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09/14/2012

NOM didn't have a good night in NY (despite what the spin machine might sputter forth)

by Jeremy Hooper

Voter turnout for this, an off-year primary held on a Thursday (due to 9/11 observances), was unbelievably sluggish. Disappointingly sluggish for a New York politico like myself. But I digress.

My point in mentioning the turnout is to say that an organization that wanted to make an outsized impact was perfectly primed to do so. Like, say, and organization that has been working for over a year now to demean the character of those who simply voted one way on one bill that went against the organization's purview. Like, say, an organization that has vowed to spend two million buckarooskies for the sole purpose of defeating these lawmakers. Like, say, an organization that has erected billboards and disseminated truly nasty mailers comparing the lawmakers to American traitors like Benedict Arnold? Like, say, an organization called the National Organization for Marriage?

Yet despite the lay of the land and NOM's constant activity (and expenditure) for this expressed purpose, the organization pretty much flunked its key test last night. One of the three Republican senators the org was trying to oust, Mark Grisanti, quite handily (60.1%-39.9%) earned his party's nomination. One, Stephen Saland, is in the lead while absentee ballots are counted. One, Roy McDonald, is narrowly behind his opponent at the moment while absentee ballots are also being counted in his district. There were none of these NOM-initiated

NY State Primary Results [NY Times]

McDonald and Saland could ultimately lose. Even if they do, it's still quite clear that NOM was not been able to hyper-motivate any sort of extra 201209140834enthusiasm on their side. Again, NOM's been on this mission for over a year now, schmearing these legislators' reputations they way other New Yorkers do cream cheese. But even among Republican primary voters, the best they could POSSIBLY do at this point is a tiny, tiny, tiny "win" for one, maybe two, of these races? That's a big statement about where the NY state GOP is, what their priorities are, and how much they will not bend to a D.C. special interest group's money and obsession.

Plus, don't forget that even if NOM's two, more conservative candidates do ultimately prevail, that could actually mean an easier win for those candidates' pro-equality Democratic challenger come general election time. So even with those one or two narrow "wins," NOM will still have an extremely tough time doing anything other than messing with the NY Republicans' electability, numbers, and fair-minded reputation. They still have a long slog ahead, even if Saland and McDonald narrowly go down. Considering how tight the race within the Republican party itself, it's only reasonable to assume that these general election fights in a blue state that has long supported marriage equality by majority numbers will will be even less willing to bend to the NOM agenda. In fact, I will go ahead and argue that the NOM agenda will be a massive drag for that GOP candidate and a boon for the Democratic challengers (Pro-equality Terry Gipson in the Saland district; pro-equality Robin Andrews in the McDonald district).

Last night's numbers are not good for NOM, despite what the truth-challenged organization will inevitably say. Good for the state for pretty much resisting the toxic, out-of-state discrimination! Good for GOP voters for not being wedged the way that aggressive wedge-drivers wanted them to be.

***

*Oh, and don't for a second let them tell you that Democrat Shirley Huntley's primary loss has anything to do with them! Huntley is currently under indictment on corruption charges. *That* is why she lost.

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