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Posted by on Feb 15, 2009 in Politics, Society | 0 comments

Will Tedisco and Murphy Debate Gun Control?

Now that various New York Democratic Party chairs have selected Scott Murphy to run against Jim Tedisco in the March 31 special congressional election, the new candidate wasted no time in lining up some endorsements. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand,(D – NY) who previously held the seat, and Congressman Paul Tonko (D – Amsterdam) showed up to give Murphy the nod.

Gillibrand, who returned to the state Saturday after working to try and approve the economic stimulus package in Washington, said that Murphy would be an excellent member of Congress.

He will be successful because he is an entrepreneur — because he knows how to create jobs, how to make small businesses grow, and how tax cuts will make a difference for our middle-class families,” said Gillibrand.

Murphy himself chose the occasion to stick in a talking point on gun control.

Murphy noted that he was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment rights to bear firearms but would work to ensure that they stay out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and that he was ready to debate Tedisco as soon and as often as he can.

Getting in a pro-gun statement early is a requirement in the largely rural 20th district, but a debate on guns between these candidates could turn out to be an interesting one. Murphy doesn’t have much in the way of political experience on his resume, but he does list his time as an aide to Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan. Stories about Mel abound, but one of the more intriguing ones was his stealth campaign against Proposition B, executed through his daughter, Robin Carnahan. Prop B was a 1999 referendum to compel law enforcement officials to issue concealed carry permits in designated areas to qualified, law abiding citizens. The measure failed, largely through Carnahan’s efforts, though a similar measure was finally passed in 2003. It would be interesting to find out what, if any, work Murphy performed in his role as gubernatorial aide de camp in the prop B work.

Upon leaving Missouri, Murphy moved to New York City – not exactly a hotbed of second amendment rights – and seems to be a late arrival to the gun rights bandwagon. In fact, Scott lived in the Big Apple for some time and only moved to the upstate area with his wife three years ago. (This may prove an interesting factoid for Tedisco’s opponents who are currently questioning his residence bona fides. Jim is a lifelong resident of the upper Hudson Valley.)

Murphy also told an amusing anecdote about his arrival in the 20th district in 2006, when some locals “delighted him” by teaching him how to milk a cow. As a quick aside to Scott, most of us up here learned how to do that before we went to kindergarten. (I believe I was about six years old when my uncles taught me.) You might not want to hit that talking point too hard in Dutchess County.

On a related note regarding resume entries, Murphy also lists his position as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Roger Wilson. This is certainly true, and it’s a nice item to list on your job application, but it may be worth recalling some of the facts surrounding Governor Wilson’s tenure. As Lt. Governor, Wilson announced back in March of 1999 the he was “sick of politics” and had no plan to seek reelection in 2000. His boss, Governor Mel Carnahan, was busy running for the Senate when, only a few weeks before the election, he was tragically killed in a plane crash along with his son and chief of staff. In the ensuing confusion, Wilson wound up taking office for roughly eleven weeks, scrambling to fill up all the required offices and never even finished moving his things into the Governor’s office. It would appear that somebody was grabbing up various aides and this included asking Murphy, “Hey! Would you like to be deputy chief of staff for a couple of months?” It remains unclear exactly what sort of work was being done during that period.

In yet another of those interesting but likely useless bits of political deja vu, Governor Wilson’s single memorable act as Governor wound up being his nepotism fueled appointment of his former boss’ widow to the vacant Missouri Senate seat after Carnahan won that election posthumously. Jean Carnahan held that seat only until a special election could be conducted and it went to Republican Jim Talent who, in turn, gave it up to Claire McCaskill in 2006. Now Wilson’s briefly seated deputy Chief of Staff is seeking to fill a seat vacated by another gubernatorial Senate appointment. It’s funny how the political wheel keeps turning but the same stories play out over and over again.