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November 2006 Elections: Two Key Races for Croton & Cortlandt

September 19, 2006

Many federal, state and county offices are on the ballot this coming November “midterm” election. We’ll elect a governor, a US Senator, a US House member, and numerous state legislators and local judges. November 7, election day, is less than 7 weeks away.

Here in Croton and Cortlandt we have two races in which we can have a huge impact: Democrat John Hall for Congress to replace incumbent Republican Sue Kelly, and Democrat Mike Kaplowitz for NY State Senate to replace incumbent Republican Vinny Leibell.

Beating incumbents is not easy, let alone incumbents whose party holds the majority—as the Republicans do in both Congress and in the NY State Senate. But this year for these two offices, we have terrific, strong challengers and large numbers of energized voters who want change out of Albany and Washington.

Race #1. US House of Representatives: John Hall (Dem) v. incumbent Sue Kelly (Rep). John Hall has a long and substantial track record of work on progressive issues, such as seeking alternatives to nuclear power. Hall won the fiercely contested Democratic primary by a large margin due to his very effective and large base of volunteers. And did we mention he is a professional musician who has been highly in demand as rock ‘n roll guitarist?

Nance Shatzkin says “People can sign up directly with Elky or via the “Volunteer” page at Hall campaign website. There will be TONS of canvassing, phone banking, leafleting—all the fun outreach stuff that allows us to identify 100,000 supporters throughout the district in the next 7 weeks.” The Hall campaign plans on opening a Peekskill office shortly. Stay tuned for that development. For background on reasons to unseat Representative Sue Kelly, visit Take19 (

Race #2. NY State Senate: Democrat Michael Kaplowitz v. incumbent Republican Vincent Leibell. Mike Kaplowitz was first elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators in 2000 (when the district still included Croton). He has gained momentum ever since and been quite outspoken in seeking a post-nuclear future at ConEd’s Indian Point facility. Contact Michael Morey at 914-382-1762 or at

Mike Morey says ”What we really need is volunteers who can help with our field effort. We have a voter contact program called the Victory Box. We’ll need people to adopt one of 300 Victory Boxes, which are stuffed with a voter list and instructions for targeting likely supporters. Those are keys to winning the election.”

Here are some other key races on the ballot:

Race #3. For Governor: Democrat Elliot Spitzer v. Republican John Faso.

Race #4. For Lt. Governor: Democrat David Paterson v. Republican Scott Vanderhoef. Democrat Elliot Spitzer has used his post of Attorney General to good advantage in pursuing scofflaws of all kinds (tobacco, polluters, Wall Street, etc). Running mate David Paterson is Senate Minority Leader, and is nationally recognized as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired.

Republican John Faso is a former Assembly Minority Leader, who lost a bid for state-wide office as Comptroller in 2002 to Alan Hevesi. Running mate Scott Vanderhoef is a four-term County Executive for nearby Rockland County.

Race #5. For US Senate: incumbent Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton v. Republican John Spencer (former mayor of Yonkers). After fits and starts, the NY State Republicans take on Hillary with a Senate candidate who has not yet imploded, but may have no less baggage with voters than the incumbent.

Race #6. For NY State Attorney General: Democrat Andrew Cuomo v. Republican Jeanine Pirro. This is (an open seat being vacated by Spitzer who is running for Governor. From early indications we could be in for quite a mud-slinging campaign by both Cuomo and Pirro. Neither candidate will be shy to point out perceived shortcomings of the other. This race may hinge on the gubernatorial coattails of the head of each party’s ticket where Democrat (and outgoing AG) Spitzer faces Republican Faso.

Race #7. For NY State Comptroller: first term Democrat incumbent Alan Hevesi v. Republican challenger J. Christopher Callaghan. Hevesi has the upper hand in capably handling a job that few voters know much about. Nevertheless, Callaghan wants to wrest this wonkish post “out of the hands of one of the worst liberals in the country.”—to quote the introductory text on Callaghan at the official NY State Republican Committee site.

So in sum, we strongly recommend engaging with either the John Hall or Mike Kaplowitz campaigns, or both!

— Leo Wiegman, On behalf of the Croton Democratic Committee (However, any editorial comments above are solely Leo’s and not official statements by the local Democratic Committee!)


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