Over in the Utica area, not coincidentally the political home base of supposed congressional candidate Michael Arcuri, the following message was anonymously posted on a discussion board:
"I think Mike will CRUSH Leon... It looks like the party is behind Mike and with that comes all power of Washington and the State. That will include access to fundraising and donor lists, phone banks, professional consultants, media consultants, speech writers. The national party will not like that a race they think they can win will have a primary. Leon better hope he doesn't have as much as a past book due at the library because the will be digging like a coal miner."
The Leon that we are told District Attorney Arcuri will crush is Leon Koziol, an attorney who apparently is also considering entering the Democratic competition about who gets to take on Republican Sherwood Boehlert in the general election this fall.
I can't predict what will happen in this year's Democratic primary in the 24th congressional district, of course, so I cannot really comment on the accuracy of what the anonymous writer claims. Rather, I wish to comment on the implications if the anonymous writer is correct, and Michael Arcuri will win through inside connections developed with the state and national Democratic Party apparatus.
Michael Arcuri, for all his vaunted access to speech writers and media consultants, has yet to take the most simple steps required to reach out the Democratic voters of the 24th District. He has no campaign web site, has made no policy speeches, and has held no public campaign events at all. Arcuri has yet to make an official announcement that he is indeed a candidate. Yet, we are supposed to believe that Arcuri is the Democratic frontrunner, even against Les Roberts, a Democrat with national prominence, international experience, and an increasingly formidible campaign organization.
It appears that Michael Arcuri is betting that he can win the Democratic nomination through back room dealing with powerful people in the Democratic Party. If that's truly the kind of campaign that Arcuri hopes to run against his Democratic rivals, it bodes ill for 24th District Democrats if he wins.
A Democratic nominee for Congress who has been chosen, groomed, and made powerful through investments from Democratic Party insiders will be, if elected, beholden to those Party insiders, not to the Democrats of the 24th District. Such a Democrat will not regard his victory as a matter of addressing the important issues that matter to Democratic voters. Instead, he will regard his victory as a matter of having powerful friends and the ability to get money from wealthy donors. I do not mean to make any accusations against Michael Arcuri, who may be as honest as the next person, but in general, the dependence upon the kind of smoke filled room campaign strategy Arcuri seems to be following so far is what has led to the culture of corruption that dominates the Republican Congress.
The Democrats of the 24th District, as is true with Democrats across America, need leaders who are accountable to the people, not to power brokers. Of course candidates need to make strategic connections with the leaders of their party, and of course they need to find ways to fund their campaigns. However, for a candidate to campaign solely on powerful connections and sources of cash, as Michael Arcuri seems to be doing so far, is damaging to the democratic process.
It will not be long now before the candidate filing deadline is come and gone, and the primary election is upon us. A further delay in public campaigning is folly. All those Democrats who are serious about vying for the nomination to compete against Sherwood Boehlert for a seat in the House of Representatives need to begin their appeal to the Democratic voters of the 24th District. A campaign web site is an easy and inexpensive first step. Public speeches and newspaper coverage would also be helpful in this regard.
So far, only one of the Democrats in the running, Les Roberts has begun such a public campaign. So far, Roberts looks like a good candidate, but there isn't much point of comparison to potential competitors like Michael Arcuri or, for that matter, Leon Koziol.
Until Arcuri, Koziol, and all the other Democrats who claim to be considering candidacy, actually begin public campaigns, all that I can accurately note is that they are exhibiting, so far, a dangerous dependence on back room dealing. To these candidates, I say: Let the sun shine in. Show us voters who you are, or get out of the race.