A Novel Problem for N.Y. Senate Democrats

If Democrats win next week’s special election upstate, they could narrow the Republican majority in that house to just one seat. The prospects of that already bode well for other Democrats looking to unseat Republican state Senators later this year in the general election.

Except Jimmy Dahroug.

The two-time Democratic senate candidate for the Long Island seat held by Republican Caesar Trunzo, emailed supporters “I have a potential Republican challenger,” and that would be Chris Bodkin, “a Republican masquerading as a Democrat.”

Bodkin, a locally elected official on Long Island who left the G.O.P., told Newsday he’s still considering whether to run for the seat as a Democrat, which is enough to throw a monkey wrench in Dahroug’s candidacy. Dahroug obviously isn’t happy about possibly having a primary, and wants more help from the party establishment to make sure it’s avoided. That doesn’t seem to be happening.

Here’s how Dahroug ends his email to supporters: “By my desk is a photo of John Kennedy and LBJ that I look at everyday. They inspire me. They were Real Democrats.”

Sort of reminds me of Howard Dean’s line about being from the ‘Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."

Anyway, here’s Dahroug’s email:

Dear X,

I’m writing today to let you know that I have a potential Republican challenger.

"Uh, Jimmy. . . ." you might say slowly, as if I’ve been hit in the head with a blunt object. "That’s old news. Trunzo’s been the incumbent for, what, 30 years?"

But I’m not talking about the incumbent.

I’m talking about Chris Bodkin, a lifelong Republican who was gearing up to run on the GOP ticket if Senator Trunzo had retired. But Trunzo didn’t retire

So, Bodkin has decided to run as a newly-minted "Democrat"!
"He’s wanted to be a senator for a long time," said Trunzo. "I guess he couldn’t wait for me to retire." (Newsday, Feb. 17, 2008)

Chris Bodkin has devoted his whole life to supporting Republican politicians from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush to Trunzo himself.

Like me, I’m sure you have trouble believing that a right-wing Republican can change his ideologies as easily as he can switch parties on paper. However, some of the party establishment in Albany are behind him.

As much as I respect many of our party leaders, the American people have shown that we are ready for a more courageous party, one that does not simply toe the line to right-wing dogma.

The party elite in Albany are sending a top-down message that a Republican masquerading as a Democrat is the best that we can hope for.
Today, I’m asking you to stand up and send a message that you deserve to hope for more.

Today, I’m asking you to stand up and send a message that you deserve to hope for more.
Show your support for real change by contributing to our campaign today!
Regardless of the amount, every dollar is a vote of confidence in our shared values and ideals.
More than ever, this race has become a battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. At a time when Democrats across the country are demanding real change, this is a frightened and bewildering step backwards for our party.
We have to ask ourselves: What kind of a Democratic Senate Majority will we have if we elect a Bush Republican who recently became a "Democrat"?
I think you and I both know the answer.

For 36 years, we’ve had a Republican representing this district in Albany. Let’s not table the real issues of this election for another 30 or 40 years by electing another Republican!

Democratic values are at the core of who I am. My mother is a bus driver. My father washed dishes and worked as a cab driver. Standing up for regular people is my life’s work. It’s what the Democratic party is – and should be – all about.

Nearly a year before this race, your support helped us raise $100,000 and build a formidable grassroots movement. Please don’t wait – by making a contribution today, you will send a message that we are ready for a real Democratic Majority!

A Novel Problem for N.Y. Senate Democrats