Okay, that's a pretty sneaky title for this blog entry, but let me tell you why I'm using the word "sneak" to describe how Mike Arcuri is coming into my village. I pay attention to this congressional race pretty closely, but until not too long ago, I had no idea that Michael Arcuri had any plans to come to Trumansburg tomorrow.
This morning, I passed by a notice of the event recently stapled up outside a local bar. This afternoon, I got an email about the event. Before that, there was no sign that Arcuri was planning to come.
There was not a word of Arcuri's visit in the Trumansburg Free Press, the widely read local paper. Oh, the community calendar in the paper tells me that there will be a butterfly hike at the Cayuga Nature Center just down the road, and that the Trumansburg Colorguard Boosters club will have a bottle and can drive, along with a Chicken BBQ from 11:00 to 2:00. But word of Arcuri's campaign coming to the village? Nothing about that.
The campaign of Mike Sylvia, the Libertarian candidate for Congress, got an editorial in the Free Press this week. Sylvia also got an entire article devoted just to his campaign. Neither even mentioned that Michael Arcuri even exists. Oh, Michael Arcuri got mentioned in the paper, all right. Someone wrote in to the paper criticizing Arcuri for taking a donation from Skip Anderson. That letter was published. There hasn't been a single pro-Arcuri letter in the paper all year long. Does the Arcuri for Congress campaign have a plan to counter the negative letter? I doubt it. Does the Arcuri campaign even know that an anti-Arcuri letter was published in our paper? I wouldn't be surprised if they were completely ignorant of it.
Well how about the Arcuri for Congress campaign web site? Is there any news there to let people know that Michael Arcuri will be coming to Trumansburg tomorrow? You know very well there isn't. The last time Michael Arcuri's online events calendar had an event on it was in June - and there was just one event for the entire month of June posted there. According to Michael Arcuri's online campaign calendar, the campaign won't be doing a damned thing for the rest of the year.
Yet, here Mike Arcuri is, coming to Trumansburg. How do I reconcile these two incompatible pictures, one of Arcuri doing nothing and another of Arcuri doing something right in front of my eyes?
The only conclusion I can come to is that Michael Arcuri is doing this on purpose: He wants to keep his campaign activities secret. Why else would he keep his campaign web site so obviously bare? Why else would he fail to inform local newspapers that he would be making an official campaign visit to Trumansburg, a visit that's open to the public?
I've seen this strategy before, and whenever I've seen it I've watched it fail. Whenever I see a candidate try the stealth campaigning approach, I think back to the campaign of Mike Bass for Cayuga County District Attorney a few years ago. When I asked Bass what his strategy was, he said that people from the New York State Democratic Committee had advised him to hold back from campaigning until the last minute, and then let loose with a whole bunch of advertisements and appearances in the last three weeks of the campaign season. He'd take his opponent by surprise. His support would surge. The key, he told me, was secrecy in his campaign until he opened it up.
What happenend? Mike Bass never surged. The Republican incumbent, James Vargason, is still in office. The Seabiscuit strategy of purposefully coming from behind did not work.
What is Michael Arcuri afraid of? Is he afraid that people will actually show up to his campaign events, and that he'll have to actually answer questions he hadn't expected? Well, tough. This is not a campaign for dogcatcher we're talking about, here. It's time that Michael Arcuri put on his big boy pants and started letting the public know when and where he's campaigning - before he gets there.
Tomorrow, Michael Arcuri will be meeting with the Democrats in Caroline between 2:00 and 4:00. I don't know exactly where that meeting will be. If you're in Caroline, call a member of your town's Democratic committee and ask. The web site of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee lists Tim Murray as the representative of your town. Call him at 539-7512 - maybe he knows.
Michael Arcuri will be appearing with the Ulysses Democrats here in Trumansburg tomorrow at 6:00 PM in the Fire Hall. Leigh Ann Scheider, who is coordinating the Democratic Neighborhood Project campaign to call voters and build a Democratic Party database, will also be at the gathering.
As luck would have it, I'm scheduled to be out of town on business tomorrow night, so I won't be able to make it to the meeting. If you're there, drop me a line and let me know how it went.