Say what you want about New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino, but he sure does adhere masterfully to that old adage, “all publicity is good publicity.”
The same cannot be said for Joe DioGuardi, the Republican running for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat, who has also enjoyed the support of the Tea Party movement, but has done so without nearly the same anger and (dare we say) charisma as Paladino.
Here’s a look at that other New York Republican running for office this year…DioGuardi, who hails from Ossining, NY, is probably most well known for spawning former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.
The elder DioGuardi was able to sail through the September 14 primary to go up against Gillibrand. But his primary opponents David Malpass and Bruce Blakeman were also unknowns, while Gillibrand had seemed an insurmountable force up until recently. She effectively scared off any serious primary challengers, including Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), and Harold Ford, Jr., and a few potential Republican candidates like former Bush Administration Iraq spokesman Dan Senor, Rep. Peter King, former Gov. George Pataki, and of course, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
But in a year in which likely voters tend to lean Republican, even an unknown like DioGuardi in a historically blue state like New York is making a strong showing in the early general election polls. A recent Quinnipiac poll only gave Gillibrand a six-point lead, and a Survey USA poll put her ahead by one point. A recent Marist poll has a slightly sunnier outlook for Gillibrand, who leads 54%-42% among likely voters. The previous Marist poll — from all the way back in early May — gave Gillibrand a 50%-30% lead.
The TPM Poll Average puts Gillibrand ahead 50.3%-37.3%.
So who is Joe DioGuardi?
Well, aside from being a former Congressman, he often likes to brag that he’s an accountant. In fact, DioGuardi is the “first practicing certified public accountant ever elected to the U.S. Congress,” he brags. “Imagine that. One person that understands how to add when it comes to things going on in Washington.” DioGuardi also likes to tell crowds that he was like “a prophet” when writing his book 17 years ago, because he predicted parts of the current financial crisis with a chapter called “The Big Apple and Washington: One Bailout After Another.”
As for social issues, DioGuardi is strongly pro-life, though according to his campaign he “has consistently made exceptions in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.” This isn’t enough for pro-choice group NARAL, however, which has said it’s “extremely concerned” about DioGuardi’s views on abortion.
Gillibrand’s campaign has hit him for this too, telling the New York Daily News:
As NARAL Pro-Choice New York speaks out resolutely against Carl Paladino’s anti-choice positions, New Yorkers should know that former Congressman turned lobbyist Joe DioGuardi also opposes reproductive rights even in cases of rape and incest. In fact, Joe DioGuardi voted to ban funding for reproductive care even when a mother’s life is in danger.
DioGuardi is also opposed to gay marriage, saying in an August appearance on WPIX that he “would not be supporting anything that would call same sex couples living together as marriage.” In the same appearance he staunchly advocated for the second amendment, calling it an “individual right” and adding: “I believe in it strongly, self defense.”
And here’s video from that appearance:
DioGuardi has also come out against the Cordoba House Islamic center near Ground Zero, saying in the same August interview that “we have to be a lot more sensitive.” He argued that the funding source of the Cordoba House needs to be investigated, “to be absolutely sure that this isn’t some Wahhabist, Saudi Arabian group which spawned in the Madrassas.”
As for Obama: At a recent event by the Central New York Tea Party in Otego, NY, DioGuardi said he’s “going to be your new Paul Revere.” Why? Because “the new tyrant is not King George III. It’s Barack Obama and that administration, including Gillibrand,” he said.
And here’s DioGuardi’s first TV ad for the campaign, which he released this week. “We’re spending money we don’t have,” he says in the ad, “and we’re putting the American dream in jeopardy.”
Photos courtesy of Joe DioGuardi’s Flickr stream.