ensure that the executive committee had all the information it needs to make its choice.
Apparently, this story isn’t so much about the Breslin family’s falling support in Albany County, but more about the shiny new leadership in the County Democratic Party.
Morse said the committee’s move is evidence of the new openness that party Chairman Dan McCoy has tried to usher in, trying to dispel for good notions of closed doors and backroom deals.
Well I’d like to know where
You got the notion!
Later on in the story, it seems the County Party is more interested in just dispelling the notions as opposed to the closed doors and backroom deals themselves. Why would I think that?
One member of the executive committee assured Local Politics that Breslin “has the votes” to win the support of the executive committee.
So what are Albany County Democrats to think? Is all of this merely posturing to keep up appearances of an open process, or is it really, really about finding the right candidate to represent Albany County in the New York State Senate? Does this have anything to do with the incredible anti-incumbent sentiment statewide and does anybody have any idea what’s really going to happen when the executive committee meets Thursday?
And while he acknowledged that the topic of this year’s strong anti-incumbent sentiment did come up at the meeting, Morse also cautioned that the non-vote was not necessarily a referendum on Breslin, who he called a longtime, loyal Democrat.
Matthew Clyne, Democratic chairman in Breslin’s hometown of Bethlehem, declined to discuss the matter Monday. Breslin, whose family carries heavy political clout in Albany County (think County Executive Michael Breslin and Judge Thomas Breslin), said he was unaware of the committee’s action — or lack thereof.
Morse said about 17 of the committee’s 35 members were present. And at least two observers questioned whether traditional Breslin opponents were able to sway the half of the review committee that did attend.
McCoy could not immediately be reached for comment today.
Emphasis mine –SP
The big question I asked myself after the Luke Martland campaign brought this to my attention in a short press release today was: Is this a big story or a non-story?
It didn’t take me long to get an answer. When considering the incredible power Neil Breslin has on account of his name alone, this is a big story. If Breslin was indeed as reliable and loyal a liberal Democrat as the committeemen (and some TAPpers) might suggest, then his endorsement should have been locked up like it was the last time Breslin faced two primary challengers two years ago. Hell, back then, the committee actions were barely reported on the subject because it was such a given.
Nowadays, not so much. And just before that great line, “Cue rampant speculation,” Jordan Carleo-Evangelist gives us the real reason why this is a big story: it could very well get bigger.
Even if that’s the case, the endorsement of the party could come down to a full-scale, weighted floor vote of the 600-plus committee members at the party’s May 20 spring meeting — a la the 2008 vote to support Phil Steck in the 21st Congressional District.
In case you don’t remember that one, please be reassured that the political science term for that vote was “a doozy.” The difference here is that in NY-21 2008, Albany County was merely the largest county in a multi-county Congressional district in a open race without an incumbent.
This time around, Albany County is the district and we’re talking about a 14-year incumbent who’s brother has been the County Executive for fifteen years and who’s other brother has been the County Judge even longer. Oh, and we’re talking about the State Senator who had the gavel in his hands on the day of the 2009 Senate Coup.
My speculation is this: If the 2008 primary results might have revealed a chink in Senator Breslin’s plated armor...
...then today’s news has revealed that perhaps he’s been wearing studded leather all along.
Stay tuned as this race begins to take shape in the coming weeks and months. I’ve a hunch it may become one of the more interesting in New York State this year.