Les Roberts Drops Out
As of noon yesterday, Les Roberts is no longer a candidate for the United States House of Representatives. That leaves Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri as the only Democrat left in the race, which means that, once again, the Democratic voters of the 24th district will not have the chance to select their own candidate.
I’m troubled about the implications of this news for the ability of the Democrats to take back Sherwood Boehlert’s seat in the United States House of Representatives. Sherwood Boehlert is retiring, but the Republicans have got a replacement all ready in the form of a guy named Ray Meier. Ray Meier is no centrist, that’s for sure.
On the other hand, Michael Arcuri is not the kind of candidate to get Democrats fired up. He knows how to run a local campaign, but seems to be struggling to reach out to the larger district outside of his home county. Mike Arcuri has seemed overwhelmed as he tries to run for Congress and do his job as District Attorney at the same time, yet has expressed the resolve not to quit as DA in order to give the congressional race the energy it deserves. Furthermore, Arcuri has taken what seems like extraordinary trouble not to venture beyond bland, ambiguous policy statements that, while safe, are surely not inspiring.
Without a primary race to take us through the summer, the congressional race will now fade from the news, and it won’t be until just a couple months before the election that attention turns again to the idea of taking back the House of Representatives. Without drama in the race, and without a Democratic candidate who is willing to run full time in order to create news, what will the newspapers have to report, but the occasional visit of a candidate to a Kiwanis Club?
In the four months that he campaigned, Les Roberts came to speak in Trumansburg twice. Michael Arcuri hasn’t come here at all, and there isn’t any indication that he’s interested in doing so.
There are a lot of people here who were eager to see Les Roberts campaign all the way to the primary, and some who were already signed up to pitch in and do their part. They have the opportunity to volunteer for the Arcuri for Congress campaign now, but Arcuri’s tendency to lean toward the right may not match well with the Trumansburg idea of what the Democratic Party is all about.
Arcuri seems ready to run a standard, paint-by-numbers campaign. That was enough to push out the more idealistic candidates, but what will it mean for the Democratic voters?
As for myself, Arcuri’s commitment to Democratic ideals leaves me underwhelmed. I suppose I’ll vote for him when November comes around, but only as the better-than-nothing option.
These days, we Democrats ought to have the chance to vote for something more than that.