Friday, June 19, 2009


Local Media Covers Dede's Moves & Obama Gets His Hands Into the Mix

This week Joe LoTemplio from the Plattsburgh Press Republican wrote an puff piece on Douglas Hoffman (who doesn't even live in the district).  Toward the end of their profile they got down to the nitty gritty and wrote, "There is also a grassroots effort to draft popular Republican State Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava of St. Lawrence County to run as a Democrat." These guys are a dollar late and a buck short. The paper may be a little behind the curve, but they should have reported on us over a week ago before we started making calls to key Democratic fundraisers in the district? Weird.

By the way, where was Hoffman when NY-20 was going on? If he was so interested in running for Congress why didn't he step to the plate and run in his own district in which he resides? Can anyone say political opportunism? Geez, after all this guy describes himself as "the ideal candidate." Sorry Doug, but first we don't know anything about you and neither does anyone else (you are lucky you are even getting free coverage on this blog), but since you insisted we thought someone should fill you in to tell you that the ideal candidate in NY-20 was Kristen Gillibrand (who we are also endorsing as of today for election to the NYS Senate); in NY-23 the ideal candidate is really Dede Scozzafava (even if she does run as a Republican), not you. Sorry.

In other news Mike Memoli from wrote a story on Obama's constant campaign activity. We couldn't help but assume the story related to NY-23 somehow and here is why. Memoli writes, "Behind the scenes, the White House political operation... [is] in regular consultation with the Senate and House campaign committees, as well as the Democratic Governors Association. Those discussions run gamut from planning events and fundraisers, recruiting candidates for upcoming races, and general political strategy. That cooperation has already played out this year in off-year races. In the special election in New York's 20th District, the White House played a strong hand in the final stretch... the president has also not been reluctant to twist some elbows in attempting to recruit candidates."

Sounds like Obama might be making some calls to the North Country to win NY-23. Does anyone know if Dede is picking up her phone and making deals?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


DeDe Won't Drink... She Won't Even Talk About Drinking...

One thing we know for certain is that Scozzafava isn't exactly proud to be a Republican. She doesn't even vote like a Republican. She won't say that she won't run as a Democrat. She might just as well attend both the Republican and Democratic County Committee interviews to see which party would make her their frontrunner. We can't say we blame her for it. We see the wisdom in it.

According to the Watertown newspaper, "Possible strong Republican contenders include Mr. Barclay and Assemblywoman Dierdre K. Scozzafava, who has been fighting rumors she is considering switching parties under pressure from organized labor, with the Obama administration playing a role in the background." 

How is DeDe fighting the rumors? Has she been public about it anywhere? All the news claims she won't give a definitive answer one way or another. 

Second, it is not hard to believe Obama and his team would be playing around in the background.  The New York Daily News broke a story today that Rahm Emanuel tried to persuade Long Island Representative Peter King an ambassadorship to Ireland.  The story went on to say Rep. King, "still has no doubt that Obama's top aide [Rahm Emanuel] would target his House seat if the opportunity arose." 

Who is to say that the White House Chief of Staff hasn't talked to big labor in New York, the DCCC, or even Scozzafava herself about the prospect of running as a Democrat.  Or maybe Emanuel just dragged a RINO to the Democratic pond, but couldn't make her drink the water. We learned today that he couldn't get King to drink our Irish whisky.

But the Mayor of Watertown also sees it another way.  According to someone who forwarded his blog to our coalition, "The prospects for Diedre Scozzafava running for Congress still appear dim to me, but a key GOP insider tells me there is still strong support for her candidacy among the country chairs in the 11 county 23rd CD. Under a weighted voting system, I am told the chairs in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties would carry the day.  Good news for DeDe." We agree with that mayor that Scozzafava would be a poor candidate for the Republicans to put up. Although if McHugh's replacement is Scozzafava it is, for all intents and purposes, still a victory for us because we will have her on all of our key issues from card check, to health care, to taxes, social issues, and who knows what else. 

Still, one has to wonder how it would look if DeDe were to only garner 3 of 11 GOP county chairs?  If 8 county chairs voice a strong opposition to DeDe would she even be credible within her own party to make it to the finish line this fall? Whichever party she runs with we hope she wins. [On a side note it would be interesting to see how the Oswego chair votes if Assemblyman Will Barclay decides to get in the game. That would be a nightmare for DeDe. Does anyone know if the county chairs votes will be made public?]

So what do we make of the rumors that DeDe is exploring the option of attending the Democratic meetings to test the waters? Here is what we have gathered. The DCCC has already announced that they think "the district is winnable with the right candidate... Right now our focus is on working with local Democrats to recruit a strong candidate." The language is so interesting in that quote, "winnable with the right candidate... working with local Democrats to recruit a strong candidate." 

The drum beat continues and two serious questions remain: 

1) Have the DNC, the DCCC, Rep. Steve Israel (tasked with recruiting Democratic candidates for the US House), White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, our local Democratic county chairs, local labor chambers, or even Obama himself reached out to DeDe? That might be all she is waiting for before she drinks the water. 

2) Why is Scozzafava so shy with the media about the prospect of running as a Democrat? One thing is for certain, we know Emanuel isn't afraid to drag the RINOs to their pond. Perhaps Emanuel's master strategy all along is to have it both ways. Support another Democrat to win the district, or in the event that Scozzafava wins as a Republican just twist her huff on important policy to make Obama's agenda look like it has bipartisan support. Whatever Emanuel's master plan is we support it and have full confidence in him. It's a win-win situation anyway you look at it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


(enter drum roll)

Thank you to everyone who participated in our online poll!!! Isn't technology peachy? We had a lot of fun following this one.

Now for the results and analysis. When the question is asked of people, "Do you think that Republican Assemblywoman DeDe Scozzafava should run for Congress as a Democrat?" people said:

A) Yes, Run as a Democrat (65%)

B) Run as a Republican (13 %)

C) Don't Run at all (17%)

D) No preference (2%)

One interesting finding is that more people said "Don't Run at all" than said "Run as a Republican." Who knew? So with those numbers we think the rest of the analysis is left best to you, our visitors, and DeDe Scozzafava herself. Thanks again for your participation. Another poll will be up shortly. If you have any suggestions please e-mail us at, twitter us @draftdedeny, or leave a comment below.


Poll closes in T-minus 1 hour. We won't be counting the votes until the ballot boxes are closed (unlike Florida 2000). 

Big news is coming... but to keep those of you thirsty for information here is a piece of information to digest.  According to one piece of fan mail (someone who posted on the political history of NY-23 a few days ago on the Swing State Project) "The last Democrat elected to represent St. Lawrence Co. in Congress was a man named Francis Spinner, elected in 1854. He ran successfully for re-election as a Republican in 1856 and was later appointed as Treasurer of the United States by Abraham Lincoln. It would be poetic, so to speak, if Dede, a St. Lawrence resident, were to now switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party and recapture this seat for us -- becoming the first Democrat to represent St. Lawrence in Congress in over 150 years -- from Democrat to GOP during the time of Lincoln; and from GOP back to Democrat during the time of Obama!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


~13K Votes for the Taking if DeDe Wants Them
The AP reported today that the “Independence Party pledges to support Democrat in possible race for McHugh's 23rd District seat.”

That was the title. It goes on, “The New York Independence Party is pledging to support a Democrat in the special election for the 23rd Congressional District long held by Republican Rep. John McHugh. Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay tells The Associated Press his influential party will support Democratic state Sen. Darrel Aubertine if he decides to run for the seat representing northern New York. Aubertine is considering a run if McHugh wins confirmation to become Democratic President Barack Obama's secretary of the Army. The Independence Party was important in Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy's narrow victory in a special election in March for the 20th Congressional District, another GOP-dominated Upstate district.”

First, Aubertine likely won’t run. Even if he does, DeDe is still a better Democratic candidate for multiple reasons described at great length on this blog. What this story sounds like to us is another incredible incentive for DeDe to come our way.

If you math is right that would mean almost 13K votes for DeDe right out of the gate. If she ran as a Democrat she would likely also garner supporting from the Working Family line which is close to another 6K. After being named a “non-starter” by the Conservative Party line which holds 9K votes that has to make her decision that much easier. If she runs as a moderate Republican she will surely lose, especially if a third candidate were to run on the Conservative line.

The Watertown Daily Times and some other local papers have been trolling through our site (presumable to dig up some additional research on an upcoming story). Maybe that is when we will find out that laying out the case online was worth all the trouble. However, it has been no trouble at all. We are here to help and support DeDe to make the right decision. At this point we would like to offer a toast: “To victory this fall with DeDe on the Democratic ticket.”

PS – Our public poll on the left hand column is almost finished so if you haven’t had a chance please let us know whether you think DeDe should run as a Democrat. Results will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009


That means we are gaining traction in our efforts

The folks at the Swing State Project just CRUSHED the nail on its head with a sludge-hammer when they said, "both the National Journal and PolitickerNY have both tried to get Scozzafava to verify if she's considering a party switch, and both outlets received nothing but radio silence from her camp. If she wasn't considering such a move, why wouldn't she swat down the rumors immediately?"

As if the pressure wasn't building enough we have to refer to yet the third National Journal piece in less than a week (and linked above) that states, "Scozzafava's vote for the gay marriage bill has angered some conservatives who were already dubious of her record, including NY Conservative chair Mike Long, who told us the vote is a "non-starter" for his party's endorsement. That would be a blow to any GOPer, as the Conservative line brought John McHugh (R) over 9K votes in '08. (And as we saw in neighboring NY-20, every vote counts)."

And from some of the comments in our last post we just learned that all of DeDe's money from 2000-present has come from liberal PAC's, including thousands from pro-gay and pro-choice groups, and tons of unions (thanks to her husband Ron McDougall who is the president of the local Central Labor Council). DeDe has a limited fundraising base from individual contributors who raised her around $65,000 over the last 9 years.

After our poll results are finished we are considering undertaking a telemarketing campaign to really pressure DeDe to come to our side (where her natural fundraising base is, not to mention the folks who agree with her on politically) before Rep. McHugh's Senate confirmation hearings. Check back often.


Do You Want to Help Draft Dede And Make a Difference? Here is how.

Due to lots of e-mail asking, "how can I help Draft Dede As a Dem?" we thought we would offer a brief blog tutorial on ways you can be of assistance to our grassroots effort to draft Dede as a Democrat. We will keep this short and sweet so we can get to work on the specifics.

First and most importantly, you can e-mail your friends, family, and neighbors and tell them to get educated on the race for NY-23. A good place to start would be to e-mail
our blog site to your entire e-mail address book. It is important for people to visit our blog often, and to comment in the section below each blog posting so we can have a community discussion on ideas and thoughts out there in the North Country. Also feel free to e-mail us with your own ideas!

Second, you can vote in our open public poll that can be found on the left hand side of the screen. As you can see a huge majority of voters have indicated already that they would like to see Dede Scozzafava run as a Democrat. Be a patriot, get active, and vote in our online poll. There are only two days left in this poll, so if you have already voted be patient and we will have a new poll up on another matter shortly. (Quick note: to the Democratic National Committee staffers and various visitors from the NYS Assembly & Senate, please feel free to vote in our poll; thanks for dropping by and please know that our online poll is there for you too).

Third, if you are a blogger or on online networker you can post a blog on your own site with your thoughts on our draft effort. If you do, please consider linking to
our site. We invite all bloggers from the right and the left of the political spectrum to be active. We want to spread awareness of Dede in the online community and this is a great way to do it. If you are on twitter please also consider joining our Draft Dede as a Democrat Twitter page @draftdedeny. These are the best ways to be of help in this critical moment.

We are confident that our draft effort is becoming viral on the world wide web and you can help facilitate that process. Thank you all for visiting and we will likely do another post with more ideas on ways you can help our effort. We appreciate all of your support so we can change this district.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Draft Dede Effort Gains Major Traction In Two Stories
We told you it was gun'na be HUGE.

Okay so about half of our traffic stops to our unofficial Draft DeDe As a Democrat for Congress site yesterday were from these two major stories (see them below) speculating on whether or not Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava would run as a Democrat in the NY-23rd to replace Representative John McHugh. The Democratic National Committee even made a visit to our site and stayed for awhile. Hopefully they are going to consider some of the solid arguments we have made in why they should aggressively recruit DeDe to run with our party for this election. Now one of the most interesting things about this endeavor is that you learn a lot of new things along the way. For example, one of the stories that picked up on our effort provided some other interesting details on Scozzafava's husband. Apparently he is some kind of big union guy with the AFL-CIO (on a side note that made me wonder if Scozzafava supports Obama's card-check legislation and whether they could be a big fundraising base for her along with Planned Parenthood). Did anyone else know that? Maybe she is more solid on our economic issues than we thought as well (more on that later).

Anyways, we regret to admit that we have not yet gotten Scozzafava completely on our side yet, but she still might and we have hope. According to some staffers in Albany we have been in contact with, the news of this political development just hit and is still fresh. There are a lot of people speculating on a lot of different things going on in the State House so we might just have to sit tight and see how some things play out.

On a positive note Scozzafava has not yet released a statement denying that she would run as a Democrat so our guess is that she is still seriously considering it, especially since
the Democratic field has just thinned a little more as the Syracuse Post-Standard reported today that Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida announced he would not be getting into the race to replace McHugh. And until DeDe asks us to stop our efforts we will continue to push our grassroots out to her, encouraging her to come over to the side where she can really make a difference and survive redistricting in 2012. It seems to us that each day Scozzafava waits before announcing which party she would run with, it is another good day for us because it means she is frustrating the Republican Party just that much longer. Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking and it is in our favor.

Now back to the major stories that are driving this story in the North Country.

Here is the first from the biggest political news site in New York State called

Jimmy Vielkind writes in his piece, Scozzafava as a Democrat for Congress? that, "Certain factions of the Republican party think Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava is too liberal to run for the congressional seat being vacated by John McHugh. But what about running as a member of the other party? As one well-connected Democrat argued to me, 'It's an obvious way to go. She's a moderate, well-liked and known person. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans do with her.' She has not, in the past, been approved by the Republican Party. In 2008, she sought to run for the State Senate seat vacated by Jim Wright, but party elders backed her more conservative colleague Will Barclay, who eventually lost to then-assemblyman Darrell Aubertine. Now, all three are once again mentioned as replacements for McHugh. Barely an hour had passed before Jim Kelly, a conservative campaign consultant who lives on the edge of the district, sent along an email with 'the liberal crap' about Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava. It made reference to her vote to legalize same-sex marriage and a 2005 pledge to 'insure the rights of all women in New York State to control their own reproductive lives, including the right to safe, legal abortion.' All of which would be fine, presumably, with the Democratic Party. Someone has gone to the trouble of setting up a a web site encouraging party leaders to '
draft Dede.' Given some of her positions and strong ties to labor--her husband, Ron McDougall, is the president of the local Central Labor Council--it's not so far-fetched that she would run as a Democrat, particularly if Aubertine opts not to. (He's officially still weighing his options.) Scozzafava did not immediately return calls seeking comment."

here is the second from a major national political news site called the National Journal.

The Journal reports in Don't Go Out Without Your DeDe? that, "While it's still very early in the process, the name that pops out of the large GOP field is Assemb. DeDe Scozzafava (R). Her legislative district lies completely within the boundaries of the CD, and she ran unopposed in '08 after trouncing a Dem opponent in '06. Still, she may have a few problems among the GOP faithful. Scozzafava's a moderate that voted for the recent gay marriage bill that came through the legislature. In fact, she's one of the few GOPers in NY that's also been endorsed by the liberal Working Families Party (she earned their line in '08). Some Dems have even begun a campaign to draft [that is us and it is awesome they picked up on us somehow] her to run as a Dem. All of this would certainly help her grab moderate support, but it would also jeopardize the right flank, too. Do you think the Conservative Party would endorse her? If not, she'd face the likelihood of facing that party's candidate in the general as well."

By the way, kudos to McHugh for testing the waters on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." What an important item for the Obama Administration to get done this year. I know we should be able to get that done with bipartisan support in the Administration and with a Democratic Congress.

We thought those pieces were great, along with the news of McHugh's consideration on DADT. We look forward to more discussion about NY-23 online and in the print/TV/radio media. We want our friends and foes alike to know that this draft effort is really our honest intention to have a robust and open debate about the future of our district without the nuts in the right wing Conservative Party and the southern Republicans interfering too much. Rumor has it that they are trying to talk Dede into filing a lawsuit against our coalition if she is going to get their support (it's the kind of quid-pro-quo dealings that you normally see in Chicago not the North Country). We mean what ever happened to freedom of speech anyways? Maybe that can be a post for another blog on another day -- is the GOP trying to stifle and undermine free speech?

But we have to reiterate it again for those out there who don't understand, "We are still a free country that allows free speech so 'Thank Goodness for the Freedom of Speech.'" But honestly, who could ever try to deny such a fundamental thing in our great country? We know for one that DeDe would never try to stifle a fair, open, and honest debate. After all, she is going to be on our team. We look forward to your e-mails to and twitter comments @draftdedeny. Thanks team and stay true to our worthy cause!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Has Accepted the Margaret Sanger Award and Voted for Same-Sex Marriages

People keep e-mailing into us asking: "If Dede Scozzafava runs as a Democrat will she be a reliable vote on our key social issues? We aren't sure where she is on that key issue." 

Of course, abortion and same-sex marriage are a sort of litmus test in the Democratic Party and so here we are trying to answer the primary question of where Dede Scozzafava is on abortion. Good news for the Democrats on this one though -- from our vantage point this is one of the key reasons why we want Dede Scozzafava to run as a Democrat! We believe she would be good on promoting stem cell research, allowing women to keep having full rights to abortions, and even pro same-sex marriage, not just civil unions (at least she voted for it in the State Assembly). 

Most people don't know this, but one of the frustrations with Darrel Aubertine, even though he is a Democrat, is that he is pro-life and against same-sex marriages. Thanks, but no thanks on those issues Darrel.  

So here is some information on Scozzafava that you might not have known about to prove our point. Hardly anyone knows that Dede Scozzafava has worked with outside progressive groups like the Family Planning Advocates of New York, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, she was even awarded the Margaret Sanger Award in 2008 and was once on the Board of Planned Parenthood, one of our main Democratic fundraising bases. See her speech accepting the pro-choice award on YouTube and tell me she wouldn't be a reliable vote for abortion advocates.

For those of you who don't know who Margaret Sanger is she was one of the earliest advocates for abortion, eugenics, and massive distribution of contraception during the time of the women's liberation movement. She was quite a controversial figure at the time, but she certainly lines up with our values and our culture today, and more so than Darrel Aubertine so we think it is a testament to Scozzafava for being awarded such an honor from such great organization in our progressive movement (even though she accepted it as a Republican). You'll hear the far right fringe go off on Sanger sympathizers from time to time; they did it to Hillary Clinton on multiple occasions this year. In the end we are confident that Scozzafava will not try to distance herself from her views on abortion or Margaret Sanger. The people on the right will try to say that Sanger was a radical and that she even worked with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) trying to create a more "purified" stable, white-only race. They level charges of racism at Sanger because of her views on eugenics. But mostly it is a bunch of hogwash and I am sure it will play out as a bunch of hogwash.

To be frank, Sanger was just doing what she felt was right during those challenging times. Sanger worked with hundreds of community groups in the Northeast to promote her agenda and that is what we see in Dede, and advocate for liberal regulations on abortion, stem cell research, and hopefully some types of cloning so we can create economic development here again. We hope this post answers some of your questions, and thanks to all of you readers for asking them. (On a side note our former New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton also accepted the same Margaret Sanger Award earlier this year in Texas soon after she was confirmed as our Secretary of State). Birds of a feather flock together. 

Dede, we are birds of the same feather, lets get together.



Picking up Dede Scozzafava to run on the Democratic line to replace Representative John McHugh in the NY-23rd would be the equivalent to the Calgary Flames picking up Brett Hull in the sixth round, as the 117th overall pick of the NHL Draft. It would be really, totally HUGE, maybe even the Billy Fucillo Auto Mall kind of HUGE!!!

To bad for the Flames they traded Hull, because he never developed a good relationship with Flames coach Terry Crisp. “The Golden Brett” later went on to become a Hall-of-Famer and the third all-time leading goal scorer in NHL history. We only refer to the Flames-Hull analogy, not to rehash the Flames poor decision-making, but because: 1) something can be learned from this situation and it can be applied to the NY-23rd, 2) hockey is awesome and the sport of choice for most reasonable souls in the district so we hope people will be able relate to said analogy, and 3) because, again, it just fits so well with the current dynamic we have been talking about in the NY-23rd all week (and I love hockey).

So here we go – a key lesson can be learned from the Flames mistake of passing on Hull. The Flames underestimated how inexplicably HUGE Brett Hull’s career would turn out to be, and they didn’t think of him as a typical player (he was only 5’10’’) and because of their natural bias. Old Flames fans show visual signs of deep regret and remorse when they look back and realize that Hull had actually scored over 100 goals in less than 60 games in the minors. Here is a lesson that every DCCC staffer and DNC operative working on candidate recruitment should never forget – never underestimate how good some people really are until you find out more about them (it’s a common mistake in sports, life, and yes, politics).

Now that my hockey lesson is out of the way I want to follow back to the discussion of poaching Dede, the term one shame of a blog used in describing our effort, from the dying party from the South. It comes down to this –politics is about winning and we are “poaching” Scozzafava for both her own good and for ours. The funny thing is we have a natural bias against Dede because she has an R at the end of her name (she probably doesn’t even know why she has an R at the end of her name, but she always had it there so it made sense after awhile). We recognize this, but we are also open-minded and looking into the facts of the situation, looking to see where Scozzafava is on the issues. And if you get to know Dede in a personal way or a political way, as some of our team has, you learn fairly quickly that she is a very kind and compassionate woman, even going back before her time as Mayor of Gouverneur. She is truly an independent thinker with a progressive philosophy. But not only that, once you get to know Scozzafava just a little bit it is sometimes hard to remember she has an R at the end of her name when she is in Albany. That is why we like her.

From a party prospective: We smell blood and need to strike, and do it now in this special election. Elections have consequences and for the Republican Party that is going to mean it will be closing its doors for business in virtually the entire Northeast. Obama’s team has done an incredible job in taking over NY-20 this year, trying to get Senator Judd Gregg out of New Hampshire, and pushing Arlen Specter off the Republican cliff in the Keystone State. Now he has given us this opportunity in NY-23. We must follow Obama’s lead and change the way we do things, take advantage the confusion present in the situation and fill the political vacuum.

As most of you have followed the race know, there are only three Republicans with federal elective positions left from New York: Rep. Peter King from Long Island, Rep. Chris Lee from Buffalo, and Rep. John McHugh from just south of Canada. King may run for US Senate this cycle (if he does we look forward to seeing his political career end in an embarrassing 70-30% defeat). Lee was a self-financer who barely pulled off victory by the skin of his teeth. If we keep the State Senate we could always redistrict him into permanent irrelevance. We all know now that McHugh will be history in short notice and quite frankly we can use his seat to divide and conquer the GOP once and for assuming we pick the right candidate for the job, Dede Scozzafava.

So when thinking about the Flames-Hull analogy, also think of the DNC-Scozzafava connection. DNC, you want Scozzafava and you need her; please don’t lose her. The DNC and the New York Democratic Party cannot let this opportunity slide away, not when we know she would mean the death-knoll to the Republican Party, and that she would add another voice of reason to our ranks in the US Congress. Whether your motivation and desire is to see our district actually have a place on the map with a competent representative who can get things done with the party in charge, or whether you favor a liberal-progressive philosophical ideology, you cannot get any better than Dede Scozzafava. And compared to Aubertine she is better on our issues. Consider the Hotline, a national political update site, report that said, “Aubertine is a conservative Dem who is against gay marriage and is ‘well-versed’ in rural issues (he's a dairy farmer)” (Benjamin, “Daily Politics,” New York Daily News, 6/2).

From Dede’s prospective: We admit, she is going to need some more cover before this move happens. Which means we need to keep building support both politically and otherwise. We can tell you that we know Scozzafava has been considering a few things on this end according to close allies of hers. First they say that she is very, very nervous about not getting the conservative party endorsement and she thinks it could be much tougher to win the GOP nomination and then the special election without their help and endorsement. The Conservative Party makes up a hardcore base in high-intensity political battles like this one (although the county GOP & DEM leadership teams will likely determine their respective nominees behind closed doors). Still, there is probably some truth to Dede’s fear that siphoning conservative support could doom her chances.  The Hotline also reported that the possibility of the CD "disappearing" following 2012 redistricting "doesn't scare her, either.”… But the process "might break against" her, as she "supports same-sex marriage, a position that might cause" GOP officials to "balk" and would likely cost her the Conservative Party line (Vielkind, PolitickerNY, 6/2).

This line of reasoning has Scozzafava in a real tizzy because even if she were to 1) miraculously win the GOP nomination, then 2) win the special election, and then 3) survive redistricting in 2012, she would still have 4) major headaches (find more on the redistricting debate here). For one, Scozzafava would face an incredible onslaught of Republicans trying to “eat their own” moderates on the national level. The daily criticism from the hardcore fringe right both locally and nationally would take every opportunity and stop at nothing to mock Scozzafava to the point where we would all be tone deaf. For evidence look to see how Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Olympia Snowe, former Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, and former Republican (now Democrat) Sen. Arlen Specter were treated by their party in recent times. We have also heard from Dede’s people that “she is nervous that national Republicans would try to strong arm her on their key votes, limiting her independence and conscience on votes. Does Dede really want to be a pawn of a party retreating to the South, or does she want to make a difference and vote her conscience,” which is the right thing for her to do personally and for the constituents in the 23rd.

Hindsight is 20-20, so they say. Hindsight says the Flames should have never, ever traded what would have been their franchise player, Brett Hull. Hull was a guy who could have really put Calgary on the map, instead they missed their opportunity and sometimes you only get one shot at it. Democrats and Dede both have a choice to make with their one shot. One thing is for certain about the decisions they both will make: They are gun’na be HUUUUUUUUGGGGGE!

Thursday, June 4, 2009




Several mainstream media pieces and local blogs hint at the idea that Democrats can win with a good candidate in NY-23. No kidding! They are ALL speculating that Senator Darrel Aubertine won't run for the seat due to pressure being put on him to stay in the Senate. However, that is the mainstream media talking. According to our inside information, Darrel wants to stay put in New York, not because Democrats will be able to maintain a majority in the State Senate, but because his family doesn't want him to be traveling constantly back and forth from Washington to Cape Vincent and back EVERY WEEK. Some interesting flavor is being put out by the GOP, too. Constantly downplaying their chances in NY-23, the Republican Party is in a real tizzy to say the least.

That is why it is even more important for us to work hard and get Dede on board with our team. If we are successful, and I think we can be, Democrats will be virtually unstoppable in taking this seat (and countless future local elections). It would be a major coup for the North Country, no doubt. 

Here are the stories for your review (pay close attention to the story-line being created and think NY-20):

The Albany Project Blog Reports on the anticompetitive play to make the GOP competitive in NY-23rd, a Congressional District at a Glance by Robert Harding: "Dede Scozzafava, Will Barclay and Janet Duprey, three Republican Assembly members who are seen as potential candidates for the 23rd Congressional District seat, are all more liberal than Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine on social issues. Aubertine would be the obvious Democratic candidate for Congress and is considering making the race, but his colleagues in the state Senate are trying to persuade him not to run for fear that if he does and wins, they'd lose the Senate seat and with it their majority. The Republicans, coincidentally, put out a new report today on how to make their party competitive again in New York state. I have an idea for them: Offer to cross-endorse Aubertine for the congressional seat. It's the principled thing to do as far as advancing conservative policies, and the GOP needs to reassure its conservative base; Aubertine would probably beat the Republican candidate anyway; and it puts the Senate in play, laying the groundwork there for a new Republican majority in 2010."  

Think Progress' Matthew Yglesias reports: "My guess is that the main political implications here relate to redistricting. Even if a Republican wins the seat, a cloutless freshperson is going to be a very likely candidate for getting screwed-over in a redistricting process that's likely to require New York to eliminate a congressional district."  

The BooMan Tribune writes: "[NY-23 is] effectively a New England seat. It's unclear if the Republicans will be able to win a special election there to fill this vacancy. McHugh has been winning the district with over sixty-percent of the vote, but Obama took 50.33% of the vote in the November election. [...] This move by Obama has to be driving the Republicans nuts."  

The Politico's Stealth War... Barack Obama sabotages Republicans by Charles Mahtesian: "Yet it’s also hard to find a choice better calibrated to meet the Obama administration’s political imperatives. All at once, Obama has selected a nominee who burnishes his bipartisan credentials, opened up a seat prime for Democratic pickup and drained the GOP reservoir of one of the few remaining Northeastern moderates. It’s an event that’s happening with enough frequency to suggest the presence of a design, a plan that not only sketches the outline of a reelection strategy but manages to drive a wedge into the opposition at the same time. Call it a Sherman’s March in reverse — an audacious attempt by Obama to burn down any lines of escape for Republicans from their one refuge of popularity, the deep South. Since taking office in January, Obama has made an effort to convert GOP moderates in nearly every region of the country, ranging from a former Midwestern congressman, Ray LaHood, who became transportation secretary, to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who was recently named ambassador to China.

Swing State Project's NY-23 Roundup states: "On the Democratic side, a lot of attention has been paid to Aubertine. If we had a 33 to 29 majority in the New York State Senate, it would be an easier decision. But with a 32 to 30 majority, the decision becomes a much more difficult one. Losing Aubertine could mean losing his seat, leading to a split in the Senate and a legislative nightmare... The enrollment figures for the district aren't too bad. The Republicans do have an enrollment edge over Democrats, but with the minor party lines and blanks, that edge can be erased... By comparison, NY-20 had a greater disparity between Democrats and Republicans, yet we still managed to win. If we can mobilize our base and get our voters out and find some supporters among the minor parties and blanks, we can win this. The Republicans will try to lower expectations, but on paper, they should win this race. However, if we do what we did in NY-20, we can win this. Having a solid candidate will only makes thing better for us and improve our chances in a special election."

You see the story-line. Now lets get Dede to announce as a Democrat. She is right on our issues and we will win with her. What a fresh breath of air she would be for our district in Washington.


We are overwhelmed by the support and encouragement to promote Dede as a viable Democratic contender for the New York 23rd. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and ideas to help.

One of the main things people have been asking is how we see the race unfolding and what arguments we can make to Dede Scozzafava to show her the reasoning in switching parties for the race when she could just as well run as a Republican and have a shot at the race. We know it is not an easy thing to do, but we know it is the right move for her and here is why. 

Consider this Democrats, with Dede Scozzafava WE ARE ALL WINNERS.

We are all winners on multiple levels with Dede Scozzafava running as a Democrat because:

1) We maintain the majority in the New York State Senate, allowing us to have key political control over the redistricting process in 2010 and majority control of the State Senate. This is crucial to get our judges and our agenda through the state legislature, and 2) we have a very, very real chance at winning the New York 23rd district and accomplishing tangible things for our region with Scozzafava, a Democratic Congress and Obama's Administration.

Now we have a few contentions that we would like to share on that point, and which we will be pushing out to our personal networks and through grassroots activity online in the coming days.  

First and foremost, Dede Scozzafava has an incredible record in the New York State Assembly that lines up with the National Democratic Party Platform.  That has already been outlined in our initial rollout, but there is more to her record that we will follow up on in the coming days.  From equal protection under the law for same-sex couples, to economic development and community service, health care, and empathy for seniors and the middle class, etc.  

Second, if Scozzfava were a Democrat in the US Congress she could do more for our district in working with the Obama Administration.  One of her key responses in asking why she is interested in the position is so that she could work on national security and foreign policy issues, which she is not able to address on the state level.  The Democratic Party welcomes and would benefit greatly from Scozzafava's voice on these matters. She could actually get things accomplished for the district and be able to work with the large majorities in Congress and in the Administration.

Third, running as a Republican is a risky proposition.  The field is large and the district is expansive. Scozzafava would likely have to compete for the GOP nomination with the likes of her well-known colleagues including: Assemblyman Will Barclay, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, Senator Elizabeth Little, Senator Joseph Griffo, and a handful of other influential names in the mix. That is some stiff competition considering Assemblyman Barclay was endorsed by Congressman John McHugh just last year for the special State Senate election.  Barclay also has the added advantage of having built a campaign team just months ago that he could quickly mobilize for this upcoming run.  

Finally, we would like to point out that a key left blog in the district has already picked up on the idea and it gained some favorable traction, proving again that Scozzafava would be welcomed in our party as a new female voice. You can find that article at Jefferson Leaning Left -

This could have incredible implications since Darrell Aubertine could keep his NYS Senate seat (thus securing Democratic control of the State Senate for redistricting purposes).  Our goal over the next several days and weeks is to build stronger alliances with both Republicans, Independents, and Democrats in order to gain a stronger consensus on this initiative. Please e-mail us at or follow our updates on our new twitter page @draftdedeny.  If you see Dede Scozzafava please ask her to consider this important decision.  The Democratic Party would welcome her and our coalition would see to it that she is elected as our next representative.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



Scozzafava’s Record and Issues in the NYS Assembly Line Up with the Democratic Party Platform

If you want the next Representative from the 23rd Congressional District to serve as a fiscal and social progressive who will increase federal revenues through sales taxes, legalize marijuana use, subsidize and sustain government programs and jobs, accept modern approaches to traditional marriage and give federal benefits to same-sex couples, be involved in redistricting with the Democratic Party, and legislate like our great former Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then please take a close look at Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava and join our coalition.

We are a broad group of private citizens encouraging Scozzafava to make a formal announcement of her intention to run for Congress (as a Democrat). We will be there for her and we know that she can win this special election which will garner significant national attention for our issues and ideas. Our coalition is currently working with some select members of the Scozzafava leadership team. We are also working with outside activists and national Democratic Party leaders to encourage and garner the much needed public support for Scozzafava to resign her Assembly seat, as Jim Tedisco did while running for NY 20th district, and change her party affiliation to run in the NY-23rd district. This initiative became increasingly popular among our current group of progressive when it became apparent that our best name-ID candidate, State Senator Darrel Aubertine, would not enter his name into the contest in order to maintain our current political advantage for Democrats in the NYS Senate.

We can trust Scozzafava to advocate for our values in the US Congress on a whole range of issues, and with her as our candidate we can ensure a new Democrat advantage in many down ticket races with Scozzafava’s name at the top of the ballot in future local elections.  One line of reasoning is that in the fall Republicans will assuredly remember Scozzafava as a Republican from previous election cycles, but at the same time Democrats will vote for her as our leading candidate, thus ensuring our taking back the 23rd Congressional District for the first time since the Civil War, and despite an almost 50,000 disadvantage in voter registration. We are excited at the prospect of this upcoming campaign and look forward to hearing Scozzafava’s moderate message, which we believe will resonate with voters similar to the way former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s message resonated with the North Country.  Simply put, we need your help to improve the district and for the complete Democratic political takeover of the state. 

OUR AGENDA RAISING TAXES FOR COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: Just two weeks ago Scozzafava sponsored and introduced legislation (A08477) to raise the sales tax on Lewis County, “to extend the authorization granted to Lewis county to impose an additional three-quarters of one percent of sales and compensating use taxes…” (Scozzafavalegislation A08477 introduced to the Ways and Means Committee in the NYS Assembly on 5/21/09).

ACCEPTING THE MARGARET SANGER AWARD & SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE IDEAS YOU CAN COUNT ON: We are pleased to note that on March 10th, 2008 Dede Scozzafava accepted the Margaret Sanger Award at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. Most Republicans would never accept such an award, and for that Scozzafava should be applauded. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) presented Secretary Hillary Clinton with the Margaret Sanger Award at its annual awards dinner on March 27, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Sanger founded an organization in 1916 that became Planned Parenthood, a strong ally for the Democratic Party and its candidates. Margaret Sanger’s crusade to legalize birth control and promote abortion around the world spurred the movement for women's liberation. (Scozzafava Remarks at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY, 3/10/08).

AN ETHICS AGENDA & DEMOCRAT PLANS ON REDISTRICTING AND PUBLIC FINANCE FOR ELECTIONS: One of Scozzafava’s official NYS Assembly publications states, “The residents deserve true representation through redistricting and finance reform and with the new governor’s help [Former Gov. Elliot Spitzer], I am confident we can deliver.” You can also trust that Scozzafava supports strict ethical guidelines in government. She strongly supports the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a measure that helps assist African Americans and Hispanics in urban areas bolster the Democratic turnout in general elections. During her time in the state legislature Scozzafava was in full support of Former Governor Elliot Spitzer’s proposed government and ethics reform agenda. (Scozzafava OfficialNYS Assembly Publication, “Governor Spitzer Discusses Welcomed Change,” 1/5/07).

SUPPORTING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE (SSM) & OPPOSING THE DEATH PENALTYOn a core social issue for our party Scozzafava is 100% with us, and 100% against the Republican Party. She was one of only three members of her party in New York State to be recognized by the Log Cabin Republicans for her support of SSM.  Scozzafava is also heavily supported by NARAL, (again) is pro gay-marriage and pro civil union, and even against the death penalty (our tri-fecta). Scozzafava would be a great pick for our party because at least four members in the Democratic legislature caucus are on record against marriage equality in New York. And despite being a registered Republican right nowScozzafava said in an interview that “the ‘easy vote politically’ would have been to oppose the bill and tell her gay constituents in her hometown of 5,000 that she would work to win them civil unions.” Scozzafava would be a key Democratic leader for GBLT issues, and vote as a moderate on other key social issues in the US Congress, including the legalization of marijuana in New York. (The Villager, “Scozzafava Publically Announces Support for Homosexuality,” 6/27/07-7/3/07 / The Oswego Democrat, “Scozzafava Supports Marijuana Use in New York,” 4/22/09). 

Join us by e-mailing our team at