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Gaughan, Ryan spar over "push pill"

   The Democratic primary campaign for the Assembly seat now held by Sean M. Ryan of Buffalo has drawn little attention through the early stages of political season -- until now.
   Challenger Kevin P. Gaughan delivered the first blast of the campaign Thursday by accusing his opponent of conducting a "push poll" that was spreading false information. In a letter to Ryan, Gaughan said he plans to conduct his campaign on a high level as long as Ryan promised to refrain from such practices as well as any more taxpayer funded mailings as the September election approaches.
  "Under the guise of surveying voters, your campaign is calling residents and making exaggerated and erroneous claims about me, my private life, and my public views, all in an effort to 'push' voter support away from me and, presumably, toward you," he said.
   "I'd expect this behavior from a long-time pol," Gaughan added.  "But I would not expect it from a young lawyer just starting out in government.  Especially one who wants to be viewed as a progressive public servant.
   Gaughan said he objected to Ryan's attempt to influence the campaign by spreading what he called false information during the course of telephone interviews disguised as poll questions.
   "Sean, you’ve been in Albany less than a year. Our competition for this seat has existed less than a month," Gaughan said. "And your first step is to employ a destructive, discredited  tactic that pols have used to harm folks for decades. And you do it to a fellow Democrat."
   Ryan denied he was conducting a push poll and said Gaughan was off base by comparing his effort to tactics used in national races. He also denied any attempt by his pollsters to include in their questions information about Gaughan's private life.
   "I don't know anything about his private life," Ryan said. "I don't even know the guy."
   The assemblyman also said he had abided by all Assembly rules and regulations in his constituent mailings, which Gaughan charged were frequently appearing as Primary Day draws closer.

Robert J. McCarthy

Audio: Meyer chats about the Affordable Healthcare Act on WBFO

Now that the Affordable Care Act has been deemed constitutional, it is expected to set off plenty of debate in the political arena. In this week's Press Pass conversation, WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley and Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer talk about the reaction that is underway over the new healthcare law.

Download the audio here.

NYPIRG crunches 2012 session numbers

ALBANY -- Bill Mahoney, the Excel Wizard at the New York Public Interest Research Group, is out with his statistal take on the recently concluded 2012 session.

Mahoney provides the Albany version of total hits, runs, strikeouts, wins and losses for lawmakers and the governor. The information he compiled shows everything from which senator had the most bills pass both houses -- Sen. Cathy Young, a Republican from Olean -- to which lawmakers never, ever voted no on any of the bills reaching the floor this year -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was one of them.

There's also a handy breakdown on records pertaining to missed votes, and which lawmakers vote most like their partisan leader (Hint: a lot).

Here's Mahoney's report (1.2MB pdf).

--Tom Precious

Five questions with Chris Scanlon

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.

CHRISTOPHER SCANLONChristopher P. Scanlon interviewed with the Common Council on May 15 and was appointed to the South District seat the next day. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News File Photo) 

Christopher P. Scanlon


The Basics
Age: 30

Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, South District

Family: Married to Katie (Wopperer) Scanlon, no children. Son of John and Paula Scanlon, six siblings.  

Education: Bishop Timon St. Jude High School; A.S. Business Administration, Erie Community College.

Party affiliation: Democrat

Previous work experience: Assistant manager, WNY Pub Group; shift manager, UPS. 

City salary: $52,000

Continue reading "Five questions with Chris Scanlon" »

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |