AG Straw Poll: Dinallo, Rice, Coffey (Updated)
Here are the results of the Democratic Rural Conference AG straw poll:
Eric Dinallo: 166
Kathleen Rice: 79
Sean Coffey: 52
Sen. Eric Schneiderman: 33
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky: 22
Dinallo, who has been endorsed by 21 Democratic county chairs, came into this contest – the first official match-up of the campaign – as the frontrunner. He has been working the upstate vote hard since last August.
“Thank you so, so much; thank you DRC,” Dinallo told the crowd. “You represent what is best in all of us. I went out there I listened I learned. We produced ideas together…You’ve done so much for me as a first-time candidate.”
“I cannot thank you enough. Whatever happens this is one of the most amazing experiences in my life…I promise you I will never forget. I will always be there for you, for the party, for the DRC, and for the people of this state, all across this state.”
There are 47 counties in the DRC, all but two of which have 10 votes each (the other two, Saratoga and Niagara, have more ADs and therefore get 11 votes). Some expected Dinallo to do better than his 166 votes, given the number of chairs he has in his corner, but he insisted he is more than pleased with the showing.
The second-place finish by Rice, the Nassau County DA, is a come-from-behind occurrence.
Rice hasn’t made upstate a big priority until recently. But she made a big push here in Niagara Falls and came to the DRC with some new operatives in tow: Election attorney Henry Berger and consultant Frank Hoare, who used to be executive director of the state Democratic Party and knows all the county chairs well.
During her remarks, Rice stressed the importance of ticket-balancing, noting she’s the only woman in the field. (Former city Comptroller Liz Holtzman was nominated form the floor and spoke, but withdrew her name because she’s has not yet decided whether to run).
“I’m not a Wall Street or an Albany insider,” Rice said. “I’m an outsider, a career prosecutor. I spent my career as a reformer…We need a ticket that’s balanced, representing diversity – the core moral and political strength of our party. To me, it’s personal to Andrew Cuomo it’s personal.”
Cuomo is widely speculated to prefer Rice as the AG candidate due to the balance – a woman from the battleground of suburban Long Island – she brings to the ticket. But he has never said as much publicly.
Coffey’s showing is also noteworthy, especially since he started out in this race as an unknown, having neither held elected office nor (unlike Dinallo) worked in government or been active in Democratic politics (although he has been a big donor and fundraiser).
Coffey initially upset some rank-and-file Dems by suggesting he would forgo the state convention and simply petition his way onto the ballot. But he then changed his approach, spending considerable time upstate and pledging to dump $2 million of his own cash into his campaign, which got him some attention.
(He’s the first of the AG contenders on the airwaves with a TV ad that ran upstate in advance of the DRC get-together).
A number of observers remarked that Coffey, as a newcomer, merely needed to place. The fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively, for Scheniderman and Brodsky have got to be a bit of a disappointment, given that both are known entities as veteran elected officials – albeit from downstate.
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