Stone's Throw

A Little (Moot) Inside Baseball On Last Night’s Election Coverage ✅

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This column first appeared in our Examiner+ email newsletter.

It was a pretty wild night of election coverage as Democrats staved off the predicted “Red Wave” across the map but endured a black eye in a key local race with national implications. 

But first a quick story about modern election coverage from last night’s reporting.

(Getty Images)

Examiner Editor-in-Chief Martin Wilbur was stationed at Republican Mike Lawler’s headquarters in Rockland County. 

All eyes were on the assemblyman as he was vying to unseat local Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who just happens to be the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

Martin texted me in the wee hours, sharing how a top Lawler comms official we both know and trust said his candidate was about to declare victory. This was at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Much of the vote from the Westchester portion of the district remained outstanding, and Maloney/Democrats enjoy a significant advantage in the county.

I tweeted from our @ExaminerMedia account how Lawler was about to declare.

Shortly after, a top comms official for Maloney tweeted back at us, calling the decision to declare victory irresponsible and premature by Lawler. 

“This race is too close to call with far more votes outstanding in Westchester than the margin in the race,” Maloney communications specialist Mia Ehrenberg said in response to our reporting on Lawler’s plans to declare victory. “This is premature and irresponsible of Lawler.”

Lawler’s camp eventually reversed course on explicit declaration plans. Martin updated me on the Lawler campaign’s pivot, and texted me this carefully-parsed quote from a different source to post to our Twitter, once the campaign team decided to avoid an explicit declaration:

“I have no doubt that Mike Lawler will be the next congressman from New York 17,” Lawrence Garvey, Rockland’s GOP chair, told Martin after the campaign’s 180. 

The team waited for the Westchester numbers to roll in, and shouted victory just hours ago.

It’s not clear what role the media reporting did or did not play in this series of events — more than likely no role at all. But, while it’s all moot inside baseball at this hour, it is pretty stunning to consider the impact that social media has on today’s political communications game, and how the tail can sometimes wag the dog (or at least deliver that perception).

Anyway, since it’s almost impossible to break win/loss news these days, competing against board of election websites and all the rest, I figured a little color would be the next best thing. 

Here’s Martin’s most recent article post about the Congressional District 17 results. (As you’ll see, Lawler is taking a victory lap at an event this afternoon in New City.)

Meanwhile, there was a slew of more local municipal races, from Mt. Kisco to Putnam, and much else in between, left, right, up, down, and center. Some propositions as well.

In Kisco, voters overwhelmingly approved two separate propositions to increase the maximum Length of Service Program Award for fire department and ambulance corps members from $400 to $750 a month.

News editor Rick Pezzullo has that roundup

And despite the sting of the Maloney loss for local Democrats, the party had plenty to cheer. 

Five incumbents — Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senators Pete Harckham and Shelley Mayer, and Assembly members Amy Paulin and Chris Burdick — were all victorious in their reelection bids, some by larger margins than others. Rick posted this summary.

Martin also posted a separate report on some of the state races. His roundup notes another big win for local Republicans — Matt Slater’s victory. 

The Yorktown supervisor is a rising star in the party; he won a new job in last’s night’s election, capturing District 94’s assembly seat. Slater handily defeated Carmel attorney Kathleen Valletta 32,063 to 17,607. 

On the other hand, Democrats were buoyed by Ossining Supervisor Dana Levenberg winning in the 95th. 

Some big Republican wins offset by big Democratic wins seemed to be the story of the night across the country. 

Here’s that write-up from Martin.

We have tons of other non-election news and features to share this week but we’ll leave that till tomorrow.

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