Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NY23: The two-week turnaround

My latest American Spectator column:
What a difference two weeks can make. Toward the end of an Oct. 14 conference call organized by David Keene of the American Conservative Union, congressional candidate Doug Hoffman plaintively asked, "Does anybody know how to get Glenn Beck interested in this?"
Monday afternoon, Hoffman was interviewed on Beck's popular Fox News program, evidence of the surging momentum the Conservative Party candidate has experienced in the three-way special election campaign in update New York's 23rd District.
In the past six days, Hoffman has been endorsed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, former National Republican Congressional Campaign chairmen John Linder and Tom Cole…
The complete list of Hoffman endorsers is a long one, and seems to include nearly every Republican except Newt Gingrich and Dede Scozzafava, the later of whom is Hoffman's opponent, and the former her only prominent supporter. . . .
Please read the whole thing. Often in the past few days, I've thought about that Oct. 14 conference call. Lisa De Pasquale sent me a message at 3:07 p.m. that afternoon asking me to be on the 3:30 p.m. call. She didn't even tell me what it was about, but it's never a smart idea to say "no" to Lisa.

Who else was on that call? John Hawkins, I know, was one of the dozen or so bloggers on the call, and he can testify to the sense of urgency that came across so clearly. Hoffman's team believed they had the momentum. What they didn't have was (a) media and (b) money. If they could get the media attention, the money would come.

The next day, Oct. 15, the Siena poll verified that Hoffman was surging. That afternoon, I called Lisa and asked if she could get me contact info for Hoffman's staff, which she did. Early Friday, I got some little tidbits of news from them, and decided to work up a long profile piece that night. That was well-received, so I dug in on the NY23 beat and, by the night of Tuesday, Oct. 20, had already laid out my itinerary for my road trip.

First road trip, that is. I'm planning to go back tomorrow and, good Lord willing, will stay all the way through to Election Night, Nov. 3. Having seen this campaign take off like a rocket in the past two weeks, I don't want to miss the moon landing. So please contribute to the Shoe Leather Fund.

Last week's trip was more than 1,300 miles. At 20 cents per mile, that's $260. However, my 20-year-old daughter's car broke down Monday night, and she'll need the KIA Optima to get back and forth to work and college. So figure $75 a day for me to rent a car, for six days -- leaving Thursday, returning Oct. 4 -- that's $450.

As usual, two packs of cigarettes per day ($5 x 2 x 6 = $60 for the trip) and six cups of coffee a day ($2 x 6 x 6 = $72), plus two $5 fast-food meals daily ($5 x 2 x 6 = $60). It's possible I may be able to get a break on lodging for this trip, crashing free in Lake Placid with the 73wire crew through Saturday, and another reporter who's going up to the 23rd District said I can split a room with him Sunday-Tuesday ($70 x 3 = $210).

Total ballpark estimate = $1,200. Roughly $200 a day, start-to-finish. But don't think about the big numbers. Just think about $5, $10, $20, $50. If the Hoffman campaign could raise $116,000 in small donations in a single day, I ought to be able to clear $1,200 easy in the next few days, even without a Sarah Palin endorsement.


  1. May be Glenn Beck can kick in...

  2. Fix your "Links to this Post." It's become a joke - five unrelated links from Wizbang?

    That's pathetic.

  3. I made the first political contribution of my life to Doug Hoffman. I think he's going to pull this out.

  4. Cool, 50 bucks cruising through the tubes right now towards your paypal. You've been providing some excellent reporting on this race and were an important early voice on it. Keep up the great work!

  5. This is a huge "learning opportunity" for the Republican party. Because win, lose or draw, the Hoffman campaign is showing them something important. The RNC can come away from this grumbling about those damn conservatives with their litmus tests and "demands for ideological purity" or they can find out where the energy and enthusiasm comes from and align themselves with it.

    Years ago the Democrats did a very smart thing. They saw the youth, energy, excitement and 21st Century savvy of the Howard Dean supporters. Instead of whining about how those Kos-sacks and junior radicals were ruining party unity they allied themselves with them. They made Howard Dean Chairman of the party and have enjoyed the support of the moonbat brigades ever since.

    Gee, what'd it cost them? Lieberman? Not even that. Are they less credible and decent, sure, but that doesn't bother them.

    Here the Republicans have an opportunity to engage a large, politically principled, enthusiastic movement that is looking for a home. It's up to them what they do about that. Do they accept this large and growing faction who are less interested in "party unity" than in good and decent and competent governance or do they join the Whigs and Tories in irrelevance.

  6. As usual, two packs of cigarettes per day ($5 x 2 x 6 = $60 for the trip) and six cups of coffee a day ($2 x 6 x 6 = $72)

    Eegads man! Does stimulating stimulant excess account for the stimulating stimulant excess goodness of your reporting? Please take care of your heart!

    Keep up the great work....

  7. @LCR,
    You don't understand: the caffeine is what keeps the heart from 'sploding.

  8. 5 bucks won't buy you two packs of smokes in NY. Unless you go to the reservation. Get off 81 at Nedrow. Head towards McDonald's. Smoke shop is on the right.

  9. I should have said $5 won't buy you one pack of smokes. Oops. This baseball game is distracting.

  10. keep up the good work ... a contrib is headed your way ...