Thursday, November 10, 2011

Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 2

District 16 - Vinny Über Alles

In an episode of the original Star Trek, hot alien women steal Mr. Spock's brain.   While Kirk tracks it down for re-implantation, Dr. McCoy keeps the body going with a gadget wired into Spock's empty shell.   By hand-held remote, McCoy operates Spock like a radio-controlled plane.   Push the lever one way, Spock turns right; another, he lifts an eyebrow and says "Fascinating;" another, he makes that funky Vulcan peace sign with his hand.

Envision this and you understand the relationship between Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle and Morelle's paid staffer, County Legislator Vincent Esposito, with Joey playing the doctor and Vinny in the role of the temporarily inconvenienced Spock.   The relationship defines Esposito's role in the County Legislature.

When the enormously popular and distinguished Dr. Joe Carbone emerged as Esposito's Republican challenger, early in the game raising $45,000 at a single fundraiser, it was panic time in Morelleland.   Especially after Carbone won nomination by the Working Families Party, a union-run operation that normally backs Democrats.

For county legislative races, Democratic Headquarters had a new Prime Directive:   save Vinny.   The Chairman subordinated every other county legislative race to Esposito's campaign.   Over time the focus only increased, as polling on both sides showed Carbone pulling even with Esposito by the last week of the election.

Headquarters did at least 12 mailings for the campaign, heavy by local election standards and well exceeding the mailings for other competitive Democratic candidates for legislature.

Furious with the Working Families Party, Morelle declared war on it through Esposito's negative mailings against Carbone, chastizing the Republican candidate as a union lackey bought and paid for.   In reality, Dr. Carbone is a private-sector medical practitioner.   It's Joe Morelle and Vincent Esposito whose campaign money comes mostly from unions.

The disproportionate focus on District 16 took its toll on other Democratic candidates who had a realistic shot at winning.   In the final days if not earlier, Morelle hung out to dry both Moe Bickwheat in Mendon and incumbent Dick Beebe in Greece.   In the critical 72 hours before election day, both were left out of the Democrats' final campaign push.   We reported Tuesday about the Esposito literature blitz at 4:30 on the morning of election day.   Vinnie über alles.

It worked.   Esposito beat Dr. Carbone by 56%-44%.   At what cost to the Democratic Party's prospects in other districts we will explore as our analysis of Election 2011 continues.

If anyone affiliated with the campaigns of Moe Bickwheat or Dick Beebe wants to offer more detail about being stiffed at the end of the campaign, our e-mail is:


Anonymous said...

Morelle now has a second staffer joing the now greater minority caucus.

Morelle's playing of favorites has been common place during his poor tenure as County Chair.

Anonymous said...

More Democrats suffered because of Joe Morelle's "only-Vinny, all-the-time" campaign.

I know you covered his loss but Steve Eckel who represented a Democrat-dominated district lost due to a lack of effort (I diagree that the "hey, come look at my weener" issue is the sole reason.

Gates GOP knocked off the lone democrat on their town board. The candidate got no support from Dem HQ.

Greece GOP easily beat back an effort to win a town board seat in a tough district. No County HQ effort on the ground there.

Chili GOP stopped a Dem Supervisor candidate who got kinda close, but with no help from Morelle, she fell short.

Fairport added another republican to their town board because Democrat HQ failed to get behind their candidates.

This is election was wrought with instances where Democrat candidates NOT named Vinny Esposito felt short because of a lack of support from their our party boss.

But as 4:46 so aptly points out, Joe Morelle did get another one of his own staffers elected to a position.

I guess if you work for Joe Morelle, he'll be there for you when you run for office.

But if you aren't one of the Chosen Ones, then you get nothing!

Anonymous said...

Love the Star Trek reference!

Another episode that comes to mind when you think of Morelle is "A Piece of the Action."

AllanBlockhead said...

Hoping not to hijack this thread, I'll ask a question:

The D&C poll had Bill Taylor ahead handily. Then, on August 4th, I was disappointed to see him behind 57/43. Phil, what happened (or didn't happen) in between?

Anonymous said...

First of all, these early morning lit drops have been going on in Irondequoit for years. Secondly, the lit they dropped was not only Esposito lit.