The Corner

The Battle for Western New York

The special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, which will be held on Tuesday, is heating up in its final days. On Wednesday night, the top two contenders, Republican Jane Corwin and Democrat Kathy Hochul, met for their final debate. Jack Davis, a 78-year-old former Democrat who is running on the “Tea Party” line, did not show.

Corwin and Hochul squared off on a variety of topics, but none more so than Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and its Medicare provisions. “I have made a commitment that I will take to my grave,” said Hochul, the Erie County clerk. “I will fight any plan that tries to decimate Medicare.”

Corwin, a state legislator who is supportive of Ryan’s agenda, defended the GOP push for entitlement reform. “The plan I am supporting is not a voucher system,” she insisted. “We have to take action now, because what my opponent is advocating for is to do nothing. If we do nothing, the plan goes bankrupt in 13 years.”

But Medicare was not the only topic of debate. Though the Ryan budget dominated the discussion, a campaign video produced by Corwin’s chief of staff was another hot-button issue. Michael Mallia, the Corwin staffer, recently approached Jack Davis with a hand-held video camera and filmed the candidate waving his arm toward the lens. In the clip, Mallia can be heard screaming as Davis nears.

The video — which has generated over 80,000 views on YouTube — is strange, and a thorn in Corwin’s side.

“As far as I’m concerned, the video speaks for itself,” said Corwin last night in her campaign’s defense. “It’s up to the people to decide how they feel about it.” She added that since Mallia made the tape on his own personal time, she would not fire him for his guerrilla-video antics. Hochul noted that if Mallia was her staffer, he would have been fired.

Social Security fireworks came next. “We need to address Social Security,” Corwin said. “What I would propose, whatever we do, is that we make sure that we are not raising Social Security taxes, make sure we are not privatizing the fund, and I want make sure that there is means testing.”

“Means testing, vouchers, that’s just not fair,” Hochul replied.

Over the course of the hour-long debate, Corwin, who is a calm and telegenic candidate, did make some points beyond Medicare and video squabbles. She began by highlighting her family’s phone-book business, which has made her millions. She also advocated for charter schools, against unfair trade practices with China, and for tax reform.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More