Not News

Jill Terreri is a pretty good reporter at the D&C, but her latest Slaughter/Brooks story is mainly not news. It contains one fact: Slaughter was released from the hospital yesterday. The rest is speculation from the mouths of various area residents. Some of the least compelling is from the most credentialed, Gerald Gamm, who teaches Political Science at the University of Rochester:

“Congresswoman Slaughter is really going to need to pivot and reconnect with everyone outside the city of Rochester,” said Gerald Gamm, a professor of political science at the University of Rochester. “For her the challenge is going to be making the case to suburban voters and rural voters.”

[…] Gamm noted the “toss-up” nature of the district.

None of the paid political forecasters, the ones who actually bother to study the race, believe that this election is a toss-up (Cook, Rothenburg and Sabato have it lean D, D favored and lean D, respectively). In 2008 and 2004, the Democratic candidate for President won the new 25th district. In 2008, the margin was 18 points. In 2004, it was 4 points. Cook has it as a PVI D+4 district. The new 25th votes for Democrats in federal races during Presidential years, and if Slaughter’s health holds, the challenge will be for Brooks to convince the Democratic voters of the district to vote for a Republican.

Here’s more non-wisdom from Gamm:

In the last five presidential elections, Monroe County has voted for the Democrat, but in countywide races has chosen Republican candidates more often.

Perhaps if you have no idea how Monroe County politics work, this might seem convincing. Those of us who have bothered to look at the results have noticed that 137K people voted for County Executive in the last countywide election (2011), while 360K voted in the last Presidential election (2008). The reason that Republicans win the countywide races isn’t because Monroe County voters favor Republicans in county races and Democrats in federal races–it’s because Democrats simply don’t turn out for off-year elections.

So here we have another so-called expert whose expertise consists of oft-repeated, irrelevant bromides and unsubstantiated, and wrong, speculation. Jill Terreri can do better than this.