What to Watch For
Here are the key factors which will be critical over the next few weeks in shaping this race:
- The Minor Parties - Despite looking irrelevant in the race County Executive race, the minor parties will have a strong voice. The Independence Committee is owned by the Republican committee so I would expect them to support the establishment choice. But what about the Conservatives, with the seat crossing county lines it falls to the State Party Chair, does Michael Long make a power play and try and force a candidate with strong conservative credentials? The Working Families decision will weigh heavy too, especially since there is a good chance they will put bodies on the ground for this race, it could be a key factor in clearing out the Democratic primary.
- The Feb. 15th Filing - Dan Maffei will be the only one reporting since the filing period closed before Walsh's retirement. How much will he have? Well the Maffei people are saying $500,000+, its a big number, but the important breakdown will be primary funds vs. general funds. The more primary funds Dan has, the less likely there will be a challenger, but dollars he can't spend won't make much of a difference.
- Was that the first or last piece on Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick is the Republican front runner right now, and there are rumblings the establishment is lining up behind him. More stories like Sunday's front pager will convince more Republicans that Fitz isn't inevitable, ones harder hitting than that, and Fitz might not even be a candidate. I keep hearing that employees of the DA are not a happy group, so they could either stick a knife in him or hope this gets rid of him.
- Does the Washington Establishment go all out for Maffei - So far everything coming out of Washington is that Dan is the man. From their perspective, he can raise the money, he is a seasoned candidate, and he doesn't bring any baggage to the race. They are looking to avoid a costly and divisive primary (see CE Race). It remains to be seen how much capital they will spend to keep the primary clear.
- Self-Funders - We already have one potential one of the Democratic side, and I'm sure there won't be too much more time until one pops up on the Republican side. However self funders seldom win for numerous reasons (Jon Corzine is the exception that proves the rule) , but they can cause a big mess, and unlike typical candidates they don't need a base. If any make an actual try at it, it could really scramble things up.