NY-26 gets ugly
May 13th, 2011
11:39 AM ET
10 years ago

NY-26 gets ugly

(CNN) – Well, that didn’t take long. NY-26 has already descended into a physical altercation.

The special election to replace New York Rep. Chris Lee, the married congressman who resigned amid a shirtless photo scandal in April, turned ugly Wednesday night in suburban Rochester.

In a campaign stop confrontation caught on video, a third party candidate can be seen smacking a camera held by the chief of staff for another candidate.

The campaign staffer confronted candidate Jack Davis, a conservative Democrat who aligns himself with the Tea Party, following a campaign stop. He questioned Davis about his decision to drop out of the pre-election debate held Thursday.

In the video released Wednesday night, Mike Mallia, chief of staff for Republican assemblywoman and GOP candidate Jane Corwin, holds the camera and asks Davis why he “backed out of the debate.” Davis retorts, “You wanna get punched out?” and takes a swat. After visible camera movement and grunts from the cameraman, Davis chuckles.

Only 15 seconds of footage was posted on YouTube by the Erie County GOP–just enough to show Davis' anger and hear Mallia's question, but not enough to determine whether the swipe from Davis was goaded.

Corwin refused to demand the release of her staffer's video late Thursday, telling local affiliate WKBW, "It's not my video. It has nothing to do with me quite frankly."

Insisting that "Jack Davis did not behave very well," Corwin asserted it’s a personal decision for her chief of staff as to what’s disclosed further. "It will be up to him to decide because that's his video. It was on his time," she said

Corwin loaned her campaign $960,000 Thursday to support her bid to keep NY-26 red, but Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul outraised all three candidates with $218,000 in donations for the month of April, according to FEC filings due at midnight Friday.

The special election for NY-26 has become a staging ground of national interest with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dumping $250,000 on an ad buy in an effort to pick up a much-needed seat in the House of Representatives, and the National Republican Congressional Committee making an ad buy of $265,000 to boost support for Corwin in Buffalo and Rochester.

Corwin also received support from American Crossroads, an outside conservative 527 that purchased $350,000 in television commercials for a week-long effort on her behalf.

The special election for New York's 26th district House seat will be held on May 24.

Filed under: Congress • New York
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. obama victim

    Davis supported Barry in 08....all you need to know

    May 13, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Stuff like this makes me glad I moved away from New York over 30 years ago, not that Connecticut politics are any better. After all, we are the home of Joe Lieberman, Linda McMahon and a whole slew of Mayors and other Pols (including a Governor) who became "guests" of the Federal Prison system.

    May 13, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Marjee123

    What a bare faced lie. The guy you called a Democrat is a tea bag candidate and you know full well he is. And besides he pushed the camera out of his face. What in Hades is wrong with that. But like all the media when the conservatives tell you what to say in an article you have no choice like telling the LIE THAT DAVIS IS A DEMOCRAT HE IS A TEA BAG. FOLKS GET THAT A TEA BAG CANDIDATE. GUESS THIS WILL BE ANOTHER MESSAGE CNN WON'T POST CAUSE I AM CALLING THEM OUT.

    May 13, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Bill

    Conservatives smacking conservatives. This has what it has come down to. They can't answer simple questions or defend their policies.

    May 13, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Eric G

    The first commentor is wrong by saying that there are no conservative Democrats. Hasn't he ever heard the term Blue Dog Democrat?

    CNN's Rebecca Stewart is lying when she calls Davis a conservative Democrat. To be fair, Davis is a registered Republican.

    I will in no way defend a racist like Davis. However, this whole incident smells like a Karl Rove/American Crossroads stunt.

    May 13, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Marcus

    Don't like what I saw in the video... The guy really looks like he's in for a brawl, not an election...
    15 seconds? How long was the original video?
    Don't Republicans have learned that EDITED videos don't work anymore. They worked against ACORN, but that's it...

    May 13, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. David, CA

    Wow- such a powerful "slap" that was. probably would have done real damage... to a mosquito. Cameraman should get an over-acting award.

    May 13, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Chuck

    The GOP is getting desperate as they are loosing momentum in their campaign against the middle class American worker, and the elderly who are on fixed incomes and rely on Medicare. If they have their way there will be hundreds of thousands of homeless elderly not able to even afford CATFOOD!. What is even more sad is that some of the Americans that will loose the most keep supporting these loonies just because of their religious affiliation.

    May 13, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Mitt Romney - He Will Say ANYTHING to Get Elected

    There is no such thing as a conservative Democrat? Really?

    You must be one of those people that thinks the "label" means something. You seem to think that "liberal" is a 4-letter word and "conservative is an annointment from up on high.

    I know what a progressive is – – someone who wants to see PROGRESS.

    Tell me this though, oh enlightened one, what is it, PRECISELY, that conservatives want to CONSERVE?

    May 13, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Eric

    This video is funny. This guy is moaning and wincing is obviously to be dramatic to make it seem like a much bigger deal. Yes you should not lay your hands on anyone, but come on, nothing happended to you.

    And ditto the shame on Corwin's lack of leadership to handle her staffers.

    May 13, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Michael

    Is it a requirement for every Tea Party candidate to engage in violent behavior against anyone who questions them?
    Or is it that typical TP candidates are folks who resort to violence because they are too dull to debate effectively?

    May 13, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Rosslaw

    Davis might have wrapped up both the 26th's Democatic and Republican votes is he had exercised his 2d amendment rights on the camera man/"chief of staff" instead of just feebly taking a swing.

    May 13, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Publius Novus

    Let's see. Upstate New York. Republican candidate looks like Faux News anchorette. All white men will vote for Republican would-be Faux News anchorette because she is easy on the eyes and sells herself as a "businesswoman." No further news or political analysis needed.

    May 13, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Madtown

    Elect this man immediately!!!

    He clearly has many characteristics that will enable him to blend right into the national political scene, including pettiness, unprofessionalism, disingenuousness, and no discernible amount of class or integrity. He's a shoe-in!!!

    May 13, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Bill

    The seat will be won by the democrat.

    May 13, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Seraphim0

    "Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country"

    Your SN is so hilariously hypocritical.

    Regardless... Both should lose votes. This "democrat" for striking an individual- assault? Really, now? Come on. You deserve charges being brought up, sir. And the GOP "Nothing to do with me," poor excuse. Come on, as if he wasn't sent on orders. Simple thing would be for the state to press charges for assault ( this can happen when there is sufficient evidence w/o need for witness- this tape could be considered such- at least enough to open an investigation), then pull the entire recording for evidence.

    However, goading or not, assault is assault. It doesn't read to be against the law except "if someone really, really pisses you off."

    May 13, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Politicians are Angels and Teachers are now Devils according to the gospel of GOP Tea Party

    yeah, this is the GOP tactics!!!....and it's common place nowadays with FAUX NEWS "trumped up" reporters and GOP & Karl Rove thugs dirty politics!!!

    Put a camera in an opponents face so he can act crazy and post the video on youtube...this is GOP crass politics at its worst!

    I hope the people of NY-23rd district see through this BS being orchestrated by the GOP & and their band of Tea Party THUGS...and VOTE for the right candidate: Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul

    May 13, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Nice writeup of what you are hearing about this locally. I think this statement speaks volumes:
    But this is roughly 14 seconds of the entire 15 minute confrontation.

    This reeks of the same tactics used by Faux News. Create your own facts or distort the truth with clever editing. It's very sad that people believe the nonsense.

    The GOP candidate loans her campaign 960,000? American Crossroads kicks in another 230,000? She's trying to buy her way into office.

    May 13, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Marko

    bunch of babys!!! WAH WAH

    May 13, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. His Boy Elroy

    Sometimes a man's temper... and his fear... they just cause him to do crazy things. Especially when he is trying to hide something from voters.

    May 13, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. jay1975

    Davis is a Democrat operative. He ran for Congress in 04, 06 and 08 as a Democrat. Contributed thousands of dollars to Dems and was quoted trash talking the Tea Party. Only clueless lemmings believe he is affiliated with the Teap Party and is not a Dem plant/spoiler.

    May 13, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    There's a whole lot of blue collar workers that live in that district, which is quite rural in places. The area is full of people who have been hit rather hard by the Great Recession. Casting blame for the bad economy can win it up there. But, creating and replacing the lost jobs WILL win it.

    May 13, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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