Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sheldon Silver Shows His Concern About Primary Challengers

Matt Townsend of the New York Observer wrote a piece today about being polled about the upcoming primary election in Assembly District 64. If you don't know that number, you will shortly, it is the district of the Speaker of the Assembly, one of the three men in a room, Sheldon Silver. Apparently Silver is worried about at least one of his primary challengers, Paul Newell.

From The NY Observer:

Last month, a market-research firm called my Lower East Side apartment to gauge my support for Paul Newell.

I admitted that I had never heard Newell's name before, and the caller quickly explained that Newell will challenge my state assemblyman-Speaker Sheldon Silver-in the Democratic primary in September.

The caller told me Newell is 32, worked as a community organizer and lives on the Lower East Side. Then he presented positive statements about Newell and Silver, followed by negative statements about Silver. He asked me to say if the statements would make me "more likely" or "less likely" to vote for that candidate. Then it was over, but the origin of the call was a mystery.[...]

When asked if he was worried about Newell, Silver responded: "I'm always confident that my record on education, rebuilding ground zero and transportation is unmatched by any public official. I think my record speaks for itself."

When I spoke to Newell, he said he heard about the poll from several people, and he has no doubt that Silver commissioned the poll to see how vulnerable he is.

Newell said that he believed Silver's campaign may have been reacting to some 6,000 fliers he and his supporters handed out to voters in the 64th Assembly District on Super Tuesday. From what he heard about the poll, Newell said, the positives the callers are presenting come almost verbatim from the flier.

"My gut reaction [to the poll] is that I can't believe he's calling this many voters and telling them my positives and his negatives," Newell said. "I thought it meant that he's taking the race seriously, but I might have liked if the giant had been sleeping for a few more months.[...]

"There is no doubt in my mind that Sheldon Silver commissioned the poll," Newell said. "It was either me or him, and it wasn't me."

Seeing this story is rather amusing to me, since I was talking to Luke Henry a couple hours ago at City Hall about the race (He was there in support of Clean Elections in NYC). I asked him about possible upcoming debates and rhetorically if he thinks he'll see Silver on stage with him anytime soon. Of course he noted that we need to put pressure on the Speaker to show up at some point. Yet that doesn't mean he isn't paying attention, and doing a poll on the race all the way back here in March is telling that Shelly is worried about the much needed change we need in this country, and specifically up in Albany.