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March 19, 2009


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Sundwall isn't put himself in hoc to unions or big business. He's only seeking contributions from actual human beings. It's sort of the way it should work if we had decent campaign finance laws (like Vermont, Maine, Canada,...) and a Supreme Court decision on the topic that completely didn't completely defy rationality and common sense.


dear claudja,
Tedisco very generously agreed to 4 debates. Historically it always behooves the newcomer to have more debates. I was very impressed that Assemblyman Tedisco agreed to so many (if you ask me, 4 is too many - for Pete Sake this isn't a Presidential race, which BTW only had 4 debates).

After both camps agreed to the 4 debates, Murphy then went ahead and agreed to another. This in and of itself makes me question his ability to keep his promises. Anyway, Claudja, your baiting and chiding comment (much like the Murphy camp's) only serves to discredit Mr. Murphy. This is no way to communicate or to achieve the results you are looking for.

In conclusion, I am proud of Assemblyman Tedisco for not succumbing to Murphy's (and I might add WAMC's) bullying tactics. He is definitely the kind of leader we need here in the 20th Congressional district.


Scott Murphy is going to rubber stamp all the bills that Nancy Pelosi tells him to.

He's a product of a Washington DC slick campaign with nice commercials but don't get
fooled folks. He'll vote yes for the mortgage bailout bill and yes on a second stimulus package.

The people who got us into this mess with AIG was Barney Frank and Dodd, and it was rushed
through without thought and voted on. Exactly what Scotty Murphy did when he said he'd vote
for the first stimulus bill without reflecting on it or reading the bill.

I'm voting Tedisco for congress for fiscal responsibility.

Let's see if the times union does it's job and asks Murphy why he didn't read the stimulus bill before he took a stand.



Dear "ind" voter: why does your preferred candidate refuse to allow/insist Sundwall be included in the four debates he did agree to participate in?

Sundwall is on the ballot because 7000 ordinary citizens put him there. Tedisco is on the ballot because 3 or 4 party bosses put him there. So I'm sure you want use the excuse that Tedisco won't debate Sundwall because no one wants to hear what the Libertarian has to say?


" So I'm sure you want use the excuse that Tedisco won't debate Sundwall because no one wants to hear what the Libertarian has to say?"

Oops, typo. Should typed, "So I'm sure you won't use..."


Brian, I am not sure why you are placing blame with Jim. Jim is not against this. As a matter of fact Mr. Sundwall unknowingly asked mrs. Tedisco for her signature on his petition and she nicely told him that she couldn't because of who she was but that she and Jim wished him well in his endeavor. As a matter of fact, from what i understand Jim was going to invite Mr. Sundwall to his 3-D night but the TU and WAMC already beat him to the punch.

You know, I don't think I have heard Jim say 1 negative thing about your candidate. However, I can't say the same for your candidate, your candidate got on TV after the debate and blasted Jim.

I know Mr. Sundwall is fighting an uphill battle and must be incredibly frustrated, but I just wish he would reciprocate the civility and respect shown to him from Jim Tedisco.


Ind: Sundwall's petitions were challenged by two leading members of the Conservative Party, which endorsed Tedisco. I do not know if Tedisco put them up to it, but he could easily have asked them not to or make some other public statement to that effect.

As for the debates, I have not heard Tedisco say one word about Sundwall's participation so I don't know if he's for it, against it or, as I suspect, against it without wanting to appear to be so.

Had he attended the debate sponsored by the TU and WMHT (not WAMC), Tedisco could have defended himself, could've engaged Sundwall directly. He could do the same if the Libertarian were involved in future debates with the Dem and GOP.

Tedisco is ignoring Sundwall (at least overtly; we don't know if he's put his henchman up to things). That might be the smart thing to do politically but that's quite a different thing from what showing respect.

Tedisco saying "I won't participate in a debate unless all the candidates are invited" would be showing respect as well as making him look magnanimous. Because ultimately that would be showing respect to the most important people of all: the voters.


And I'd like to point out that the myth that Tedisco and his supporters seem to hold that Sundwall is taking votes mostly away from the Republican is dubious at best. Sundwall has a pretty fair degree of support among Greens and others who vote 'third party' on principle (real independents).


Brian your use of the word Henchmen is insulting and unappreciated. As for the rest of your comments, I am afraid we must agree to disagree. Jim was lucky to get the Conservative endorsement, but he has absolutely no say as to what they do. I think it stinks these challenges are happening. As I mentioned earlier, I have never heard Jim say one bad word toward your candidate.


"Brian your use of the word Henchmen is insulting and unappreciated."

Ind: I believe people who challenged Sundwall's petitions and anyone who may have put them up to it are henchmen (or henchwomen, as it may be).

If you weren't one of those people, then the comment was not directed at you.

He may have had no direct say in the challenging of the petitions but he could have pubicly repudiated them, in exactly the same way he chose to repudiate the RNCC's ads.


And incidentally, if Tedisco (rather than just ignoring him) were to pubicly repudiate the petition challenges AND demand Sundwall be included in the debates, I'd be the first to praise Tedisco for his actions in service to the voting public and democracy in general.


BTW Ind, I'm not a Libertarian and disagree with Sundwall on many things. I am voting for him because he recognizes the urgent need to open up the political process to alternative voices, since it's Democrats and Republicans who've allowed our current troubles to multiply. Sundwall is a decent candidate, but I also see him as a proxy for real multipartyism.

I don't mean to put words into your mouth but you seem to think the ballot access question is unfortunate but not that a big deal ("it stinks", "I know he's fighting and uphill battle but..."). I see as fundamentally undermining the democratic process as well as blocking the pathway to alternative solutions to our problems.

I don't see this as a question you can be neutral on. If you're not actively speaking on behalf of democracy, then you're letting it be eroded.


Look, if Sundwall did indeed get 7,000 signatures on his petitions he definitely deserves to on that ballot - not because he is such a great candidate, but because if he doesn't it will silence those 7,000 who signed. Many people take this seriously. I am not neutral on it I have a position.

However, I also have a position on voting for a candidate even though you disagree with him on many things just to make a point. We are in an economic crises right now and we can't afford to send a candidate to DC and learn on the job.

You see everything is relative, its all about priority and timing. BTW, why aren't you calling out Murphy and asking him to speak out publicly? Just because the Conservative are beind the petition challenge shouldn't stop Murphy from speaking out about it.


None of the candidates have any real experience crafting significant legislation. Tedisco's spent most of his time complaining (rightly) about the LACK of input and power he has in the Assembly, which is probably why he's seeking another job. None of the candidates have done a good job defining themselves. I disagree with ALL of the candidates on many things. There is no perfect candidate for me.

Ultimately, on the issues I view as most critical, specifically ones related democracy and good governance (which trump all others because the lack of democracy and good governance has long prevented solutions on the other things I care about), Sundwall is head and shoulders above the other two. If he were to be elected, it would be a huge breakthrough and would open the way for other reform minded candidates. Only then is real change possible.

Don't fool yourself. No freshman Congressman is going to singlehandedly be the savior for the country or our district.

I will vote for him because he is the closest to me on the issues I think are most important. That's the criteria everyone should use to cast their vote, in my opinion.


Yes, Murphy should demand Sundwall be included in the other debates. But I cut Murphy a little more slack because a) his supporters weren't behind the anti-democratic efforts to eject Sundwall off the ballot and b) he actually had the guts to debate Sundwall.

If WFP higher ups were behind the challenges to Sundwall's petitions and if Tedisco, not Murphy, showed up at last week's debate, I'd be piling the pressure on Murphy instead.


"Don't fool yourself. No freshman Congressman is going to singlehandedly be the savior for the country or our district."

Agreed Brian, but it is you who are fooling yourself if you think Sundwall winning will be some kind of huge breakthrough. If you really want to make changes in election practices, perhaps you might want to visit the NYS Board of Elections. Or, as I like to call them, the most corrupt state agency New York has to offer. The commissioners are appointed and not elected, problem number 1 and their idea of transparency is to not have any.

Finally, and this will be my last word on this particular blog, as I mentioned previously, "guts" had nothing to do with debating the other night. Sundwall was only asked to join when they realized that Jim really wasn't going to be bullied into adding yet another debate to the already too many debates previously scheduled. It was Murphy who went back on his word, and apparently no one has any problem with that...

Brian, i wish your candidate well and i appreciate your passion - nice chatting...


"Agreed Brian, but it is you who are fooling yourself if you think Sundwall winning will be some kind of huge breakthrough. If you really want to make changes in election practices, perhaps you might want to visit the NYS Board of Elections."

It won't be a huge breakthrough in and of itself. Sundwall himself acknowledges that. But a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

Common perceptions need to be pierced before real change can happen. In early 2006, did anyone seriously think the Democrats might win this three elections in a row, including one landslide (a Democratic landslide in this area!)? Gillibrand's win change people's mindset about what was possible. This is what a Sundwall win, or even strong showing, would do. And that's the first step in the needed change.

To paraphrase a common journalistic maxim, the NYSBOE doesn't make electoral law, it just enforces it.

The changes have to be made at the level of the state legislature, which is why activists around here have tried (when not knocked off the ballot) to run candidates as often as possible for Assembly and state Senate.

Ultimately, the BOE is by law not a non-partisan agency. It is a bipartisan agency, co-run by Democrat and Republican appointees. It is thus no surprise that its decisions usually benefit the two major parties. However, the far greater flaws are in the electoral law itself, something the BOE can't change.

This is why I typically give very strong consideration to any candidate who speaks (and heaven forbid acts) on these issues of democracy and good governance.

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This blog is by Bob (Robert C.) Conner, a longtime journalist and author of the 2018 novel "The Last Circle of Ulysses Grant" published by Square Circle Press, and a 2013 biography "General Gordon Granger" published by Casemate. He is currently writing a biography of the Kansas abolitionist Col. James Montgomery. His Civil War blog can be found at robertcconnerauthor.blogspot.com
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