In our pre-Labor Day update to last week's installment, the State of the Race moves from previewing a defining debate between incumbent Senator Neil Breslin and his Democratic primary challenger Luke Martland, to rounding up how the arguments played out at the event and in the media.
Needless to say, the debate itself has garnered plenty of coverage. So has the recent meetins of the candidates with various editorial boards around Albany County. The candidates have moved from establishing a narrative in the media to having to build upon it, re-shape it based on how their opponents have shaken things up.
In that sense, Senator Breslin this past week has finally summoned his deep political power in the district and has been campaigning more actively. This lead Martland to continue sharpening his criticisms of his opponent, and evena few other sources echoed these concerns. And the race continues to attract deeper local and more prominent statewide attention.
Below the fold is your pre-Labor Day wrap up on anything and everything happening in this fast-developing race.
(Cross-Posted on The Albany Project)
"Take Albany Back"
This week, Luke Martland continued bothering Breslin, as Capital Tonight put it, by responding to Breslin's first television advertisement (available in last week's update) by releasing a commercial of his own. Not surprisingly, it features footage of what has become the most defining news story of the campaign thus far:
Not a bad first start, if you ask me. Neither was Martland's performance at his stop at the Times Union editorial board. Breslin went as well, and both candidates sounded off on a couple of statewide issues. At least, these are what the TU chose to highlight. In Martland's case, he shared his view that opposition to the proposed mosque down The City is equivalent to outright bigotry. The article reveals that Martland was actually at Ground Zero on 9/11, and did his part to save lives that day. It also goes on to note that this isn't an area where the two candidates disagree, and offers Breslin's stance on the issue as well as Martland's personal opinions.
On a more relevant political note, Martland took some time in an interview with the Troy Record where he admitted that he has a tough fight ahead if he wants to defeat Breslin. It's a candid article released just before the debate that sums up the political realities and the strategies of the candidates quite well for those just joining us.
At the end of the week, and at the start of the post-Labor Day home stretch, Luke Martland's ground work is complete. He's now officially in the public eye, even if he is a newcomer, and the next weeks' news will be even more pivotal to his chances of success.
"For All The Right Reasons."
If Luke Martland came out swinging in the last couple of weeks, then this was the first week of Senator Breslin's full-blown attempts to save his seat. Up until the last update, the Senator would mostly brush aside his opponents persistent attacks. But after the big news report, his re-election campaign went into high speed.
This week, one of the more interesting stories is from the blog of Libby Post, former Empire State Pride Agenda coordinator. In this post, she reveals that she will be supporting Breslin despite the fact that he is being opposed by Martland, who is openly gay. The post is very thoughtful and again reveals one of the tighest and toughest splits in the Albany County electorate in this race. Breslin certainly has supported LGTB rights in the past, but this post is not without it's reply from Martland himself on why continuing to support Breslin in this regard may be flawed given the alternative Martland himself represents.
In official news, Breslin's performance in the newspaper room resulted in a little sparring match between the Senator and the Governor's office. Breslin was quoted as saying Paterson is total failure, goin so far as to say he had "no moral compass." He also used the opportunity to continue to rail on his colleagues Sens. Diaz and Espada, something he's been doing more frequently since Martland began to criticize Breslin for voting to give Espada that Majority Leader's post.
The comments drew a response from Gov. Paterson's office via an aide which turned things around rather nicely:
Gov. David Paterson’s top spokesman Morgan Hook said the governor is supportive of Sen. Neil Breslin but “sensitive” to stresses that may have led Breslin to criticize him.
“That being said, this is an election year, and the governor certainly appreciates that many elected officials who have never faced a primary before are fearful and anxious about their upcoming elections,” Hook continued, “and he is certainly sensitive to those concerns."
I'm sorry...I thought this tongue-in-cheek response was actually the best political comment to come out of the lame duck Governor's office in a while. Like Martland's comments on the mosque, I don't see much coming out of this story beyond some political junkies getting their jollies. The big stories that people are going to be talking about over the barbeques this Labor Day weekend will probably continue to be guided by the extensive coverage of the recent debate and the continued spotlight on Breslin's negative press from last month's prior-approval bill mix-up.
I think I got all those covered for this week. Thanks for voting, thanks for reading, and stay tuned...the next State of the Race update is coming soon.