Post-primary grousing had mayoral candidate Hayes Clement supporters accusing the Working Families Party of pouring $40,000 into the Shayne Gallo campaign in the last month. Official campaign spending reports showed Clement with about $15,000 in contributions, Gallo with about $4,500.
“Absurd,” laughed WFP local coordinator Jennifer Fuentes. “We spent no more than $5,000, which is a lot for us. It was actually great if they valued our work at $40,000.”
The Working Families Party is generally considered an extension of organized labor, if not its tool. The party, with 94 enrollees in Kingston, usually supports pro-labor Democrats.
But why support Gallo, who has never held a public office? Fuentes, who is completing a term as Fifth Ward alderwoman, said party members were impressed by the broad support Gallo was able to generate among “working people.”
Conversely, she said the party regrets endorsing Mayor Jim Sottile in 2007, given his frequent battles with city labor unions. “He went so far off the reservation that we really had to make things right [by backing Gallo],” she said.
Gallo, an assistant city attorney, is a member of Sottile’s staff and an advisor on labor issues. Go figure.
Fuentes confirms, as the opposition suspected, that Kingston was being targeted by the party. “It isn’t often that we get a Democrat (Gallo) that we can really believe in and at the same time make a difference,” she said. “You might say we were flexing our muscles.”
Indeed. There’s no way to be precise about this, but it appeared Gallo was treading water, maybe 200 votes down a month before the Sept. 13 primary. A Working Families last-ditch push, which included door-to-door campaigning and phone banks, got the candidate to within half a dozen votes election night. Success has many fathers, failure none.
As a footnote, I’ve gotten some flak from the Clementines for calling Gallo’s the “best campaign” By that, I meant Gallo’s back-from-the-dead stretch run, detailed above, not his campaign tactics. In fact, Clement ran a positive, issue-oriented campaign while Gallo’s frequently devolved into class warfare and baseless innuendo. “Best” that wasn’t.
Watch out, Mo
With the New York congressional delegation losing two seats next year, the upset win by a conservative Republican in a heavily Democratic district in Brooklyn last week had to send chills through Maurice Hinchey’s 26th Congressional District.