“U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s 26-percentage-point victory Tuesday proved that the congressman doesn’t need Tompkins County votes to remain in office.” Did it, one might ask. No justification is given for this sweeping claim.
Andrew Casler’s article includes a number of quotes by Donald Beachler, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, at Ithaca College. I believe Professor Beachler’s observations are off base.
“Reed successfully painted her as out of the district’s mainstream, and that’s why the margin was a shocker to analysts — they would have never committed money to the race if they thought it would be a 26 point race,” Ithaca College politics professor Donald Beachler said. Which analysts were shocked, one wonders? Most pundits predicted the result.
Robertson seemed unable to sell herself in a way that would make her accessible to voters outside of Tompkins County, Beachler said. Not true, in this writers opinion. The vote for Robertson was what would have been expected with a low voter turnout. It in no way reflects on Robertson’s campaign which went as well as could be expected.
She said she opposed the SAFE Act, but no one who’s an opponent of gun control was persuaded by that, he added. “Nobody really believed that she was against it,” he said. True enough–whose fault is that?
Part of Reed’s victory can be attributed to a wave of support for Republicans across the county, Beachler said. Doubtless that helped. It would have been very unusual to defeat a Republican incumbent in a red district in an off year.
“Democratic turnout was low, and Republicans were motivated to vote against Obama by way of the Democratic Party,” Beachler said.
“I think he very skillfully presented himself on issues that are almost consensus issues; I mean who’s for sexual assaults, or who’s against hospice care?” Beachler said. “Like I said, it was a very well-run campaign.” Well run in the sense that Reed kept his head down, stuck to the script, and avoided blunders. I would say it was a purile campaign. It also was a dirty campaign which used doctored images of Martha Robertson and attacked her with lies and half-truths which mark Reed’s style.
If Democrats want a candidate who can beat Reed, they need to nominate someone who’s not from Tompkins County, Beachler said. That might help, but there is no evidence in support of it. The vote was as one might have expected given the low turnout.
Tompkins politicians are seen as too liberal, too elite and out of touch with the rest of the 23rd, he said. More nonsense–this was a Reed talking point, no more than that.
Robertson was defeated by a 2:1 margin in Chautauqua County, where Jamestown is located. “That’s a toss-up county in a presidential election … and she got beat by a huge margin,” Beachler added. Yes, but this wasn’t a Presidential election year, now was it?
“Tom Reed is safe as long as Democrats keep nominating someone from Ithaca,” he said. I don’t think this is correct. Nate Shinagawa from Ithaca did well against Tom Reed. The idea that being from Ithaca is poison is likely false.
If I were giving out grades, I would give Professor Beachler an F.
© William Hungerford – November 2014