I have a theory about what will happen in the 2010 House elections. The Democrats will lose seats — they have to, given that the economy is in the crapper and that they gained 50+ seats the last two cycles — but not as many as they should, for the simple reason that so many Republican challengers will be terrible. My district, NY-29, is shaping up as a classic example. It’s a brutal district for Democrats with around a +5 Republican Cook PVI and an even larger Republican registration advantage. It’s lily-white, largely rural, and pretty old — fertile soil for the tea bag tree. There aren’t that many birther types, because this *is* the north, but some of the counties in the district are technically part of Appalachia. In short, it should be tough sledding for the freshman Democratic incumbent, Eric Massa.
But it may not be, because the Republican challenger, Tom Reed, is a complete idiot. I almost can’t believe he did this:
The Steuben Courier reports that Tom Reed was the recent recipient of a “Restore New York” grant facilitated by State Senator George Winner. Reed, who owns the Masonic Temple in Bath, will match that grant with $820,000 of private funding.
The obvious question is how long Reed has owned the building, and how much he paid for it. If the answers are “not long” and “not much”, then he has a huge problem.
Never mind that Reed opposes stimulus spending, the real issue here is that this might possibly be illegal. Certain ethics rules apply once you’ve announced your candidacy and these may be in violation of them. At the very least, it looks very bad.
It would be one thing if Reed tried to do this on down low, but in fact the whole thing was trumpeted in a press release by the Republican State Senator who brought in the grant.
I’ve been watching a lot of tennis this week, so I don’t want to use the term “unforced error”. Maybe “code violation” would be more apt.
Update. Just to spell what’s so wrong with this (from Fighting29th):
It’s not too tough to put together a group of investors to “risk” $820K to get $1.18 million in free money. Those investors know full well that there’s an excellent chance that they’ll make a profit when the newly renovated Bath Masonic Temple is sold, since your money and mine is serving as a $1.18 million cushion to protect their investment.