Roy McDonald (Republican Four) appears to have lost primary

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage finally has a non-made-up-totally-bogus reason to celebrate. It appears that Roy McDonald has fallen victim to their attempts to punish those Republican New York State Senators who voted for equality. (Times Union)

Marchione was up by 110 votes when counting began Monday in two counties of the 43rd State Senate District. McDonald gained 23 votes in Saratoga County, but was offset by a 26-vote pickup for Marchione in Columbia County, according to election officials in Saratoga and Columbia counties. Elections officials in Rensselaer and Washington counties tallied their absentee ballots last week.

All things considered, McDonald trailed by 113 votes with 50 ballots set aside.

This is very sad news and probably will hurt us on some level with close legislative votes in which we need some Republican support. But on some level, this is an inspiring story.

Sometimes victory comes in unexpected ways. Sometimes someone goes against the odds, does the right thing… and loses anyway. But there is nobility in doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, and sometimes in the loss comes a different victory, the victory of example. Of honor. Of respect. Sometimes this year’s loss gives birth to next year’s greater success.

I don’t know if this is one of those times. Maybe politicians will see McDonald as an example of why you always put the safe bet first, of why you use polls rather than conscience, of why you should kowtow to right-wing extremists. Maybe they will see this as evidence that ill will and malice are tools more effective than integrity, of how you win by following instead of leading.

But maybe (and I know I’m often too optimistic), maybe this off-the-cuff, unprepared but totally honest answer that Sen. Roy McDonald gave to the press at the time of the vote will live on to encourage others:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.

You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.

I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.

Smith

September 24th, 2012

The McDonald campaign is not over. He won the Independence Party line and he has said that he will run in the general election. As an incumbent, he enjoys high name recognition. He is generally popular in his district. It is likely he will draw substantially from both Republicans and Democrats. There is absolutely no reason to think that he can’t win in November. Moreover, while all 3 candidates have about the same cash on hand right now, McDonald will enjoy substantial help from 2 new local marriage equality PACs, and he is likely to be able to refill his own coffers, giving him the financial edge.

Whatever happens with McDonald, it is folly to focus on this one race in isolation while ignoring NOM’s abysmal record of retaliation on pro-SSM legislators. NOM can really only exact retribution under limited conditions. NOM needs a low turnout race or a race in which its target doesn’t fight back. To date, NOM has lost nearly every one of its campaigns against pro-gay marriage candidates. From special elections in Iowa to the recent primaries in New Hampshire (where it lost every single race in which it became involved) to its backing of Anthony Pugno for the CA legislature. It loses almost all the time.

It has won – and by that I mean that it achieved its desired electoral outcome and that gay marriage played a material part in that outcome – in just 3 instances. First was the judicial retention election in IA in 2010. Second was the special election for the NY Senate in Brooklyn this year. And third was the McDonald primary.

In the first case, the targets did not fight back, did not answer charges and did not campaign. This is also true of the Saland-DiCarlo race, where Saland actually didn’t do very much because he didn’t take his opponent seriously.

The latter 2 cases involved low turnouts of 15% and 13% respectively. In both cases, NOM’s side only just squeaked through with a margin of 8 votes and 100 or so votes, respectively. So the gist is that NOM can only hope to win when all it needs to do is turn out about 7% of the electorate. Even when those conditions prevail, it will usually lose. And indeed it lost most of its races in NY last week.

I do hope you don’t fall on the media bandwagon of magnifying NOM’s wins while ignoring its multitude of losses. The spin is nearly as important as the reality here. Future GOP legislators should know that there is some risk, but it is not nearly the risk NOM would make it out to be.

cooner

September 24th, 2012

Aww, hell. I remember reading that specific statement back during the voting and loved the words. It’s sad to hear he’s been beaten down because of it.

Hopefully karma finds another way to reward him somehow.

MattNYC

September 25th, 2012

@Smith

As I noted earlier in my Saland story comments, I think it’s a much stronger likelihood that LGBT money will follow Robin Andrews, the Democratic Party’s candidate.

There are a number of factors, including how much he spent on the Primary, exhaustion, not stepping on the toes of the party he has represented for years, only having a single ballot line, and the fact that the big donors in the LGBT community like to stick with the “established” parties.

I refrained from donating to McDonald’s campaign because it took me 6 months to get off all of the Republican mailing lists after I did so immediately after the ME vote. My blood pressure could not take getting letters from Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell.

I will go ahead now and send my money to Robin Andrews’ campaign.

Doug

September 25th, 2012

“My blood pressure could not take getting letters from Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell.”

So they forced you to read them?

MattNYC

September 25th, 2012

Doug–their names were on the envelopes and I came close to punching the mailbox. (OK, I have wingnut-related anger management issues, I know!) I lost brain cells merely reading their names and felt like I got their stupid and hate on me. A steaming shower and scouring pad helped.

I stuffed every bit of paper and heavy crap I could fit into the postage-paid envelopes along with some choice words as to where they could stick their letters. And it felt surprisingly GOOD! LOL

Not holding my breath, but I haven’t gotten another one since then. :D

Alas, R-money’s mailers did not come postage-paid (I guess that’s one of the ways he stays rich), so those merely went in the recycling bin.

Smith

September 26th, 2012

Mattnyc:

I hope you will reconsider about McDonald. And I am going to respectfully disagree with your prediction about gay money going to Andrews. BTW, I am a Dem.

First, why not support Andrews? Because even though Andrews is pro-equality (and is in fact lesbian), if she wins, NOM can still claim that their efforts were a victory. Their sole purpose in getting involved in this race is to show that a Republican who votes for SSM will be gone. They don’t need to show that his successor is good or bad, just that the targeted legislator has been punished with a loss of career. This is exactly what happened in the NY congressional primary involving Dede Scozzafava. They targeted her and, even though a pro-gay Dem ultimately won the general election, they have used that race for years to threaten other Republicans. So an Andrews win is still a win for NOM and that will hurt us in state legislatures considering marriage equality in the future, including DE, IL, RI, and NV. Similarly, a win by the Democrate, Amodeo over Mark Grisanti, will be claimed by NOM as a win.

The only way to defeat NOM in this PR battle is to ensure that all 3 senators remain in office this one election cycle. After this year, we owe these guys nothing and can resume support for their Dem opponents. But if you care about marriage equality, you will put aside your very understandable distaste for the GOP and their mailers this one time and support McDonald.

As to what gay money will do, we will know soon enough. But a huge chunk of the money, perhaps 75-80% is coming from not from liberal gay orgs, but nonideological or even GOP allies. The main PAC supporting McDonald was funded by Paul Singer and Ken Mehlman, both GOP’ers. That money will continue for McDonald.

And if Cuomo endorses McDonald, as he has hinted he will do, that will provide a major incentive for gay groups to support McDonald. I can’t imagine gay groups crossing Cuomo and embarrassing him by defeating McDonald, thus simultaneously betraying not one but 2 heroes of the 2011 marriage effort. Unless polling shows that McDonald has no chance, there is no way they will take that course.

Smith

September 26th, 2012

Update: Cuomo has now endorsed McDonald. If McDonald goes ahead on the Independence line, which I believe he has already said he will, I have no doubt that the marriage equality movement will back him with money for all the reasons I set forth above.

Anonymous

October 22nd, 2012

Hate to break it to y’all, but Sen. McDonald–who is a very angry man–has ceased his campaign after losing his GOP primary to Kathy Marchione. See http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/top-stories/stories/sen-roy-mcdonald-announces-he-not-run-3rd-term-3331.shtml.

Anonymous

October 22nd, 2012

Maybe voting for same-sex marriage and dropping the F-bomb about it isn’t such a great idea for a Republican. Just saying.

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