Hochul feels Democratic wave on Nov. 6

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul meets with Orleans County Democrats on Saturday evening during their fall rally at the Elks Club. About 60 people attended the event. She is shown visiting Jim Renfrew and his wife, Robin Dunnington, who hosted one of the first candidate parties in their Clarendon home for Hochul in 2011. Those grass roots events helped her to get elected, despite a strong Republican advantage in the district.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2018 at 10:03 pm

ALBION – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Nov. 6 will be a big day for Democrats in the state, and locally a candidate for Congress may do what many thought was impossible only a few months ago.

Nate McMurray may topple Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District, which is the most Republican-leaning district in the state.

“Lightning will strike twice and we’ll send another Democrat to Washington,” Hochul said Saturday during the Orleans County Fall Democrat Rally.

Hochul pulled off an upset when she was elected to Congress for the District in 2011. But redistricting added more Republicans and she lost a close re-election to Chris Collins in 2012.

Orleans County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jeanne Crane touts the candidacies of Joyce Riley, left, for Gaines Town Board and Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor. Crane called Hochul, “a Western New York gal.”

Now McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor, is in a neck-and-neck battle with Collins, according to polling data.

Hochul said more Democrats are energized this election, and more Republicans are reluctant to support Collins, who is under federal indictment for insider trading.

Kathy Hochul said support from Upstate New York was critical in her winning a Democratic Primary last month.

There was a bigger turnout statewide in the primary last month, compared to four years ago when many of the statewide offices were on the ballot. In Orleans County, for example, Hochul received 605 votes for lieutenant governor on Sept. 13 versus the 197 for Jumane Williams.

Four years earlier, when she first ran for lieutenant governor, the turnout was much smaller. She received 297 votes to Timothy Wu’s 103.

This election Democrats are more engaged, and more determined to vote, Hochul said.

“I expect a Democratic surge,” she said. “You can see it and feel it, and I’m embracing it.”

She praised the Democrats state-wide candidates, which include Andrew Cuomo for governor, Tom DiNapoli for comptroller, Letitia James for attorney general and Kirsten Gellibrand for U.S. senator.

The Democrats’ top priorities are investments in jobs, healthcare and education, Hochul said.

She praised the 60 people at the Democrats Fally Rally. She said it isn’t easy to be a Democrat and in Republican-dominated county.

“These are the Democrats I admire the most,” she said. “These are the ones who are most passionate about Democratic values. I admire you for having the courage to step up and say, ‘I’m a Democrat.’”

Joe DiPasquale of Lockport also addressed the crowd on Saturday. DiPasquale is challenging Michael Norris in the 144th Assembly District, which includes Shelby in Orleans County and parts of Erie and Niagara counties.

Joe DiPasquale wants the state to invest more in public education and protecting the environment.

DiPasquale said he will make the environment and more resources in public education his priorities. He worries about high cancer rates locally, and wants Niagara County to stop accepting toxic trash from outside the area.

He sees tourism as an economic driver, especially with the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825.

“The Erie Canal turns 200 in seven years,” he said. “Are we ready?”

Jeannette Riley also asked for support in her campaign for the Gaines Town Board against Corey Black.

Riley said she looks forward to being part of a team to bring down taxes and make homes more affordable.

“Nothing is going to get done by one person alone,” she said. “We need each other. This is my community, and I want to make it a safer place. I want to make it a more welcoming place.”

Riley acknowledged it’s difficult for local Democrats to feel part of the local political process.

“Right now many of us feel unheard and unattended,” she said. “They only way to change that is to get out and vote.”

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