Archives For Gary Ackerman

Just a few quick notes for you this Friday to start off your weekend.

Halloran Won’t Be Running For Congress: Conservative New York City Councilman, and out Theodsman, Dan Halloran has decided he won’t be challenging Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman in November. According to Halloran, it all came down to money.

“After seriously weighing a congressional run against Rep. Gary Ackerman, Republican City Council Member Dan Halloran has decided to take a pass on the race—at least until 2012. Halloran said he had been in talks with the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) about how much money they could provide for the race, a key factor given that it is already mid-May and he has not begun fundraising for a Congressional campaign. According to Halloran, the NRCC last week offered him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” but “less than a million”—not enough for Halloran to run against Ackerman and his $1.1 million war chest, he said. Halloran declined to name the exact amount the NRCC had offered him. Still, Halloran said the fact that the NRCC offered him any money was an indication of his potential viability running against a 14-term incumbent.”

The NRCC denies offering Halloran any concrete amount of money for the race, and says that their contact with the potential candidate was “brief”, and “months ago”. This final decision came after months of “will he or won’t he” starting in March when rumors of a Tea Party-fueled candidacy first arose. He at first said he was “content” being a city council member, but then changed his answer to a “maybe” in April, citing anger over health care reform. But now he’s definitely out, and the NRCC are backing a candidate that isn’t Halloran, so it seems that the matter is settled. At least until 2012, as Halloran says he’s “definitely not precluding running in two years”.

Druids Reduce Highway Deaths: Austria’s Motorway Authority have apparently been hiring Druids to cleanse “blackspots”, places on the highway where accidents are concentrated.

“Motoroway bosses in Austria secretly hired a full-time team of druids to drain ‘negative energy’ from accident blackspots. The team is said to have reduced fatal accidents at one notorious crash site to zero after restoring its “terrestrial radiation”. Chief engineer Harald Dirnbacher from Austria’s motorway authority ASFINAG explained: “We were really sceptical at first and certainly didn’t want people to know what we were doing, so we kept it secret.” But now the trial results are so impressive officials are spreading the scheme nationwide.”

I would love to know which Druids these are. Part of a larger organization? A small local group? I also wish I could see the data verifying their results. How many years did they measure the effects of this “negative energy” drain? Was this effort coupled with more secular engineering solutions? Inquiring minds want to know!

The Return of the Revenge of the Secular Cross: So first the Supreme Court said that a WWI Christian cross memorial on public lands could be a secular symbol honoring soldiers of all religions, then someone stole the cross, prompting outrage. Then the vandal released an anonymous statement on the matter, and now someone has anonymously put up an replica even bigger cross.

“There is a twist in the case of the missing cross. Mysteriously (or miraculously?) a cross has arisen at the spot in the Mojave Desert where a large one at the center of a dispute over church and state disappeared this month. The new cross, about six inches taller than the seven-foot one stolen from the rock it sat on since the mid-1990s, was discovered Thursday by National Park Service workers.”

However, one illegal act doesn’t cancel out another illegal act, so that cross will be taken down. In fact, it’s an open question if the cross can be replaced at all until the legal appeals regarding the land-transition deal are heard. No doubt there will be a lot more in the case of the secular cross in the weeks and months to come.

That’s all I have for now, but before you go, be sure and check out an interview with yours truly over at Patheos.com.

Have a great day!

Last month rumors started swirling that newly elected New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, an openly Theodish political conservative, was considering a Tea Party-fueled challenge to Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman in November. After a few days of speculation, and increasing attention from political reporters, Halloran seemed to back down on a serious attempt for the seat, though he did leave the door open a crack in case he changed his mind.

“I’ll sit down and talk to [local party leaders], but I’m not inclined to run … I haven’t ruled it out, but Gary Ackerman has tremendous financial and political resources. My big picture right now is the state of the city and that our district gets its fair share of money.”

Well it looks like Halloran’s inclination is changing, his spokesman Steve Stites now says that he’s “considering” a run for Ackerman’s seat, while Halloran himself is saying that Ackerman’s support for the recently-passed health care package has “changed things a lot”.

“City Council Member Dan Halloran, a Republican elected last year, said that he is now strongly considering challenging Rep. Gary Ackerman for Congress after Ackerman’s vote for the health care package passed last month and Ackerman’s behavior at the bill’s signing ceremony.”

The big question: does he have a chance of winning? Swing State Project seems to think it’s a long-shot.

NY-05: Dan Halloran, a Republican who won a Dem-held seat on the NYC City Council last year, is weighing a challenge to Rep. Gary Ackerman. Halloran, a practicing Theodist, thinks he can make Ackerman pay a price for voting in favor of healthcare reform. Ackerman, for his part, has $1.1 million on hand and the support of the Queens Independence Party. This district also went 63-36 for Obama (but notably, that’s the same percentage that Kerry got, suggesting there was something of a “conservative white ethnic New Yorkers for McCain” effect here).”

To make this a close contest, two things would have to change, the Queens Independence Party (which backed Halloran for City Council) would have to switch support from Ackerman to Halloran, and he’d have to pick up a lot more money so he could run in a far larger geographic area. He would also have to pick up a lot of support outside of Tea Party and local conservative parties. Recent polling analysis shows that despite the Tea Party’s momentum and enthusiasm, they are predominately a conservative movement, and it’s fair to say they might do little to sway non-conservative-leaning independent voters.

“Although the Tea Party gets pretty decent numbers among independents, support is smaller among self-proclaimed moderates; only about 15 percent of moderates support the tea-party (Gallup) and about 10 percent consider themselves a part of it (Wilson). Liberals, who support the tea-party in the high single digits, are actually pretty close to the moderates.”

Naturally anything can change in politics, but a swing and miss here could harm Halloran’s long-term political future. Especially if local Queens residents start seeing him as someone more interested in higher office than in serving out the term he was just elected for. Ackerman, meanwhile, seems pretty confident that the health-care vote won’t harm his standing with local constituents.

“Ackerman said the health care bill was a “very easy vote” for him and that the bill was overwhelmingly popular in his district. Ackerman added that he was “not overly concerned” with a potential Halloran challenge, noting that the Council member represents only about 20 percent of Ackerman’s constituents, while Ackerman has represented all of Halloran’s constituents for decades.”

I’m guessing that Halloran will remains a “maybe” unless something happens, a bad poll, evidence of softening support for Ackerman, or a scandal, that would make him believe he has a real chance at the brass ring. How long he can do the “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” dance without frustrating his Tea Party supporters remains to be seen.

Even though Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran’s political career has just begun, the openly Pagan politician may be setting his sights higher in the near future. The Theodsman has apparently been wowing them at local Tea Party gatherings, and there’s a growing number who want him to challenge Congressman Gary Ackerman in November.

“Recently I attended a Tea Party event focused on interviewing candidates to take on U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) in the Fifth Congressional District … I believe that strategically we need a proven vote-getter in order to mount the campaign needed to take on an incumbent like Ackerman. We need City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). While I liked what I heard from every prospective candidate, I was particularly engaged by Halloran, who gave inspiring introductory remarks at the meeting on our traditions of federalism, limited government and the need for fiscal responsibility. Halloran won a heated election just last year against Ackerman’s former deputy director of community affairs, Kevin Kim, despite the congressman putting substantial political capital against Halloran in a hard-hitting and aggressive campaign.”

While I don’t normally consider letters to the editor “news” it notes that the event Halloran spoke at was “a Tea Party event focused on interviewing candidates”, which means the City Councilman must be giving at least some thought to running for higher office. The BlueCollarCorner blog is supportive of the idea.

“When I questioned Dan on the possibility of him running so soon after winning the council seat he was quite apprehensive. He didn’t want to come off as opportunistic to his extremely loyal residents who put countless hours in on getting him elected. I explained to him that as noble as that sounds it’s those same people who are pushing you to take on this race. He again spoke of voter fatigue and financial shortfall and I told him the story of a man that was 30 pts. behind in the polls and not a dollar to his name and trying to get the seat of a man who was the ” Lion of the Senate” That man was Scott Brown and that lion was Ted Kennedy. The Tea Party Factor is unlike any movement we have seen in our lifetimes and if you are picked to serve, serve you must not because you are being forced it’s because we need you.”

These populist rumblings in favor of Halloran are getting noticed,  But even if Halloran does throw his hat into the ring and decide to run for Congress he would face a far tougher battle than before. First, there’s no telling exactly how strong the Tea Party vote is in New York’s Fifth Congressional District, could the populist movement bring in the votes and volunteers he needs? Would he benefit from a larger “Get Out Of Our House” groundswell? Secondly, you can bet the Pagan issue would get used against him again. While that tactic ultimately backfired on a neighborhood level, where he was a known commodity, it could seriously damage a larger campaign. Third, and finally, he’d need a lot of money, far more than the shoestring he ran his last campaign on. Will the New York GOP have his back, or would have have to depend on small donations from individual voters?

For now, Halloran seems to be testing the waters, being understandably cautious to overreach so early in his political career. But if support continues to grow, and Ackerman looks weak, we may see the reemergence of candidate Halloran. If that happens, you can be sure the Pagan Newswire Collective, Pagan+Politics, and The Wild Hunt will be covering the race.