Thursday, September 16, 2010

Carl Paladino Was the Real Story On Primary Night

As the world focused on Delaware and Christine O'Donnell a far more significant outcome was taking shape in New York. Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman was trouncing party favorite Rick Lazio in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary.  62%-38% even though he never ran ahead in polling.

Won't he just lose to Andrew Cuomo in the general election though? Likely. But the alternative, Mr. Lazio was to be the sacrificial lamb offered up to Cuomo. He would've just waited for the guillotine to fall on election day. Lazio, quite frankly was just going to take one for the team. They needed somebody to run and he was the victim

Mr. Paladino has plenty of baggage, but a lot of money to self finance. Moreover he has the energy, and the willingness to take the fight to Cuomo. In short, Andrew Cuomo will actually have to work to get elected. That's critical. Until recently I had been skeptical of Republican chances of taking back the House of Representatives. This, in part because I felt many house races in New York would suffer from "ho hum" candidates at the top of the ticket that would suppress interest and turnout. 

By making Mr. Cuomo earn the Governor's Mansion, Mr Paladino will rev interest and turnout. Enough to get him elected against the odds? Unlikely, but energized enough to get conservative voters motivated to get out to the polls in several swing or R+ seats, currently held by Democrats. Mr Paladino isn't playing to lose, but even if he does, Republicans are likely to be the beneficiaries in key House races. He's not taking it for the team, but on balance the team will benefit.

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