New York: State AFL-CIO Gives Early Nod to Powers

Posted June 27, 2008 at 4:55pm

Iraq War veteran Jon Powers, one of four Democrats running in the race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R), received the early endorsement Friday of the New York AFL-CIO.

The federation traditionally hands out Congressional endorsements at its August convention, but “Jon Powers enjoys such overwhelming support of the local labor movement within the 26th congressional district, the State Federation’s executive board decided to vote earlier than usual,” state AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes said in a statement.

The endorsement is particularly noteworthy because Powers’ leading Democratic primary opponent, factory owner Jack Davis, has made his opposition to free-trade agreements a cornerstone of his campaign. Powers has already been endorsed by about 15 other unions in the Buffalo area.

Erie County legislator Kathy Konst and attorney Alice Kryzan are also seeking the Democratic nomination. The likely Republican nominee is businessman Chris Lee.

Tonko Has Wide Lead in His Own New Poll

Former state Assemblyman Paul Tonko had a wide lead in the Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D), according to a poll released late last week by Tonko’s campaign.

Tonko was favored by 42 percent of the voters surveyed in the Global Strategy Group poll. Tracey Brooks, a former aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), took 14 percent, and Albany County legislator Phil Steck had 6 percent. The poll of 401 likely primary voters, taken June 19-22, had a 4.9-point margin of error.

The campaigns of Steck and Brooks quickly argued that Tonko’s strong showing was more a product of his high name recognition in the district rather than rock-solid support. Indeed, Tonko, who spent 20 years in the Assembly, was known to 64 percent of the poll respondents. He was viewed favorably by 56 percent of those queried.

Steck was known to just 22 percent of those queried, while Brooks was known to 23 percent.

McNulty, who is retiring after two decades on Capitol Hill and a lifetime in Albany-area politics, had a favorable/unfavorable rating of 90 percent to 6 percent.

Tonko also recently picked up the endorsements of two prominent Democrats who contemplated running for the Congressional seat themselves: Albany County Executive Michael Breslin and Susan Savage, the chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature.