Analysis: The (political) dog days of August | Columnists

It’s August and full of summer. New Yorkers focus on baseball, county fairs, and corn. But those in charge of Albany’s political calendar have graced us with primaries and a special election for next week. Add politics to summer fun. Here’s the latest:

• Nick Langworthy, the Republican endorsed in the Aug. 23 primary for the 23rd Congressional District, is drawing crowds as he makes the rounds of the district. A reliable campaign source notes that Langworthy, facing developer Carl Paladino, drew a decent turnout of more than 70 supporters at the Wellsville Country Club last week. His team has also delivered campaign materials to more than 18,000 homes in recent weeks.

That’s what happens when you run the New York State Republican Party. Nearly every county leader is behind the state president’s bid, including Allegany County’s Mike Healy. They make sure their fans attend events like Wellsville CC.

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• Paladino will not be outdone. His campaign has 22 paid workers who will focus on the same get-out-the-vote efforts.

• Turnout is expected to be very low a week from Tuesday. Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who is also the Democratic election commissioner, notes that New Yorkers simply aren’t used to voting in August.

“I’ve heard estimates of 11% and below,” he said. “People just don’t know. They think they’ve already voted in the primaries.”

• Early voting begins this weekend. And with such a low turnout predicted, we can’t begin to understand the frantic pace of early voting sites in Sardinia.

• Organizational support can give Langworthy another advantage on Primary Day. The same county and municipal committees in their corner will use all their powers to bring voters to the polls.

• Paladino secured a GOP endorsement last week that can motivate his conservative base. Rep. David DiPietro of East Aurora announced his support for his longtime ally.

• All this happens as the Paladino-Langworthy volume increases. Last week, Paladino released a new ad title “Nick Langworthy: Carl Paladino’s Biggest Fan.” It contains excerpts of Langworthy’s past praise for Paladino during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

“We need a change and that change is Carl Paladino,” Langworthy says during a news interview.

These guys used to be friends.

• Sen. Chuck Schumer, running for a fifth term in November, showed last week why Republican challenger Joe Pinion faces a tough task. Schumer announced $25 million in federal funds for a major improvement to Buffalo’s Main Street between Goodell Street and Kensington Avenue. It’s nice to be a starter. It’s even nicer to be the majority leader of the United States Senate.

• Erie County Democrats are planning what Chairman Zellner is billing a “major Buffalo fundraising event” tentatively scheduled for Aug. 27 for Gov. Kathy Hochul. She’s the first upstate governor in over 100 years and the first Buffalonian since Grover Cleveland in 1882. You can bet the Erie County Dems will make sure this one brings as many campaign dollars as possible to to his favorite daughter.

Hochul has raised a lot of money this election season, but he’s also spent a lot of it. It will need to replenish the coffers for the next general election.

• Quote of the week comes from longtime Paladino ally Michael Caputo: “The officials may be in Nick’s corner, but the base is with Carl.”

We choose the quote from the veteran political consultant not because we believe it to be true, but because its premise may very well reflect what will determine the tough battle between these two big Republican names.

If Langworthy can fire up his powerful Republican machine in the district’s six counties, he can pull it off. But if Paladino’s considerable name recognition from his 2020 state campaign and years in the headlines prevails, the 23rd may turn out to be “Carl Country” after all.

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