Un-Safe At Any Speed
From Liz’s Morning Memo:
The power of the SAFE Act backlash has not diminished over time. If anything, it has grown stronger among the small – yet vocal – minority of New Yorkers who were infuriated by its passage.
And even though it’s mostly Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has taken a hit at the polls due to his championing of this gun control measure, state lawmakers are not immune to the anger felt by gun rights advocates – a fact that could spell trouble for key legislators in next year’s elections.
A trio of senators got a rude awakening to the organizing abilities of the anti-SAFE Act movement during an event held in Buffalo yesterday afternoon.
Senate Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein traveled to Western New York to attend a policy event hosted by Sen. Mark Grisanti in the afternoon, and then headline a fund-raiser for the Buffalo Republican in the evening.
The afternoon event was supposed to focus on efforts in the Senate to help unemployed veterans, but it was hijacked by angry anti-SAFE Act protestors, who shouted down the senators when they tried – largely in vain – to stick to the scheduled program.
The protest was organized by the 2nd Amendment Coalition. The group’s leaders posted instructions on their Facebook page, urging members to get close to the senators to make sure they could be heard.
The Coalition says changes the Senate approved to the SAFE Act last week during the final days of the 2013 session left veterans out.
(The amendment itself addressed retired law enforcement officers, and also caused a split in the Senate GOP conference, with some members complaining about the timing of the vote, and others insisting they’re holding out for the pie-in-the-sky goal of full repeal).
One leader of the 2nd Amendment Coalition just so happens to be Rus Thompson, a controversial Tea Party figure who worked on Carl Paladino’s failed 2010 gubernatorial bid.
During a recent CapTon interview, Paladino made it clear that while he’s not planning on running again next year, he will use his political action committee to try to influence the balance of power in the Senate in hopes of toppling Skelos from his leadership role.
Grisanti will no doubt again be a target for Paladino. He’ll also be a target for the Senate Democrats, who are itching to win back the Democrat-dominated district the Democrat-turned-Republican lawmaker is currently representing.
Klein once had his eye on Grisanti as a potential member of the IDC. Apparently, both Skelos and Klein are willing to invest in trying to keep Grisanti where he is, regardless of whose conference he ends up joining – sort of a moot point, anyway, so long as the GOP-IDC coalition survives.
Grisanti also received some pressure from the left yesterday, compliments of campaign finance reform advocates who were angry he joined his fellow Republicans in voting down a hostile amendment that would have established a publicly financed system.
Mindful of the fact that the conservative grassroots is still smarting from the same-sex marriage vote two years ago, and steaming over the SAFE Act passage, the Senate Republicans drew a line in the sand over the abortion plank of the governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda and also refused to budget on campaign finance reform.
They may have played right into the governor’s hands, however, enabling him – not to mention the Senate Democrats – to keep two potent progressive issues alive heading into a key election year.
Conservatives insist anger over the SAFE Act could fuel even a no-name recognition challenger to Cuomo like Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. But so far, it looks like the Senate Republicans have more to worry about than the governor does.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Bryan Terry on June 28, 2013 at 11:56 am, and is filed under Dean Skelos, Gun control, IDC. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|