NY20 Campaign

Promoted from Diaries – Soren Dayton.

As Jim Tedisco’s Finance Chairman I was in close proximity to some of the decisions that were made in the NY20 campaign.

I’ve known Jim for well over a decade and was very pleased when he asked me to help him raise money for his campaign. I assumed, and was correct; that it would be relatively easy to get donors to give to his campaign since everyone who knew him assumed he would win. I certainly did. We raised over $1.5 million in eight weeks (more details on that in a later post). The Republican candidate in the 2008 race had only brought in $1.1 million in 16 months.

Here was a well-liked state legislator, who became the Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly. He earned some national attention in successfully challenging Governor Spitzer when he tried to float giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens, which had garnered him support as a strong leader. We all thought: how could he possibly lose to someone who hadn’t done a thing in the district and who had zero name recognition?

Because I consider him a friend, and have been friends with some members of his campaign staff, I don’t want to delve into who did what and point fingers. What I do want to write about, briefly, is my opinion of the two main reasons why he was defeated.

1) He should have come out against the Stimulus bill on day one. I had a few discussions with the campaign “leaders” to find out why he didn’t do this. The answer seemed to revolve around the polling that showed a 48-48 split. As the 20th CD has been trending more and more Democrat every year since Bush won in 2004 I understood their thinking. But personally, as a conservative, I wanted him to come out against it, and plainly say that the $787 billion wasn’t really a Stimulus bill, it was a big spending bill. WHICH IS WHAT IT IS.

2) He should have had his TV ads peppered with at least 50% positive ads. Jim had a great story to tell, as was shown by the overwhelming victory he had in Saratoga County (almost 1/3 of the district) where everyone knew him.

Had he come out strongly against the Stimulus he would have been carrying the torch for most republicans and every conservative thinker in the country. It would have been the same message that propelled thousands of people to the Tea Parties. It would have defined him as the fighter that I have known him to be.

Once he took that middle road, taking no position, his opponent was able to define him as a “typical politician.”  Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to ignore the campaign professionals and act on principle.

It’s sad for many of us in the 20th district and sad for Jim who put his life into the race 100%.

I still believe that conservative ideas will win out in America, over time, because they are the best ideas to elevate the whole country.

(This item has been cross posted on TheNextRight)