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Floridians bombarded with political ads

   CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. -- For any New Yorkers lamenting the state's super-Democratic status and lack of a presidential campaign, there is an upside. New Yorkers are not under a bombardment of political ads as are voters in Florida.

   Florida, of course, is a "swing state," maybe the most important state of all. With 19 million people and 29 electoral votes, it may rank as the most coveted battleground turf in all of America. That's why local television is saturated with ads for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, each spending millions of dollars on the all-important Florida vote.

   And it's not even Labor Day yet.

--Robert J. McCarthy


Wrong-way driver diverts local delegation

  CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Some members of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention got an unexpected ride part of the way to Fort Meyers -- way south of here -- on their way back from the welcome party in St. Petersburg Sunday night.

   The bus driver carrying the delegates and their spouses was supposed to head north from St. Petersburg to Clearwater, but instead he turned south. By the time he figured out he was going in the wrong direction, he had turned what should have been a half-hour ride into a 90-minute odyssey.

   Someone from the back of the bus alerted the driver to his mistake, said Dorothy Morgan, wife of Orleans County Republican Chairman Ed Morgan.

   "The bus driver said he wasn't from around here and didn't know the way," Morgan said. "There was a police officer on board, and he didn't know where he was going, either."

    Thankfully, the bus eventually arrived safety at the Hilton hotel on Clearwater Beach, where the New York delegation is staying.

--Jerry Zremski

Video: Zremski, McCarthy report from GOP convention in Tampa

News reporters Jerry Zremski and Bob McCarthy report from Tampa where Republicans decided to scrap the first day of their national convention because of Tropical Storm Isaac:

Five Questions with Stefan Mychajliw

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.


Stefan Mychajliw, a former television reporter, is running for county comptroller. (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

Stefan Iwan Mychajliw Jr.

The Basics:
Age: 38
Party: Endorsed Republican, Independence and Conservative candidate for Erie County Comptroller
Job Title: Business owner, co-founder of “Profit Media Group” public relations firm
Family: Youngest of seven children, proud father of our 6-year-old daughter Mia, who, thank heavens, has her mother’s brains and good looks
Town: Buffalo’s East Side, grew up near William and Fillmore, now lives in Kaisertown
Education: Elementary school: Buffalo Public School No. 33; high school: Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts; college: Syracuse University

Continue reading "Five Questions with Stefan Mychajliw" »

The Read: Political chatter from elsewhere

Each Saturday on the Politics Now blog, you'll find a list of stories that caught the eyes of The News' political reporters. Here's a sampling of what they were reading this week:

Medicare continues to be in the political spotlight, both nationally and in Western New York, where last year's special House election in NY-26 (now NY-27) proved that campaigning on the future of the health care program could be a winning strategy. 

Politifact evaluates Democrats' latest claim that Republicans voted to "end Medicare as we know it." This, after the fact-checking site awarded Democrats their "lie of the year" honor to the party's claim that the GOP voted to "end Medicare." (Hence the addendum.) 

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Medicare plan would have patients paying more, reports Jackie Calmes of the New York Times. 

Janna Ryan was once on the opposite end of the political spectrum from her husband, Paul, and left a career on Capitol Hill to raise a family in Wisconsin, writes Susan Saulny and Christine Haughney of the Times.

The New Yorker's Jane Mayer looks at President Obama's impatience with big-money donors, likening his fundraising style to "speed dating." 

Ta-Nehisi Coates calls Obama a "conservative revolutionary" in a lengthy Atlantic article about race. 

And in state politics, another member of the state Legislature is in trouble. Assemblyman Vito Lopez of Brooklyn was stripped of his committee chairmanship following allegations of sexual harassment, Ken Lovett and Glenn Blain of the Daily News report. Lopez denies the allegations.


Video: McCarthy on conventions, Erie County Democrats

As Bob McCarthy prepares to leave for the presidential conventions, he talks with Brian Meyer about their impact on campaigns. He also discusses a former Buffalo mayor who is eyeing the possibility of heading the Erie County Democratic Party:

Buffalo Dems still raising funds for Slaughter

  Rep. Louise M. Slaughter may be shuffling out of Buffalo as a result of reapportionment, but that doesn't mean she is abandoning her old district when it comes to raising money.

   The Fairport Democrat, who is facing the toughest re-election challenge of her long career against Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, attracted more than 50 supporters to a fund-raiser at the Damon and Morey law firm in the Avant Building on Wednesday, according to several sources who attended the event.

   The event was hosted by Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan.

   The congresswoman is still recovering from a serious leg injury when she fell in New York City earlier this year, but those who attended the Wednesday event said she appeared to be in fine form.

   And with a significant amount of campaign funds stemming from the event that started at $250 a ticket, she may feel even better after her latest trip to Buffalo.

--Robert J. McCarthy

What happened when Collins bought Buffalo China?

First came Chris Collins' first ad. Then came Kathy Hochul's response. That was followed by Collins' response to the response.

The latest hubbub in the race for the New York's 27th Congressional centers around what happened when a group of investors that included Collins bought Buffalo China Co. in 2004 and turned it into Niagara Ceramics Corp.

You can read up on the issue yourself. We've uploaded two stories from the Buffalo News archives.

The stories appeared March 13, 2004, and March 30, 2004. The first -- "Buffalo China Co. is gone" -- describes the transaction as the plant was sold. The second -- "Making it in Buffalo" -- is a profile of Collins.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

Primary candidates debate issues

The YWCA of Western New York, Partnership for the Public Good and City & State NY hosted an evening of candidate debates tonight in the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum. First was Assemblyman Sean Ryan and his primary opponents, Kevin Gaughan and Joseph Mascia for the 149th Assembly seat. Next, State Sen. Tim Kennedy debated his challenger for the 63rd Senate district, County Legislator Betty Jean Grant. Republicans vying for the 147th District Assembly seat – David DiPietro and Chris Lane – followed. Listen to the full debates below:

Ryan, Gaughan and Mascia (Gaughan's intro is not included because he chose to give his off stage):

Kennedy and Grant:

DiPietro and Lane (the audio temporarily cuts out midway through due to a memory storage issue):

Candidates for state assembly and senate asked for positions on expanding Peace Bridge plaza and new bridge.

Video: Jerry Zremski -- The Week in Washington

The News' Jerry Zremski takes a look at what will be going on in Washington this week, and how it will impact Western New York.

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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 |