Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy has been with The Buffalo News since 1982 and a political reporter for the paper since 1992. Election Day means little sleep for him, but he still found time to talk to WBFO's Howard Riedel about his Election Day 2019 takeaways.

On the eve of Election Day, Buffalo News politics reporter Bob McCarthy says voters are seeing "really nasty ads" from both sides in the race for Erie County Executive between incumbent Mark Poloncarz and Lynne Dixon. McCarthy also weighs in on the bigger picture in the City of Buffalo and how a lack of competitive races could affect turnout. And which are the county legislature races to watch on Tuesday?


When Corey Lewandowski visited Western New York last week, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump carried a message of confidence the President would be reelected. Lewandowski told Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy that the current impeachment inquiry will energize the Trump base in 2020. McCarthy says Lewandowski, despite losing his job during the 2016 campaign, remains a close Trump confidante.

Many observers believed David Bellavia would win the 27th Congressional seat, if he chose to run. On Sunday, the war hero announced he will not enter the race, opening the door for other interested parties. Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy believes Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw will soon enter the race. Batavia Assemblyman Steve Hawley could also join a heavy Republican field that also includes state senators Rob Ortt and Chris Jacobs, and attorney Beth Parlato.


In the end, their guilty pleas were for misdemeanor charges. But the cases involving Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff may have a wider impact. "I have been writing about these kinds of things for 25 years," said Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy. "And, finally, they're now coming home to roost." As McCarthy points out, prosecutors have often overlooked suspicions of illegal campaign coordination. In the cases of Pfaff and Mazurek--and their connection with Steve Pigeon--it took the state Attorney General to pursue the case. 

WBFO News file photo

For Bob McCarthy, the veteran political reporter for the Buffalo News, Chris Collins' narrow reelection in the 27th Congressional District is one of the memorable sories of the 2018 election. However, he believes the most important development may be the Democratic Party regaining control of the state Senate. As McCarthy points out, with only one Democratic Senator in the region--Buffalo's Tim Kennedy--Upstate's clout in state government may continue to dwindle. 

While some races have been at the center of attention--the 27th Congressional district, the race for Governor--the battle for control of the state Senate has been overlooked. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy expects many districts to be hotly contested. If a "blue wave" of Democratic voters turns out on Election Day, Republicans could lose control of the Senate and their party would have little influence on the legislative agenda in Albany.   


Prior to his appearance in Elma Wednesday night, Steve Bannon provided access to Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy. During the ride from the airport to the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Hall, Bannon embarked on a "stream of consciousness" in sharing his political vision with McCarthy. The reporter says he encountered an "intense, loyal" thinker who sees the approaching midterm elections as "crucial to the future of the Trump presidency."


The political coattails of Donald Trump should be enough for a Republican candidate to cruise to victory in the 27th Congressional District where the majority of voters enthusiastically support the President. For Congressman Chris Collins that path turned complicated upon his indictment on insider trading charges. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy says it's too soon to predict an upset, but he believes Collins faces many hurdles in getting the district's Republican majority out to vote in November. 


Three months ago, Chris Collins was expected to cruise to reelection in November. That was before the congressman was indicted on insider trading charges and announced he was suspending his campaign. Collins, of course, reversed that decision, stating that he would "actively" campaign in the 27th district. As Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy points out, that activity has featured some limited public appearances and  heavy spending on political advertising, including one commercial which has raised the ire of ethnic groups and Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.


Initial reports indicate voter turnout Thursday may have doubled the numbers who went to the polls in 2014. That development despite concerns that moving Primary Day from Tuesday would confuse voters. "Maybe we should move it to Thursday every year," joked Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy. While the analysis is just beginning, McCarthy says there's little doubt New York's Democratic voters have been energized by messages countering President Donald Trump's agenda.


To look at the polls, there should be runaway victories for the incumbents in today's Primary Day election. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy says the numbers can't anticipate voter turnout, notably in the Democratic Primary for Lieutenant Governor.  Incumbent Kathy Hochul holds a sizable advantage in the polls, but McCarthy points out how her challenger, Jumaane Williams, could benefit from the support of his home borough of Brooklyn where one million registered Democrats reside.


Most political observers believed the Republican party would hold New York's 27th Congressional district in the November election. That belief may have wavered yesterday when Congressman Chris Collins was indicted on charges of insider trading. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy points out how the majority of voters in the district are registered Republican. But he also predicts Democratic challenger Nate McMurray's campaign will receive a substantial financial boost from national interests hoping for an upset in the district.


A local panel of distinguished media members will discuss the relationships between presidents and the news media tonight at the Buffalo History Museum starting at 6 PM.

Election 2017 offered another display of Erie County's counterintuitive voting habits. Despite a larger base of Democratic registrants, three county races went to Republicans. Those victories, however, were offset by the defeat of a GOP incumbent in the county legislature, giving Democrats majority control as of January 1. "Anything can happen here," said Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy during his weekly conversation on WBFO's Morning Edition. "That's why it's so interesting to watch."


A payment of $50,000 to an unidentified woman by Sam Hoyt, the former head of the state regional economic developmental agency, to secure a confidentiality agreement is sparking controversy. In his weekly conversation with WBFO, Bob McCarthy reviews his reporting on the matter. The timeline raises questions of whether high-level state officials were aware of the situation; and, if so, why did they not act upon it earlier?


The heavy presence of political signs littered about Hamburg, Amherst and Lancaster reveal hotly-contested races for key positions in those towns. It's a different story in Buffalo as Primary Day essentially determined which Democrats would hold key city offices. According to Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, those trends may boost Republicans to victory in three countywide races.


Western New York proved to be productive ground Wednesday for Vice President Mike Pence. As Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy reports, Pence attended a fundraiser at Salvatore's that earned $400,000 for Republican Party efforts. The visit also featured a discussion with local small businesses who heard Pence pitch the benefits of the Trump Administration's tax overhaul plan, a proposal that has been blasted by the leaders of New York State's Democratic Party.


For many years, local Democratic Party candidates sought the endorsement of the Conservative Party. According to  Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, the endorsement boosted vote totals and served to separate a candidate's identity from downstate Democrats. That trend is fading, apparently with encouragement from local Democratic officials.


Democrats enjoy a significant edge over Republicans in Erie County when it comes to party affiliations among registered voters. As Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy analyzed during his weekly discussion with WBFO, that advantage often comes up short on Election Day. Republicans are favored to hold onto three countywide posts in November: County Clerk, County Comptroller and Sheriff.


Though former State Senator George Maziarz is the one facing corruption charges in an upcoming trial, many of the familiar leaders of Niagara County politics could be injured.  In his weekly conversation with WBFO, Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy says the trial will feature testimony and evidence that could harm some political careers.

Throughout their campaign challenges to Mayor Byron Brown, City Comptroller Mark Schroeder and Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant hammered away at the lack of economic progress in many Buffalo neighborhoods. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy believes the message resonated but, in the end, Brown's organization and record were good enough to earn a victory in Tuesday's Democratic Primary.


While Donald Trump's victory in the Presidential election came as a surprise to many, there was one local Republican figure who believed in Trump's possibilities from the start. According to Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, developer Carl Paladino "saw something that nobody else did, including the pollsters."


The Presidential election is less than a week away, but Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy believes there's enough time for voter sentiments to sway again in what has been a topsy-turvy race. During his weekly conversation with WBFO, McCarthy wonders if Donald Trump's recent surge in the polls will translate into Electoral College success.


Political advertising paid for by "outside forces" is starting to inundate the race in the 60th Senate district. That's according to Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, who says the two major parties believe winning the district could lead to control of the State Senate.


As Donald Trump rails about a rigged election, he continues to drift from the message that originally boosted his candidacy. That's the view of Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, who believes Trump would be better served to emphasize his status as a political outsider who can be an agent of change in the White House.


Republican Governor Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine provided many lively exchanges during Tuesday night's Vice-Presidential debate. For Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy, the candidates displayed a command of the issues while providing the substance that was lacking in the first Presidential debate.


Three contests gathered a majority of attention during Tuesday's primaries.  The contests for Erie County District Attorney, the 60th Senate District and the 143rd Assembly seat featured quality candidates and heavy spending. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy offered perspective during WBFO's Morning Edition.


Buffalo News reporter Bob McCarthy is getting ready to head home after four days of covering the Democratic National Convention. In a conversation with WBFO Friday morning, he talked about his overall impressions of the convention, Governor Andrew Cuomo's primetime address and Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech.


As Hillary Clinton prepares to accept the Democratic nomination for president Thursday night, two former mayors of New York City discussed the merits of the two rival candidates. Buffalo News reporter Bob McCarthy joined us from Philadelphia this morning with his impressions of Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention.


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