On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton. Congressman Jack Quinn, a Republican but friend of Bill Clinton, was on the fence as to how he was going to vote on impeachment. Clinton called Quinn from Air Force One just 10 days before the impeachment vote and, reportedly, Quinn gave Clinton no indication he was going to vote to impeach. But then Quinn did vote to impeach. Unsurprisingly, Clinton never forgave Quinn and never forgot. And last night, Clinton helped exact some revenge on former Congressman Quinn by helping Tim Kennedy beat Quinn’s son, Jack Quinn III.
With 99% of districts reporting, Tim Kennedy leads Jack Quinn III 39,907 votes to 37,823. Quinn has conceded and Kennedy made his victory speech at the Buffalo Irish Center. Tim Kennedy, as we all know, was supported by Brian Higgins. Brian HIggins is friendly with Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton wants revenge against former Congressman Jack Quinn. And Bill Clinton remains popular in New York. So Bill Clinton stepped into a state senate race in the middle of October to help support Tim Kennedy and beat Jack Quinn’s son. It’s positively Shakespearean.
In mid-October, Bill Clinton recorded robocalls went out to voters in the district. In the voicemails, Clinton said “Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. Tim Kennedy is running for the State Senate to fight for Western New Yorkers.” Clinton went on to say “I hope you’ll vote for Tim Kennedy to bring change to Albany and jobs and opportunities for Western New York.” Emails also went out from President Clinton urging people to donate to the Kennedy campaign and vote for Kennedy. The email proclaimed that “Tim Kennedy is the strong voice Western New York needs in the State Senate.”
Of course, it’s impossible to definitively proclaim that Bill Clinton’s involvement in this campaign was the difference, but given the tightness of the Quinn-Kennedy election, there is little doubt it mattered.
Former Congressman Quinn is now the president of Erie Community College.
Do you think he now regrets his decision to vote to impeach Clinton?