Friday, March 23, 2007

Pittsford Punditry

Like Borat in rut for Pamela Anderson, Monroe County Democrats are obsessed with Pittsford.


Frank Sinatra understood part of it: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere ...". Which might be true for County Democrats if they could win control in Pittsford.

Then there's the point that Pittsford is the kind of place that Democrats in one sense can't stand. An inconvenient truth of how a community succeeds when Republicans have run it for a really long time. Like other Republican strongholds, it's a place people want to move to. Not away from.

Which brings us to this week's Pittsford Village election.

Judging from their websites in the last few weeks, local Democratic activists were working themselves up over this one. So here at Mustard Street we kept an eye on things to see what all the fuss was about. And did a little research in the meantime.

Two years ago, convinced they'd win the Pittsford seat in the county legislature, Democrats ran a limousine liberal dabbler so clueless he couldn't get the Democrat and Chronicle endorsement (practically a birthright for Democrats in competitive races). Republicans kept a straight face in public, no doubt privately celebrating the diversion of Democratic resources to a race Democrats couldn't win. But the Dem candidate at least campaigned, and had enough sense to suppress his party affiliation and try to seem Republican-like. Between that and a fully funded campaign, Democrats reduced the usual Republican landslide of 60 - 70% to a more conventional landslide of about 55%. Reports are that they were shocked by the loss. No doubt they'll try again with a more realistic candidate.

Fast-forward to this week's election.

A race for 3 seats, with a Democratic campaign run straight from County party headquarters. And another one where word on the street has it that they convinced themselves they'd sweep the board.

So what happened?

  • In a Town carried heavily by Eric Massa, Clinton and Spitzer 4 months ago;
  • In the most Democratic-leaning part of the Town, the Pittsford Village;
  • In the most anti-Republican political environment in decades, courtesy of W;
  • With a fully-funded, professionally-run campaign;
  • With a hard core of motivated, on-call manpower, from a local Nutroots hate group;
  • With a slate of 3 women, running against a slate of 3 men --
A Democrat squeaked through on 1 seat, by 11 votes.

A win is a win. This one even counts as historic. Apparently it's been a hundred years since a Democrat was a trustee in Pittsford Village. (Again -- why is it a place where so many people want to live . . . ).

But how much more in alignment do the planets have to be, or can they be, for Democrats to do better than this in Pittsford?

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