Paterson’s ‘Modest’ Thank You for County Chairs

After raging against education groups who had sued him, David Paterson hosted a “modest” holiday reception in Albany last night for county chairs and members of the Democratic State Committee.

The event was held at the State Room on Eagle Street, just down the block from the Capitol, some attendees told me. Paterson and some of his top aides–Appointments Secretary Marty Mack, Mike Schell and Campaign Manager Richie Fife–worked a crowd of a little over 100 people as waiters passed chicken and stuffed mushrooms.

“It was modest–probably a testament to the financial situation that we all find ourselves dealing with. But it was a very nice function,” said Marty Mannix, chairman of the Clinton County Democratic Party. “He was extremely gracious, made his way around the room and made sure that he, literally, stopped and talked to every single person that was in the room. There wasn’t much more than that. He talked about what we’re facing and why he’s looking for us to support him in his position–and he pointed, if we don’t, the state of New York is going to go bankrupt.”

Also in the room were June O’Neill, the chairwoman of the party’s executive committee and Jay Jacobs, the top chair. Many of the attendees were from more of the localized counties. The event was not a fund-raiser.

Paterson gave a brief speech, according to two attendees I spoke with, in which he thanked party chairs for their hard work–particularly in special elections in the 20th and 23rd Congressional districts–and made the case for his candidacy: he is making the tough decisions to keep the state solvent. Mannix was sold.

“I just think the guy is doing–I keep telling people–he’s the one guy in Albany who’s telling people what it is. The real truth. The guy inherited just this unbelievable mess, and he’s doing his damnedest just to keep this state from going under. I think he’s our generation’s Harry Truman. I really do. I think his polls–the recent numbers–I think people are beginning to recognize that he’s the guy who’s telling it like it is. He’s trying to work the plan, even though he isn’t getting any help. I thought last night was a perfect example of what we’re talking about,” Mannix said. “I’m supporting the guy because I really do believe he’s the guy who’s got the ideas for how to get us out.”