Monday, July 24, 2006

New Times Coverage

Here:

Enter the office at 305 S. Main St., North Syracuse, and be jolted by the emptiness. It used to be the legislative lair of Michael Bragman, kinetic with activity reflecting three decades of political campaigning and a daily rhythm of responding to requests from constituents.

Until Bragman stepped down from the state Assembly in 2000 after an unsuccessful bid to challenge Speaker Sheldon Silver for the leadership of that house, however, entering the building instilled an instant fear of bumping into something, knocking something over or, heaven forbid, spilling coffee onto an irreplaceable object. Shovels from ground-breakings leaned against walls covered with autographed posters from Negro League baseball. Photos of Bragman with or without luminaries dating back to Hubert Humphrey hung in frames, providing windows on the past half-century of America's political history.

Some of the faces familiar to the building's last incarnation were present July 11, as a few posters and lawn signs announced the first floor's rebirth as campaign office for Democrat Dan Maffei's drive to unseat Republican Jim Walsh, who has occupied the 25th Congressional District for the past 18 years. (Other tenants in the building include a loan service and a certified public accountant.) Ghosts of Bragman included the presence of county elections commissioner Ed Szczesniak, longtime Bragman confidant who, 10 years ago, bowed out of a primary challenge to former Cortland Mayor Marty Mack, generally considered the only candidate who had any real chance of defeating Walsh.

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