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Cantor stars at two Collins events in Amherst

 By Robert J. McCarthy

    Chris Collins benefited from one more Republican celebrity aiding his fund raising efforts Wednesday when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia starred at two events in Amherst.

    Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said late Wednesday Cantor was in town and ready to preside over a $1,000 per person event at the home of businessman Robert Fox, followed by a $150 per person affair at Sonoma Grille.

   Cantor is no stranger to the Western New York GOP fundraising scene. He has previously been in town to help Republican congressional candidates Christopher J. Lee and Jane L. Corwin.

National handicappers leaning toward Collins over Hochul

  By Robert J. McCarthy

 Two top political prognostication web sites are now moving the hot congressional race between Democrat Kathleen C. Hochul and Republican Chris Collins from "toss-up" to the "leaning Republican" category.

   The reports come from the Rothenberg Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball.

   The Rothenberg report reads:

   Rep. Kathy Hochul may still be the best candidate Democrats have in the Empire State, but the dynamics of the most GOP district in the state appear to be moving against her in a solid way. Republican Chris Collins has improved his standing among the GOP, especially in critical Erie County, and some Democrats privately admit this may be moving away from them as well. The self-funding Collins now has a narrow edge, though with outside groups on both sides still spending big here, this race is far from over.

   The Sabato report reads:

    There’s little question that 2011 special election winner Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) is a better candidate than ex-Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R). But this Western New York district is the most Republican in the state, and even though the race is tied — 47 percent to 47 percent in a recent Siena poll — it just seems like Collins, as the Republican, has a clearer path to victory, even though Hochul has a three-quarters of a million dollar cash-on-hand advantage over Collins and an appealing personal style. But sometimes the district fundamentals are just too tough, and this is territory where President Obama only got 44 percent of the vote in 2008.

Election Day coverage on


The Buffalo News and will have you covered on Election Day from the minute you wake up until the results unfold.

Live chat
Starting at 10 a.m., we'll have a live chat with guests to talk about the important issues, key races and the latest updates from across Western New York. Reporters Mary Pasciak and Patrick Lakamp will be your hosts. We'll also bring you insight from Political Reporter Bob McCarthy and Columnist Donn Esmonde. Here's what we have so far in terms of guests:

*10 a.m.: Reporter Gene Warner on what early-morning voters were saying at the polls

*10:30 a.m.: Deputy Managing Editor Stan Evans on what to watch for throughout the day

*11 a.m.: Washington Columnist Doug Turner on the national scene

*12 p.m.: Turner and Managing Editor Brian Connolly open it up for a discussion with readers

*1:10 p.m.: Health Reporter Henry Davis on health care issues

*1:40 p.m.: Business Editor Grove Potter on economic issues

*2:10 p.m.: Siena Research Institute pollster Steven A. Greenberg

*2:40 p.m.: Editorial Page Editor John Neville on The Buffalo News' endorsement process

*3:10 p.m.: Reporter Dan Herbeck on the Seneca Nation elections

*3:40 p.m.: Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski reports from Chicago

*4:10 p.m.: Buffalo News Editor Mike Connelly gives a Florida perspective

*4:40 p.m.: Reporter Jay Rey from the swing state of Ohio

*4:55 p.m.: Reporter Matt Glynn on local town board upsizing votes

*5:10 p.m.: Reporter Barbara O'Brien on area State Assembly races

*5:40 p.m.: Reporter Sandra Tan on the Erie County comptroller's race

*6:10 p.m.: Rochester D&C Reporter Jessica Alaimo on the Slaughter-Brooks race

*6:25 p.m.: Reporter Thomas J. Prohaska on the Witryol-Maziarz State Senate race

*6:40 p.m.: Reporter Denise Jewell Gee on the Collins-Hochul race

*7:10 p.m.: Reporter Charity Vogel on the Grisanti-Amodeo-Swanick race

*7:40 p.m.: Reporter Tom Precious reports from Boston

*8 p.m.: Metro Columnist Donn Esmonde chimes in

*8:30 p.m.: Political Reporter Bob McCarthy

Live video
Hosted by reporters Brian Meyer and Phil Fairbanks, we'll have updates every half hour starting at noon, and then wall-to-wall coverage starting at 8 p.m. Our guests will include Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski who will be reporting from Chicago and Reporter Tom Precious from Boston.

*12 p.m.: Reporter Gene Warner on what early-morning voters were saying at the polls

*12:30 p.m.: Reporter Jay Rey from the swing state of Ohio

*1 p.m.: Reporter Henry Davis talks about health care issues and the election

*1:30 p.m.: Business Editor Grove Potter on the economy

*2 p.m.: Siena Research Institute pollster Steven A. Greenberg

*2:30 p.m.: Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski reports from Chicago

*3 p.m.: Editorial Writer Kevin Walter on The Buffalo News' endorsement process

*3:30 p.m.: Reporter Dan Herbeck on issues in the Seneca Nation election

*4 p.m.: Reporter Tom Precious reports from Boston

*4:30 p.m.: Reporter Jay Rey reports from Ohio

*5 p.m.: Reporter Barbara O'Brien reports on area State Assembly races

*5:30 p.m.: Reporter Sandra Tan on the Erie County comptroller race

*6 p.m.: Rochester D&C Reporter Jessica Alaimo on the Slaughter-Brooks race

*6:30 p.m.: Reporter Denise Jewell Gee on the Hochul-Collins race

*7 p.m.: Reporter Charity Vogel on the Grisanti-Amodeo-Swanick race

*7:30 p.m.: Albany Bureau Chief Tom Precious reports from Boston

The latest results
When the polls close, will deliver the latest numbers from across the region, the state and the country.

Zellner elated over first fundraising effort

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   New Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner is feeling quite pleased with himself following his first fundraiser Monday night at the Hotel @ Lafayette.

   "It was an overwhelming success," he said as he issued a string of superlatives. "More than 250 people came, and we raised a good buck."

   Zellner presides over a party still split along several political fault lines, but nevertheless was pleased that his new administration exhibited such support in his first effort. He said Mayor Byron W. Brown was overseeing hurricane efforts on Monday, but top allies like Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes and attorney Adam W. Perry were there, as well as other elected officials and representatives of several unions.

Reed gains Houghton endorsement

By Robert J. McCarthy

   The long timeface of Congress in the Southern Tier has announced his endorsement of fellow Republican Tom Reed of Corning for the 23rd Congressional District.

   Former Rep. Amo Houghton, also of Corning, said this week he is "enthusastically" endorsing Reed over Democrat Nate Shinagawa.

   Though Republicans backing fellow Republicans usually may not merit headlines, most political observers believe Houghton remains a respected figure in Washington and the Southern Tier, and that his endorsement matters.

     " I enthusiastically support Tom and endorse him for election,” Houghton said. “We need his practical, bipartisan approach. Tom is someone that we are and can be proud of.”  

   Reed responded: “It’s very humbling to have such great support from someone whom I respect so much. Amo and I speak often and his advice is central to the way we approach representing people.”

Even the dead have an interest in State Senate's control

By Tom Precious

ALBANY –- State Sen. Ron Stafford was a powerbroker during his nearly 40 years in Albany. From the grave, he’s apparently still trying to influence things here and help his Senate Republican allies.

On Saturday, the Committee to Re-Elect Senator Stafford donated $2,000 to Albany-area Republican George Amedore in his effort to win next week and help the Republicans keep control of the Senate.

Stafford died in June 2005.

The new donation from Stafford, who lived in Plattsburgh, showed up today in the state Board of Elections disclosure requirements that campaigns must reveal each day until election day any donations over $1,000.

Over the years, Stafford’s widow, Kay, has been able to direct where the funds can be spent from the campaign cash leftover at the time of his death. Slowly over the past seven years, the funds have dropped from a little over $100,000 to $27,000 as of this past July when the late senator’s campaign –- yes, it is still technically an active New York state political campaign committee -– last filed its financial disclosure report with the state elections board.

Donations from lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, who can tap into former campaign accounts to help their lobbying businesses, are pretty common in Albany. It’s a bit rare for campaigns of dead lawmakers to keep on giving, but it does happen. Sandra Lee Wirth, a former Assembly Republican from Erie County who died in 2006, still has, for instance, $26,000 left in her campaign fund.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Amedore said this afternoon the Stafford committee donation has been returned.


NYSUT gives $100,000 to Erie County Democrats

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The state’s politically potent union representing teachers has pumped $100,000 into the Erie County Democratic Party’s coffers, a portion of which is likely to help the financially struggling campaign of Democrat Michael Amodeo in next week’s state Senate race.

The New York State United Teachers union, which earlier this month cancelled a pro-Amodeo ad campaign that was to cost at least $150,000, donated the six-figure amount to the county party a week ago, according to campaign filings made public today.

While the union did not directly give the $100,000 to Amodeo, the county party can spend the funds on behalf of him – or any other candidates it may be trying to help elect next week. Jeremy Zellner, chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, did not immediately return calls for comment this afternoon.

Local members of NYSUT have been conducting phone calling operations and neighborhood canvassing on behalf of Amodeo and the statewide NYSUT union based outside Albany has endorsed him over incumbent Sen. Mark Grisanti. The union, among its priorities, is hoping to get changes to the state’s property tax cap law; Amodeo has said he would support changing the provision that now calls for 60 percent of voters' approval for an override of the annual 2 percent cap to a simple majority of 50 percent plus one.

The $100,000 NYSUT donation dwarfed all other contributions the county party received the past three weeks; in all during the most recent reporting period, the party group raised $123,000.

Beyond the donation to the Erie County Democrats revealed on the party's disclosure to the state elections board, NYSUT’s campaign spending the past three weeks is unknown; the union’s latest campaign report, due last Friday, is still not posted yet on the election board’s web site.

Video: Jerry Zremski's Week in Washington

The News' Washington bureau chief takes a look at what to expect over the next seven days in the world of politics and more:

McCarthy: State GOP's identity crisis

Bob McCarthy writes in today's column:

[GOP State Sen. Mark] Grisanti has hitched his wagon to the Cuomo star, and most say the Democratic governor is returning as many favors as possible.

Now the strategy has reached a whole new level. Not only is Grisanti touting his relationship with Cuomo, but so is the New York State Republican Party. Mailings arrived at 60th District homes over the past few days with lots of photos of “Mark and Andrew.” The effort to link them together could not be more clear.

Read Bob's column here.

Video: McCarthy with latest analysis of Hochul-Collins race

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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 |