GOP Competition In NY-22

Apparently, George Phillips is NOT the only Republican interested in taking on Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey.

Not long after I posted Phillips’ email announcing his intention to mount a third House campaign next fall, GOP consultant Rob Ryan called to say he has a client, Thomas Engel, who is also interested in running.

Ryan forwarded a letter that Engel, a private practice attorney, former assistant US Attorney, and longtime ally/appointee of former Gov. George Pataki (hence, the connection to Ryan, a former Pataki aide), sent earlier this month to GOP and Conservative Party leaders announcing his intention to raise/spent $2 million to challenge Hinchey in 2012.

“2012 will be a tougher year for Republicans than 2010; President Obama will be up for re-election, and the Democrats will be out in force registering new voters on the college campuses throughout the congressional district,” Engel wrote.

“If the Republican Party is to defeat Maurice Hinchey, we must have a candidate who can raise over $2,000,000 and wage a no-holds-barred campaign against him. If I enter this race, I will be that candidate.”

Engel contributed to Phillips last year and said he ran a “great race”, but “sadly” came up short. He’s planning on filing paperwork to establish an exploratory committee at the end of the month. (“Exploratory” because of the uncertainty that redistricting adds to the mix, Ryan said).

Engel will seed the committee with “six figures of his own money – partially a loan, partially a donation – then assess as we move forward,” Ryan said, adding: “He has wherewithal to both raise and put in money that will be needed to defeat (Hinchey).”

Obviously, Republicans smell blood in the water after Hinchey’s tough race last year.

Engel-gop Chairs Final

Hinchey Challenger Hopes 3rd Time’s A Charm

George Phillips, a conservative Republican who has twice failed to unseat veteran Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, has decided to make a third attempt at a House seat in 2012.

A reader forwarded me an email Phillips sent to supporters early yesterday morning announcing he has decided to run again next year after “much thought and prayer” with his family. He explained the move thusly:

“Our decision is based on the following:

1) We had one of the closest and most exciting races in the country in 2010

2) We believe our district will be improved in the redistricting process

3) Given our strong performance, we believe we can receive national support much earlier in 2012 if we start now

4) We have received tremendous encouragement to run again from so many supporters as well as local, state and national leaders.

5) We face great challenges as a nation and I believe I can still make a difference serving in the United States Congress.”

Phillips did not specifically say he will challenge Hinchey again. It’s unclear what the already-sprawling 22nd CD will look like come 2012.

There had been some speculation that the 72-year-old Hinchey – who is undergoing treatment for colon cancer and had a tough re-election campaign, although he ended up winning by a comfortable, albeit not huge, margin – would be targeted in redistricting. But that was back before Weinergate.

Hinchey, who was first elected in 1992, fended off Phillips last fall by winning 52 percent of the vote – and that was in spite of the considerable cash spent on the race by outside-the-district GOP outfits like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

Hoping to get a jump on fundraising, Phillips said he is launching a “new strategy” for money-gathering. He’s asking supporters to make a small monthly donation to provide a steady stream of cash instead of writing one big check. He’s aiming for a strong showing in the next FEC report, the deadline of which is June 30.

Rep. Hinchey Treated For ‘Curable’ Colon Cancer

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a veteran Hudson Valley Democrat in NY-22, announced today that he is being treated for what his office called a “curable” form of colon cancer and will maintain a “regular work schedule” while he undergoes care.

The 72-year-old congressman is receiving radiation treatment at Ulster Radiation Oncology Center in Kingston. He will have surgery at Albany Medical Center in June followed by a brief course of chemotherapy.

Hinchey will work and travel to Washington, DC for votes throughout the entire course of treatment, according to a press release from Hinchey’s office.

Dr. Randall Rissman, of Woodstock, is overseeing the congressman’s entire course of treatment. He released the following statement:

“This is a curable form of colon cancer. I expect Mr. Hinchey to respond extremely well to the course of treatment we’ve developed for him and that he’ll make a full recovery.”

“He is very fortunate that this was diagnosed early and that it did not spread beyond the colon. Mr. Hinchey is otherwise in excellent physical condition, which will greatly aid his recovery.”

“Mr. Hinchey will be able to maintain a full congressional schedule while he undergoes treatment. I also fully expect his surgery to be straightforward and have complete confidence that Mr. Hinchey will make a full recovery and be cancer-free.”

More >

Dems Coattail Approach

On the final day of campaigning, the Democratic candidates who are holding comfortable leads in the polls are lending a hand to some of their struggling party members.

Gubernatorial front runner Andrew Cuomo has 3 stops scheduled today, in Rochester Buffalo, Albany, and in Long Island City. And with him for all 3 is the Democrat trying to replace him as Attorney General, Senator Eric Schneiderman.

Yesterday’s Siena Poll showed Schneiderman tied with Staten Island DA Dan Donovan at 44% each, with a good chunk of voters still undecided. In that same poll, Cuomo was up 25 points, so being seen with the projected winner might help sway some undecided voters to Schneiderman.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is also tied in the latest Siena College poll with Republican Harry Wilson at 44% apiece. He’s hoping Senator Charles Schumer’s coattails will help him in the final days. The two are holding a joint event in Brooklyn tonight.

This morning DiNapoli was more focused on trying to get out the Democratic base. He greeted commuters at Harlem’s 125th Street subway stop, along with two prominent Black leaders. Former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, and State Party Executive Director Charlie King. Later in the day, he will be endorsed by a Firefighter’s union, and hold a rally with Building Trades Association DC 9.

One person who isn’t helping DiNapoli in the final days is Andrew Cuomo. He dealt the Comptroller a setback yesterday when he told NY1’s Bobby Cuza that he is “officially neutral” in the race.

The coattails approach is also playing out in upstate Congressional Districts. President Bill Clinton made a campaign stop in Saratoga Springs today for Rep. Scott Murphy. But just as important for the freshman Democrat was the appearance of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. A recent Siena Poll found Murphy down 9 points in the race. But the same poll showed Gillibrand’s favorability above 60% in the district.

The junior senator remains popular among upstate voters, and is using that popularity to help 4 Democratic incumbents today. She has joint events planned with Rep. Bill Owens, Rep. Michael Arcuri, and Rep. Maurice Hinchey throughout the day.

Koch To Endorse Phillips in NY-22

Here is another sign that veteran Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey might be in trouble. Former New York City Mayor, and Democrat, Ed Koch will be endorsing Hinchey’s Republican opponent George Phillips tomorrow.

The Phillips campaign just put a press advisory announcing two events, one in Kingston and one in Newburgh. The release goes on to say the primary reason for the endorsement is foreign policy concerns, which I would assume would mean that Koch takes issue with Hinchey’s votes on issues relating to Israel, which are detailed in this article by the conservative blog HotAir.com.

This all comes just one day after President Clinton stumped for Hinchey in Binghamton. A recent report by the NY Post suggested that Republicans have internal polling showing Hinchey within single digits, and below the magic 50% mark.