Turned off by candidates with nothing but money

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Candidate Mc Mahon paid for countless commercials touting her jobs plan, but voters decided that where she stood on issues was a lot more important. Once her opponent started reciting her views on women’s issues and other pocketbook matters like cutting Social Security, McMahon’s campaign was destined to fail. Connecticut voters decided that where the candidate stands on the issues of the day is more important than how much money is being spent on ads.

A similar race, in which one candidate spent an enormous amount of money and lost, was the contest in the 1st Congressional District on Long Island’s East End. Republican Randy Altschuler has made two costly attempts in the past four years to beat Congressman Tim Bishop. Altschuler wasn’t a longtime resident of Suffolk County, and was attacked as being an exporter of jobs overseas.

Bishop raised large amounts of money from many private citizens, but couldn’t spend as much as his opponent. A respected former provost of Long Island University, Bishop also had a solid track record of fighting for his constituents. Voters recognized that Altschuler was a deep-pocketed newcomer to the region, and gave the race to Bishop by a wide margin. So, once again, millions of dollars in donated and personal funds did not beat the incumbent.

If you looked at the statements of net worth of members of the U.S. Senate, you’d no doubt find quite a few multimillionaires. All of them got elected long before the public started to get turned off by politicians with fat wallets. No doubt, in the years to come, other wealthy people will be urged to run. But the lessons of the McMahon and Altschuler candidacies should be a warning to the political bosses that just having a big bankroll isn’t a ticket to Washington, or Albany.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.

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