Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SD-46: State of the Race 8/24 to 8/30

Media Coverage of Dark Horse Challenge Intensifies

Breslin Accepts Challenge To Debate Martland

In the race between 14-year incumbent Assitant Majority Leader Neil Breslin and his primary challengerLuke Martland news has been constant and consistent in the past week. So much so that infrequent as-it-happens or after-the-fact updates are implausible.

So begins the SD-46 State of the Race 2010 series, much in the same manner I ran the series for the 2008 Democratic Primary for Congress in NY-21 two years ago. While this one isn't quite that big, and no political story around this area is this year, Albany County's primary for State Senator has taken center stage along other major local races.

This entry will wrap up the last seven days activity on the campaign trail, and there was quite a bit of movement on both ends. To start, I no longer have to link to Sen. Breslin's official State Senate page; his name in blue now takes you to the campaign website that finally appeared this past week. The biggest news for me is that now both candidates finally have my interview questions, and their answers will be forthcoming.

But the biggest news for the voters is the big debate about to happen between the two candidates. Shortly after Martland challenged Breslin to return insurance-industry related donations, Martland then took his moment in the spotlight to challenge Breslin to a debate too.

It's happening tomorrow. So that's the setup for what's happened up until now, and a little bit of what to expect to come.

For what transpired in between, click below the fold for the state of the race...

(Cross-posted on The Albany Project)

Luke Martland


"Take Albany Back"

As mentioned, it was a little less than a weeks' time before Sen. Breslin accepted his opponent's challenge to debate publicly. The League of Women Voter's will be holding that debate tomorrow, and coverage will surely follow and likely define next weeks' news cycle.

This week was still dominated by various fallout from this story in which the incumbent was featured in a prominent television news broadcast that revealed he misunderstood the Prior-Approval Insurance bill he's been touting for months. This was a gift as good as gold to the Martland campaign, and once in the spotlight, he made continued use of the media to make his calls, both for Breslin to return campaign frunds from insurance companies and to debate him publicly.

He did this by traditional media outlets and some newer means. Over on the Martland Campaign's YouTube Channel, you can find his recorded versions of his two telephone town hall meetings he's conducted already. This was used by Congressional primary candidate Tracey Brooks two years ago, and it's notable that she ended up with the most votes in Albany County, if only by a slim margin. It may indicate that this method of outreach may work well in this area, and Martland is making use of it.

He's also using YouTube to archive two major radio interviews. First with the ultimate inside scoop guy, Fred Dicker, on his morning radio show last week:

And also with rising local media luminary Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Press Room:

Naturally, both interviews cover much of the same material that will likely be covered in my own forthcoming interview with the candidate. But they serve as good introductions with little fanfare over the public airwaves. If anything, this Martland's "name recognition week," and yes, while no polls have been conducted, I'd be surprised if all this media attention both on the newcomer bucking the system and the old-timer messing things up hasn't given Martland the m-word in all this.

That was this week in Luke Martland's campaign. Stay tune for next time...this week, Martland will be meeting with editorial boards from several major local publications.

Neil Breslin


"For All The Right Reasons."

Before the media circus, I was searching daily for a new Neil Breslin for State Senate website. It's no surprise that it's up now and that Team Breslin is in full campaign mode. For the longest time, that domain would take you to his old 2008 page, which simply said "Thanks for voting!"

But a little negative media attention for you coupled with a positively exponential increase in attention for your opponent with less than a month to go will kick things into high gear. The Breslin campaign has already started television advertising, and is also posting stuff to YouTube:

And so the race moves into Air Wars mode. Breslin has quite the cash advantage on his opponent, and for that reason alone I'd guess he is unlikely to meet Martland's challenge to return campaign funds from donors with insurance industry ties. But will Martland have enough to compete in the expensive realm of broadcasting and even cable?

It remains to be seen. But the campaign funds issue was synopsised, complete with Breslin's response to Martland's challenge, printed in this Friday's Inside Politics column of the Times Union:

The Democratic primary for Albany County's state Senate seat heated up this week when challenger Luke Martland called on seven- term incumbent Neil Breslin, the chairman of the Senate's Insurance Committee, to give back tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the insurance industry.

Breslin brushed aside Martland's claims of a conflict of interest, saying his legislative record makes it clear he's no friend of Big Insurance.

Both men say they favor publicly financed elections. But Breslin said legislation to that effect would never pass now as the state's economy continues to founder and that he is forced to operate within the system that currently exists.

Besides, it's not just about him, he said. "I'm on a team," Breslin said, referring to the Senate's Democratic conference, which is trying desperately to hold onto its three-seat majority after a tumultuous two years in power.

Breslin, who is assistant majority leader, said some of the money he raises can help defend Democratic seats elsewhere.

As of earlier this month, Breslin had a robust $420,619.73 banked. That's roughly 10 times more than Martland's $42,727.76.

Emphasis mine - SP

Statements that I believe to be poor excuses have been italicized, simple facts bolded.

The fact is that this race has heated up to temperatures that conventional-wisdome and, for lack of a better word, political-groupies would have predicted a few months ago. Yet Breslin's significant cash advantage, while not quite as exponential as last time, is much much larger than Martlands.

The poor excuses? I've covered that before. Like this past week, it's history now, and all opinions are just rough drafts in response to changing situations anyway.

The Primary is Tuesday, September 14th. Thanks for voting, thanks for reading, and stay tuned...the next State of the Race update is coming soon.

1 comment:

Arthur Welser said...

I want a State Senator and Assemblyman that represents me, not his clients, firm, himself in a profession that is heavily supported by NYS funds. Someone, with a minimal conflict of interest with his duties in the NYS Senate or Assembly.
Neil Breslin wasn't qualified 14 years ago to be a Senator as he didn't pledge not to practice NYS law while in office
I don't care how much in Breslin's War Chest, he's not getting my vote!