Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 3

District 6:   Ancello (R) vs. Beebe (D)

Seduced and Abandoned

The Monroe County GOP was stung by the loss of this seat to Democrat Dick Beebe in 2007.   They hadn't seen it coming, and the deployment of downstate union members bused in to canvass the district in the last week rendered Beebe's win in some sense illegitimate in GOP eyes.   This year they approached the return engagement as something of a grudge match.   To fight it, they chose the right candidate.

Fred Ancello proved to be a hard working campaigner.   A local businessman with a popular, reputable and well established small business, Ancello had gained exposure as a candidate for County Legislature in a prior election.   Still, he faced an established incumbent.

Beebe, for his part, rose to the occasion as a candidate, making good use of incumbency and working extremely hard.   He knocked on at least as many doors as Ancello.   Both parties supported their respective candidates with a full program of mailings.

Three factors combined toward the end of the campaign to reward Ancello.

First was a superb GOP ground game in the last week before Election Day, with one of the most effective get-out-the-GOP-vote efforts Party headquarters had ever planned and mounted.   Chairman Bill Reilich's "A-Team" was at the top of its game in preparing for this effort.

Second, Beebe's last minute campaign tactic, with negative mailings trying to discredit Ancello as a businessman, backfired.   That's what voters told GOP phone canvassers in the final days.   When a negative attack runs contrary to everything voters know about a candidate, this can happen.   Ancello's business, Davies Seafood, is hugely popular in the district and customers closely identify Ancello with it.

Third, Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle effectively abandoned Beebe in the campaign's final days, in order to focus all efforts for County Legislature on saving Legislator Vincent Esposito's seat in Irondequoit.   Democratic Headquarters made no effort for Beebe from the final Saturday through Election Day.

Combined, these factors enabled Republicans to reclaim the seat they lost four years before, as Ancello defeated Beebe 57% - 43%.

No comments: