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After Controversial Remarks, Gubernatorial Prospect Collins Meets Brooklyn GOP Leadership This Week

December 12, 2009

Many of you know that former US Senate candidate Rick Lazio has been a declared candidate for governor for a while now. Nevertheless, the Brooklyn GOP, “led” by Chairman _______ “The Duke” _______ had endorsed former Mayor Giuliani until it was fairly clear Giuliani would not be running.

Now, the question of who the Brooklyn GOP will endorse for governor is open and unanswered.

But now, new news comes…

Chris Collins, the Erie County Executive and would-be GOP candidate for governor, garnered some undesirable attention when he compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Hitler and called him an Antichrist at an event.

The Buffalo News recently had a story about Collins, in which they disclosed his planned meetings with the Manhattan and Brooklyn GOP leadership. What will come of those meetings, particularly with Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge Cabal, is unclear.

Here is the story:

After avoiding the campaign trail since comparing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Hitler and an Antichrist on Oct. 24, Erie County Executive Chris Collins appears to be once again in the thick of the 2010 contest for governor.

Last week he met with Republican leaders in Syracuse and Watertown, and campaign sources say he will state his case next week with party honchos in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He is speaking with potential campaign staffers and appears ready to challenge anyone who believes his autumn gaffe should preclude him from winning the GOP gubernatorial nomination next year.

“He’s continuing to do the things he was doing in the summer, meeting with folks to talk about successes in Erie County,” said Christopher M. Grant, Collins’ chief of staff.

That doesn’t mean Collins is being embraced with open arms after the speech before Erie County Republicans garnered him his most significant statewide attention to date — none of it positive.

The Buffalo News has learned that several Republican county executives attending a meeting Friday in downtown Albany fear the statewide impression Collins’ remark could convey and described him as harmful to the party’s 2010 prospects.

“The concern was that he would not make a good candidate for governor,” said an upstate Republican who was at the meeting and asked not to be identified.

But state Republican Chairman Edward F. Cox, who presided over the meeting at the tony Fort Orange Club, called that characterization of the discussion “completely inaccurate.” He said the county executives discussed both Collins and former Rep. Rick Lazio — the only declared candidate in the race — in general terms.

“We had a good discussion of the positives and the concerns about candidates for statewide office generally,” Cox said.

And Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards, who also attended the meeting, said late Wednesday he did not recall any such concerns directed at a potential Collins candidacy.

“I don’t recall anything to that effect and don’t remember the word ‘Antichrist’ being mentioned,” Edwards said.

Collins has apologized and sought to put his self-acknowledged “poor joke” behind him. While discussing Silver before a GOP dinner in Buffalo, he referred to French seer Nostradamus’ predictions that the world would experience three Antichrists before the Apocalypse.

He said it’s generally accepted the first was Napoleon, the second Hitler, and he was “pretty sure” the third is Silver — an Orthodox Jew. Collins said it in the context of Silver as part of Albany’s “three men in a room” budget process, in which the two legislative leaders and the governor make most budgetary decisions.

But he has endured widespread criticism for the remark, with the New York Daily News editorializing against him on Dec. 2. The newspaper said, “Collins managed both to border on anti-Semitism and to outrageously and callously make light of the monstrosity of the Holocaust.”

That kind of reaction appears to have spawned the concerns voiced at Friday’s meeting, convened by Cox to discuss with GOP county executives the prospects for taking back the Governor’s Mansion next year. While the group did not settle on a candidate, those expressing concern said Collins’ comments about Silver would hamper his efforts right from the start of any campaign.

“His comments had no place in the race itself, but more importantly, did not send the proper message of what we would want in a candidate,” said the person attending the gathering.

The source said GOP county executives also complained that Collins is still relatively new in the job, has done little to help his fellow county executives pressure Albany to embrace the counties’ fiscal and policy goals, and skipped a meeting that day between county executives and Gov. David A. Paterson to discuss problems the state’s budget issues present for localities.

In addition to Edwards, the county executives attending the breakfast meeting included Edward Diana of Orange County, Kathleen M. Jimino of Rensselaer County, Joanie Mahoney of Onondaga County, Anthony Picente of Oneida County, William Steinhaus of Dutchess County and Scott Vanderhoff of Rockland County; along with the incoming Nassau County executive, Edward Mangano. Besides Cox, other state GOP officials attending were longtime counsel Jeff Buley and Executive Director Thomas J. Basile.

Two people with knowledge of the meeting said Cox told the gathering that he called Collins to express his displeasure with the Silver statements and that he was wrong to make them. The chairman then heard the county executives complain that a Collins candidacy could undermine their efforts in recent elections. The person at the meeting also stressed that, given the upstate makeup of the attendees, the complaints about Collins were not about him hailing from upstate.

“Twelve of 17 county executives are Republicans, and we want to have a strong voice, because we’ve carried the party well over the past years when on a statewide level it hasn’t been that good,” the Republican said.

“We don’t need it tarnished by one who now wants to seek the statewide office of governor,” the source continued. “That’s not how we have maintained our party strength in our counties and in upstate. That’s not what we want in the statewide candidate.”

But Collins continues to note progress on other fronts.

Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo said Wednesday he is writing letters to the state’s Conservative chairmen asking them to hold off on backing a candidate for governor. That comes as Lazio continues to tour the state and gain support from some Conservatives, including Chairmen Thomas Cook of Monroe County and Thomas Long of Queens — the brother of state Conservative Chairman Michael R. Long.

“I acknowledge Rick Lazio is a friend of the party,” Lorigo said, “but I’m not asking them for a commitment. I’m asking them not to commit.”

Lorigo said he plans to take Collins to various Conservative Party gatherings in the coming weeks to meet party leaders and allow him to discuss his ideas and plans.


So what can we expect from this meeting?

Will the local party express their concerns over Collins’ recent remarks?

Maybe. Maybe not.

It would seem the party seriously dislikes Rick Lazio–I mean, first they endorse Giuliani over him and then, when Lazio was the only candidate seeking office, they hold out? If I were Rick Lazio, I would be pretty upset (or just disappointed–unless he’s a reader of Atlas, in which case he might be glad he has no endorsement) with the Brooklyn GOP right about now.

Interestingly, as the article points out, the Queens County Conservative Party has already endorsed Lazio:

“I am proud to announce that the Queens County Conservative party is endorsing Rick Lazio for Governor. Albany needs to be turned upside-down, and Rick Lazio is the only candidate for Governor promising to do just that. Rick’s principles are rock-solid, and I know that with him as our Governor, we will stop the reckless spending and give the people of New York State the tax relief they deserve. I strongly urge my fellow Conservatives to get behind Rick Lazio as soon as possible so we can defeat the tax and spend agenda of the status quo.”

One has to wonder how the Brooklyn Conservative Party’s President Jerry Kassar will respond to Collins in light of his Conservative colleagues’ actions?

Well, not really.

Those of you who’ve been following The Golden Prince Marty Golden know that Kassar is a mere vassal of The Prince’s. The Viliage Voice discussed that earlier this year:

Right now, Golden’s Senate payroll includes Jerry Kassar—chairman of Brooklyn’s Conservative Party—as a $98,000-a-year aide. Golden has had Conservative Party backing ever since his days in the City Council.

I wonder who he’ll side with?

…one guess is enough.

One knows The Golden Prince will have the last word on all of this–unless The Duke’s bizarre Giuliani fetish gets in the way (some people just can’t let go).

Whatever the result of this week’s meetings, we here at Atlas want to let you and the Brooklyn GOP leadership know that we are watching these events very carefully and will be continuing to report on them as we learn more.

And, as you already know, there’s almost always more to tell…

  1. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:49 am

    OMG! The pooch is nervous. All the folks are waiting for “Chairman—TD—” to come back into the parlour. What, pray tell, might he do? Will it be “as good” for the pooch?

  2. Young Republican permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:02 am

    I don’t think county committees, state committees, or the national committee should be endorsing candidates as the the official GOP candidate, before the primary. After all, isn’t the reason we have primaries to chose the official GOP candidate? The Brooklyn county committee represents Brooklyn republicans, and yes, they make decisions in the name of Brooklyn republicans in situations where you can’t ask every Brooklyn republican their opinion. But when it comes to endorsing candidates, we already have a mechanism in place how to decide which candidate to endorse, it’s called the September primary. And until then no official party organization should favor one candidate over the other. It should be the opposite, they should encourage more candidates to run, so we can have a spirited debate on all issues important to New York republicans, and in the end let the best man win.

  3. Bruno permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:38 am

    Well said. After all, who are these so called leaders that impose themselves upon the party. They only hold out for the highest bidder.
    Let them run and primary.

  4. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:57 am

    Don’t forget that the New York State Republican Convention—not primaries select the “designated” Republican candidates for certain offices. Those “designated” candidates can be challenged in a primary only if there are candidates qualified to run against them, usually by statewide petitioning demonstrating certain minimum “statewide” support.

    • Young Republican permalink
      December 11, 2009 1:15 pm

      But why should one candidate have it easier than another? The Republican Party should help or not help all candidates equally. Decisions about which candidate to endorse should be made by republican voters, not county chairs or state committee members. If we learned anything from the special congressional elections up-state in March and last month it should be that the party can’t force their candidates on the voters.

  5. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 11, 2009 3:45 pm

    It’s the nature of the convention process for prospective candidates to line up the delegates [State Committe members] who are more or less kept in line by their county chairmen who try to be the brokers [kingmakers] in the process. It’s designed for backroom intrigue and under-the-table dealing.

    I don’t remember a contested Republican statewide primary for any New York statewide office.

    • Tommy Nast permalink
      December 12, 2009 12:41 am

      There was the primary in 2006 with Spencer and McFarland for US Senate. But why Brooklyn and Manhattan? The votes are weighted, correct? These two counties bring in horrible numbers for governor, especially in 2006. What could it matter how Brooklyn or Manhattan vote in the convention?

      • Older Republican permalink
        December 12, 2009 1:01 am

        Brooklyn and Manhattan combined only control about 6% of the weighted vote based on 2006’s vote totals, even though Brooklyn and Manhattan have 58 out of the 300 State Committee members. If the party leadership were more effective, those 58 would have far more influence in who becomes the candidate.

        NYS Election Law § 6-104. Party designation; statewide office.

        1. Party designation of a candidate for nomination for any office to be
        filled by the voters of the entire state shall be made by the state committee.

        2. The state committee shall make a decision by majority vote. The
        person receiving the majority vote shall be the party’s designated candidate for
        nomination, and all other persons who shall have received twenty-five percent
        or more of the vote cast on any ballot shall have the right to make written
        demand, duly acknowledged, to the state board of elections that their names
        appear on the primary ballot as candidates for such nomination. Such demand
        shall be made not later than seven days after such meeting and may be withdrawn
        in the same manner within fourteen days after such meeting.

        3. In the absence of a party rule forming and designating the members
        of a committee to fill any vacancy in designations which may occur after the
        state committee has adjourned its meeting and before the primary election, the
        state committee shall also enact a resolution forming such a committee and
        selecting the members of same.

        4. Upon the vote for such designation, each member of the state
        committee shall be entitled to cast a number of votes which shall be in
        accordance with the ratio which the number of votes cast for the party
        candidate for governor on the line or column of the party at the last preceding
        general state election in the unit of representation of such member bears to the
        total vote cast on such line or column at such election for such candidate in the
        entire state. The apportionment of such votes as so prescribed shall be
        determined by the rules of the party.

        5. Enrolled members of the party may make other designations by
        petition for a member of the same party.

        6. The meeting of the state committee for the purpose of designating
        candidates shall be held not earlier than twenty-one days before the first day to
        sign designating petitions and not later than the first day to sign designating
        petitions for the primary election.

        7. Within four days after such meeting, the state committee shall file
        with the state board of elections.

        (a) The names of persons who have received the designation of the
        state committee and the offices for which designated, and the name of each
        person who received twenty-five percent or more, of the vote on any ballot and
        the offices for which they received such vote.

        (b) The names of the persons selected as the committee to fill
        vacancies or a certified copy of the party rule forming and empowering such a
        committee to fill vacancies.

        8. No person may be designated by a state committee for more than
        one statewide office pursuant to the provisions of this section.

  6. The Great Craig "The Duke" Eaton Speaks permalink
    December 12, 2009 12:35 am

    Craig Eaton, Lord of the Brooklyn GOP Underworld, arrives at the meeting:

  7. Young Republican permalink
    December 12, 2009 1:35 am

    Can someone explain me why the State of New York feels it has the right to govern and set the rules for a political party? How can the state dictate to organised political groups how they have to operate, and how to choose their candidates? Why can’t the members of each party decide how they want to run their own party, and how they want to choose their candidates for public office?

    • Tommy Nast permalink
      December 12, 2009 7:56 am

      The logic is this: to prevent corruption and under-representation in the process of selecting nominees for public office, New York State has co-opted some of the procedure and imposed it on the parties. The United States Supreme Court has upheld a state’s ability to regulate the affairs of parties up until they have an effect on determining candidates for public office. Internal affairs cannot be interfered with as far as the party’s private business is concerned. The Supreme Court also has required one-man, one-vote be applied to the nomination process, which is why the vote must be weighted with some degree of proportionality.

  8. AAA permalink
    December 12, 2009 11:14 am

    The question begs, where was the coverage from the commentators from this blog on the standing room only Kings County Republican Holiday Party, where leaders all across the state came to work on the mission of making 2010 a Republican year in Kings County and Statewide?

    The question begs, where was the coverage from the commentators from this blog on the standing room only 47th AD Republican Club Holiday Party, where leaders came and celebrated to focus on the mission of making 2010 a Republican year in Kings County and Statewide?

    The question begs, where was the YR leader at both events as he was not seen for even a second.

    As our Chair, our State Senator, 47th AD leader Gallo and Capano are continuing the push to victory, to lead us the Kings County Republican Party to a new day.

    As once again our great chair, the greatest Republican chair of the county of Kings, the best county chair of all the county chairs Mr. Craig Eaton continues to lead this party to the road back to victory by working with leaders across this state and county to ensure we win back the 60th Assembly district, the 13th congressional district, and re-electing our State Senator.

    The question begs, what are the commentators of this blog, and the YR leader doing to ensure the same goals, certainly they were not at the events which are the first steps back to victory?

    The truth is out there….

    • Lord of the Dance permalink
      December 12, 2009 12:29 pm

      Questions that need begging: How many times do you and Eaton cuddle up daily? How much does he pay you for your services?

    • ZZZ permalink
      December 12, 2009 3:12 pm

      The question begs, were the YR leader and other leaders ever invited to attend those events…

      The question begs, did the useless Party Chairman and the lying 47th AD District Leader decree the YR leader and other leaders were not to be invited to these events where they squander other people’s money and then take credit for it…

      The question begs, how much does AAA get paid by the Party Chairman and the 47th AD District Leader to prostitute themselves on a blog as a commenter…

      Finally, the question really begs, who wants to fight over free food at a party packed with a bunch of patronage hacks because the all-self-important Party Chairman or the buffonish 47th AD District Leader is hosting it…

      The profound answer is: No one with any self-respect.

      The truth is out there, but not any place AAA can get at.

  9. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 12, 2009 12:42 pm

    Some of us were at the 49th AD Fiorello LaGuardia Regular Republican Club Christmas Party—

    At that overflow event, which cost $35 per seat, IT WAS NOTED that 13th CD candidate, Mike Grimm, sent his representative, Aaron Cedar, who gave a brief bio of the candidate. It was also specifically noted by AF, a senior respected member of the FLRRC that other 2010 candidates, Mike Alligretti and Martin Golden sent nobody to this friendly and congenial event.

    Hopefully, prospective candidates, including any incumbents who might believe they have entitlement, will be more dutiful in their relations with the FLRRC when the executive board conducts its interviews of prospective candidates in February or March 2010.

    • Gloria in Excelsis Ferraro permalink
      December 12, 2009 1:08 pm

      The Golden Prince and his proxies are doing a very foolish thing by engaging in divisive politics rather than seeking reconciliation. They have made any peaceful detente between the Bay Ridge GOP and the 49th AD impossible. And, knowing the personal value of Italian gratitude and respect, such snubs are taken personally.

      And what a Grinch of a move during Christmas time.

  10. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 12, 2009 12:47 pm

    btw— was the “Great Craig ‘the Duke’ Eaton Speaks”, above, censored?

  11. AAA permalink
    December 12, 2009 4:05 pm

    The question begs, what will the commentators do on this blog, to bring together the Kings County Republican Party, to ensure victory for 2010 and beyond?

    The question begs, leaders across the state, from county chairs citywide, elected officials citywide, gathered, to work together to network for 2010, yet where was the YR leader and his allies at Thursday’s gathering the door was wide open all night, just where were they?

    The question begs, partisan politics I think so…

    The question begs, will the commentators on this blog recognize that our great chair, the greatest chair of the Kings County Republican Party, and of all the county chairs overwhelmingly was re-elected to another term?

    The question begs, is this blog “Fair and Balanced” to the leaders of the Kings County Republican Party?

    The truth is out there…

    • Dana Scully permalink
      December 12, 2009 4:12 pm

      The question begs, are you even in the realm of reality?!?!?!

    • Obiter Dicta permalink
      December 12, 2009 4:15 pm

      Somebody has penis envy! Watch out, Craig!

      AAA will be revealing a “great truth” to you–below the waist, if you know what I mean.

      • Stare Decisis permalink
        December 12, 2009 4:46 pm

        That “great truth” isn’t much, if you know what I mean.

  12. Bruno permalink
    December 12, 2009 4:15 pm

    Attention all Shruggers:

    Remember, AAA gets no recognition.
    To answer AAA is to give he/she importance.
    Don’t bother.

  13. Craig Beaten permalink
    December 12, 2009 4:21 pm

    This blog is better attended than their “PARTY.”

    I’m NOT impressed!

  14. AAA permalink
    December 12, 2009 4:47 pm

    The question begs, why turn this around to being personal?

    The question begs, our chair was overwhelmingly re-elected, is the greatest chair of the Kings County Republican Party, and the greatest chair of all county chairs in this state, let’s face this, and work together to ensure the path of victory for 2010 and beyond as our great chair is doing every single day and night.

    The question begs, our great leaders of this party are working day and night to ensure victory for 2010 and beyond, yet here it’s the same old news, I guess any good news for the Kings County Republican Party especially with the standing room only events for both days events is bad news to the commentators of this blog?

    The question begs, isn’t this blog about being “Fair and Balanced”, and the flow of free speech?

    The truth is out there…

    • Craig Beaten permalink
      December 12, 2009 5:10 pm

      Script from later tonight:

      AAA: Oh yeah! Oh Yeah! OH YEAH, CRAIG!! MMMMMMMM….

      Craig: Triple-A, I read those comments. They made me…HOT! I hate those Atlas bullies hurting my feelings, telling truths!!!!!

      AAA: Oh yes! Oh Yes! OH YES!

      Craig: Triple-A!

      AAA: Yes, Craig?

      A Pause. Then, a Groan. Silence.

      Craig: I left the money on the dresser. Now, get out!

  15. AAA permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:42 pm

    The question begs, is this what this blog is about name calling, and vulgarity not working to victory, like the greatest chair ever for the Kings County Republican Party, the greatest chair of all the counties statewide, the greatest State Senator ever in Kings County, the greatest State Senator of all State Senators and the greatest 47th AD leader Kings County has ever had, and the greatest of all the AD leaders across this state are ?

    The question begs, as the truth is out there…

    • AAA Has a Thing For Thugs permalink
      December 12, 2009 5:48 pm

      I bet Craig knows you suck, if you know what I mean? 😉

    • Gerry permalink
      December 12, 2009 5:55 pm

      You sure do kiss up, sir.

      Good thing these commentators are stuffing your turkey and roasting it online for all to witness!

  16. The Following Makes Me Laugh permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:51 pm

    The Following Makes Me Laugh:

    AAA: “The greatest chair ever for the Kings County Republican Party, the greatest chair of all the counties statewide, the greatest State Senator ever in Kings County, the greatest State Senator of all State Senators and the greatest 47th AD leader Kings County has ever had…”

    …in light of…


  17. AAA permalink
    December 12, 2009 6:43 pm

    The question begs, what has the commentators of this blog have to offer to help propel the Republican Party statewide and countywide in 2010 and beyond?

    The question begs, as the greatest chair the Kings County Republican party has ever had, the greatest county chair of all county chairs, the greatest State Senator Kings County has ever had, the greatest State Senator of all State Senators, the greatest 47th AD Republican leader has ever had, and the greatest AD Republican leader of all AD Republican leaders continue to show the passion they have to serve this great county, and lead us to victory, what are the “Fair and Balanced” commentators of this blog doing to highlight the path to victory?

    The question begs, as the answer lies within these very commentators?

    The truth is out there…

    • Obiter Dicta permalink
      December 13, 2009 12:53 am

      I hear slurping sounds…


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