Scandals Open Doors for NY Candidates

This is a nice little item from the NY Daily News that talks about the often overlooked cabinet races in New York state… and some of the third party candidates running for those offices.

From the New York Daily News...

With scandals swirling around two major statewide races this fall, third-party candidates are gaining the attention of some fed-up voters.
Julia Willebrand, the Green Party’s pick for controller, realized the tide was turning last week when she handed a campaign flyer to a bus driver who joked, “You are running for controller? Why, does your husband need a chauffeur?”

He told her he’d vote for her.

It was only days after a scathing report said her Democratic rival, incumbent Alan Hevesi, violated state ethics laws when he used a state-paid chauffeur to drive his ailing wife - a finding that caused Republicans to demand his resignation and longtime allies to withdraw their support.

Until then, Hevesi had been seen as a shoo-in, and his GOP opponent, Chris Callaghan, largely was deemed amusing but ill-equipped to manage the 2,400 staffers in the controller’s office.

“Democrats are having real second thoughts about Hevesi,” said 73-year-old Willebrand, an upper West Sider with a doctorate in education. “More than one person has said to me, ‘You’ve got my vote.’”

Willebrand and the other third-party candidates on the ballot for controller - Libertarian John Cain and the Socialist Workers Party’s Willie Cotton - are likely to score votes whether the public knows them or not, according to pollster John Zogby.

“It’s a good year for third-party candidates to do well,” Zogby said, noting it doesn’t mean any have a shot at winning, but that they’ll do better than previous years.

Republicans took a hit last month when their best chance of landing a top office in Albany started to crumble as attorney general hopeful Jeanine Pirro admitted she was under federal investigation for allegedly trying to bug her husband’s boat.

Her Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, has his own trail of trouble for taking campaign contributions - and a job - from a wealthy businessman who was sued by the federal housing authority under his reign.

“People generally are not impressed with Pirro and Cuomo,” declared Rachel Treichler, a 55-year-old upstate lawyer who is the Green Party candidate for attorney general. “If more people knew I was running, they’d vote for me. More and more people are looking for alternatives.”

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