When my friend Ian McGaughey was asked to run for the New York State Assembly in 2008, I knew he'd make a formidable candidate. He'd proven himself to be hard working and resourceful, racking up two consecutive town board victories in his municipality of 13,000 despite being on the wrong end of party enrollment nearly three-to-one
His odds looked even brighter when the sitting Assemblyman, Roy McDonald, announced a run for the New York State Senate, thereby creating an open contest. The man tapped to face McGaughey in the general election, lawyer Tony Jordan, was little known and not terribly charismatic. Still, Jordan held a significant advantage in party enrollment throughout the vast district.
The state party leadership on both sides took note of the race and started pumping funds into what became the most expensive Assembly race in New York that year. McGaughey and Jordan each raised and spent more than a million dollars—this in a district which had often gone uncontested. In 2008 New York State politics, it was the race to watch.
Ultimately, the enrollment disadvantage proved too much for Ian, and he came up short on election night. Yet party leaders heralded his run as a victory, as it had forced the other side to spend vast amounts of precious resources on a district they'd never had to think about in the past.
Throughout my involvement as a volunteer on Ian's campaign, I kept a digital scrapbook of photos and videos chronicling his landmark run. In the following pages you'll find some of those files along with a few links that remain online from the contest. Ian has been gracious enough to provide some commentary for this site, even though it must feel like ancient history to him at this point.
So sit back, relax and let's go back to upstate New York in the fall of 2008...