City Hall News: Winners & Losers, Nov. 11 Edition

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts.

Election Day always has its fair share of real winners like Steve
Bellone, Mark Poloncarz and Mike Spano – and real losers like Angie
Carpenter, Chris Collins and John Murtagh. But we prefer to shine a
light on the operatives who win those races, the officials whose
endorsements (or non-endorsements) made a difference, and the party
officials who bet it all and won (or lost) big. Gov. Andrew Cuomo loomed
large over these races, but this list is for the background players: —


George Gresham – The influential healthcare union
1199/SEIU played a quiet-yet-decisive role in Mark Polancarz’s upset win
in Erie County. The race was enough of a priority that Poloncarz’s
campaign manager, Jennifer Hibit, was 1199’s Buffalo political
coordinator – and, controversially, may have been getting paid for her
work by 1199. Another 1199 alum, Jennifer Cunningham, was also very
involved in the campaign strategy. So what does union chief George
Gresham get? A far more union-friendly administration in Erie County,
and a chit with Cuomo, who was keen to knock his potential 2014 rival
Chris Collins out of office before he had the chance to run.

Rich Schaffer – When everyone thought Suffolk County
Supervisor Steve Levy was going to coast to a re-election victory, the
Suffolk County Democratic chairman was among the biggest early champions
of then-Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone. And when Levy dropped
out suddenly, Bellone was perfectly positioned to assume the mantle as
frontrunner. Observers said Bellone’s victory reasserted the status of
the Suffolk Democratic Party, which suffered some tough losses in the
2010 elections. And Schaffer notched some other wins as well: Democrats
held onto the majority in the county Legislature.


Byron Brown – The Buffalo mayor lost a key ally in
Chris Collins this week, after an upset victory by Mark Poloncarz for
Erie County executive. Brown withheld the bulk of his get-out-the-vote
operation for Poloncarz, and is now faced with the challenge of working
with an energized county executive to unite the fractured local
Democratic Party. It’s a tall task for a mayor beset with real-world
problems, like urban blight and a stagnant economy.


James Molinaro – The Staten Island borough president
denied having anything to do with the district attorney’s race, but he
was widely viewed as intent on ousting incumbent DA Dan Donovan – an
ally-turned-opponent who ended up winning in a landslide on Tuesday. In
past races the Conservative Party had backed Donovan, who like Molinaro
is a prominent and active Conservative. But this time the party’s
endorsement on Staten Island somehow went to Democratic challenger Mike
Ryan, which many attributed to meddling by Molinaro, who had a falling
out with Donovan years before. Whatever role Molinaro had didn’t change
the race much, as Donovan beat Ryan with a larger margin than in their
match-up four years ago.

– For the full list of winners and losers, head to City Hall News