Count Joel Giambra among the winners Tuesday night, Chris Collins, Carl Calabrese and Scott Brown among the losers in the 26th Congressional race.
Giambra has been waging a behind the scene battle against Chris Collins since Collins unceremoniously dumped most of Giambra’s loyals in the Erie County work force over his first year in office. When both Giambra and Gorski first occupied the Rath Building they found work for most of their predecessor's support staff. Collins made promises to Giambra that he would not put middle management people in the unemployment line and Joel went out of his way to make the transition a smooth one. Giambra also contributed cash to the Collins campaign coffers.
Collins only showed Giambra disrespect and disregard since taking over as County Executive. So now Giambra is working with Niagara County powerbroker George Maziarz in loosening Collins grip on the reins of the Republican Party in WNY.Giambra pulled off the Grisanti upset over Thompson in the NY Senate and is earning his stripes as an influential lobbyist with Park Strategies.
Giambra was on both WBEN and WIVB Tuesday night rubbing Collins nose in the Corwin defeat. Giambra also called the Hochul victory almost 30 minutes before any news or political outlet. Giambra properly stated that Hochul would have won even without Jack Davis in the race. The entire 9% won by Davis could not have been assumed to have fallen in the Corwin coffers and overcome the 6% margin of victory.
That was not the argument made by former Giambra Deputy County Executive Carl Calabrese on WGRZ at 11:12 P.M. Calabrese, who does plenty of lobby and consultant work for the Collins team, predictably blamed the defeat on Davis being in the race. Carl chose not to be critical of the Collins team and Corwin's ineffective brain trust. No surprise Calabrese and Giambra would be on opposite sides of this campaign.
Ch 2's Scott Brown was also not in a cheerful mood conducting the post election analysis with Calabrise and partner Tony Masiello. Brown has been seeking another political press position and has been particularly supportive of Chris Collins. Brown worked for the Democrats in the 90's, including Dennis Gorski and has been looking to get out of the shaky local TV business. Brown and Collins media maven Grant Loomis have been particularly chummy and there was speculation Brown was seeking a position with Corwin in Washington.
Of course the biggest loser on Tuesday night was Chris Collins himself. The Democrats feel rejuvinated with the Hochul win and feel they have a real shot at knocking Collins out of the CE seat. Poloncarz is no Hochul and has the charisma of an undertaker, but the race will be about Collins not Poloncarz.
There will be a restructuring of the Republican power structure with Corwin losing a race that couldn't be lost. Langworthy is publically embarrased as Chairman, but as stated here before, Chris Grant, Corwin's campaign chief and Collins Chief of Staff, has dropped several rungs on the party ladder. Former Republican boss Bob Davis will be much more active behind the scenes and there will be more seats at the table now for Maziarz and his growing influence on the State level.
Kathy Hochul proved once again that substance carries more weight than status. Jane Corwin is a very nice woman, but a very poor leader. Chris Collins should get on his knees and thank God that Hochul chose the race for congress rather than the race for Erie County Executive.