The Loneliness of the Good Candidate

I feel sorry for Joe DioGuardi, running a near-futile race against Kirsten Gillibrand. I feel even sorrier for Jay Townsend. At least some people have heard of DioGuardi; Townsend is a ghost, one that is barely even haunting Chuck Schumer.

That, of course, is the state of the Republican party in New York. The guy who sends around bestiality cartoons and says gay people don't have a valid life? That guy everyone knows. The two men with credentials, strong positions on the issues, clean campaigns and just the one family each? They barely get mentioned.

Part of that is a function of just how un-winnable those races seem. On the other hand, no one thought Schumer would unseat Al D'Amato, and that happened. No one thought George Pataki would beat Mario Cuomo, and that happened too. So perhaps races shouldn't be written off. Anything can happen, even in New York, especially in a crazy year like this one.

But then there's the money:

It’s a battle for voters’ eyes and ears, but right now DioGuardi financially trails Gillibrand, who has $4 million in hand, as well as the backing of senior Sen. Chuck Schumer. (New York Post)

The lopsided financials also account for the lopsided polls, with most showing DioGuardi trailing by 20 or so points.

Unfair though it may be, the media cares about the scandalous candidates, and neither of these solid men fit the bill.

DioGuardi is extremely numbers-focused, having been a Certified Public Accountant, and sends out a “Stat of the Day from a CPA.” I can hear the reporters yawning from here.

Townsend, meanwhile, is a major do-gooder. From his website:

Townsend is the former Senior Warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he spearheaded the most successful capital campaign in church history, helped lead community outreach efforts to aid the underserved, staff area soup kitchens, send supplies to wounded soldiers at Landstuhl, Germany, and provide assistance to impoverished children in South Africa.

What's a reporter going to do with that? "Really nice guy runs against Chuck Schumer and his TV cameras"?

So it is that the bad candidates get the publicity, and ultimately deflate the good. In a year when so many "safe" seats seem to be in play, it's unfortunate that New York got two great candidates who aren't likely to make it. Would I love to be proved wrong on election day? Of course. I'm hoping DioGuardi and Townsend surprise us all.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.