NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


originally posted on dailykos

NY-13 is the only New York City congressional seat held by a Republican, Vito Fossella. The district encompasses the borough of Staten Island and a part of Brooklyn. Superribbie did a write up of this seat as potential target pick up for Dems in 2006. For the sake of this entry, I am only focusing on Staten Island since the Assembly Districts in Brooklyn are split between two congressional seats (Fossella and Nadler).

This morning I received my monthly DFNYC notice for our link-up with a special announcement that Frank Barbaro (2004 Democratic Challenger to Vito Fossella) will be making an announcement this Thursday, which got me thinking and googling. Is this a potential Democratic pick-up in 2006?


Vito (R):  110,000 (66%)

Johnstone:   58,000 (34%)


Fossella: 72,000 (71%)

Mattsson: 29,500 (29%)


Fossella: 113,000 (59%)

Barbaro: 78,500 (41%)

Cash Comparisons (raised / spent)


Fosslla ($1.2 million / $1.1 million)

Johnstone ($41,000 / $39,000)

Fossella ($760,000 / $890,000)

Mattsson ($16,000 / $7,000)

Fossella ($1.2 million / $1.1 million)

Frank Barbaro ($425,000 / $425,000)

Fossella appears to have a ceiling of about 70%, based on his 2002 race where he outspent his opponent 132:1, a basically non-existent opponent but only managed 71%. Supperribbie notes that NY-13 has a partisan index of 50.5 leaning for Dems. In 2004, with the large turnout due to the Presidential race, Fossella again hit his 110,000+ votes as he did in 2000, yet his Democratic opponent Frank Barbaro picked up 20,000 new votes from 2000.  

Looking at the 2004 election results for Richmond County (Staten Island) which Fossella won 91,000 to 54,000 (link) there was about 14,500 fewer Democratic votes from Kerry/Edwards voters down the ticket to Frank Barbaro.  Compare that to Vito Fossella actually picking up about 500 more votes than Bush/Cheney.  Increasing a Democratic gotv effort and stronger party loyalty down the ballot could potentially put Staten Island at a 91,000 to 68,500 advantage for Fossella, without any Democratic effort to win over undecideds or incumbent voters that broke for Vito Fossella.  

Comparing the voting patterns from the Presidential Race and the Congressional seat we see that Fossella enjoyed nearly a 6% larger margin of victory increase in the three districts Bush won,

AD 60: 61% Bush, 67% Fossella

AD 62: 70% Bush, 76% Fossella

AD 63: 55% Bush, 60% Fossella

and lost by 6% less in the 61st which went for Kerry and Barbaro.

AD 61: 40% Bush, 46% Fossella

At first glance I would say that Fossella has strong support amongst his party, even stronger than the President in this area, however looking at vote total in each AD we see that the vote totals for Bush and Fossella are almost identical, meaning those who went for Bush were very dedicated to down ticket candidates.  The 6% margin difference Fossella enjoyed was the difference between Kerry voters who stopped after the Presidential line and those who continued down the ticket.  

AD 60

11,000 Kerry, 8,500 Barbaro

17,300 Bush, 17,300 Fossella

AD 61

24,000 Kerry, 19,000 Barbaro

16,000 Bush, 16,000 Fossella

AD 62

15,000 Kerry, 11,000 Barbaro

34,000 Bush, 34,000 Fossella

AD 63

19,000 Kerry, 15,000 Barbaro

23,000 Bush, 23,000 Fossella

I rounded those numbers to make it easier on my number crunching, but you can find the results here (note it's a .pdf).  Pages 100 and 107.

With Bush's declining favorability numbers, Fossella will not have any coattails to ride on in 2006.  But that is not all.  Party loyalty is not what it may appear.  In 2004 there was also a Senate race between incumbent Sen. Schumer and Howard Mills (R).  While Bush and Fossella won 3 of 4 AD's in Staten Island, Chuck Schumer carried each one with his closest margin of victory 64%-36%.  Not only that but he carried more votes in each of the 4 AD's than Kerry did

AD 60 16,500 (70%)

AD 61 28,300 (82%)

AD 62 26,000 (64%)

AD 63 27,000 (74%)

So the residents of NY-13 are not party loyalists at all.  In fact this may be more of a sign of an ignored market which could lead to residents favoring incumbents/name recognition.  Should this become a money game, where the democratic challenger can increase their name recognition with some advertising things could get interesting.  Figuring the races higher up on the ticket are going to be Governor (leaning heavily Dem.), Attorney General (leaning Dem.), Senate (Hillary's seat, heavily leaning Dem.) there is very little Republican advertising money that will be flowing through NYC.  

Of course the DCCC might not want to drop $500,000 based on a 41% showing in 2004 just to make this competitive.  But considering practically every other congressional seat in NYC should be safe, and by that I mean 70%-30% or larger victories, there certainly are fellow Democrats who know how to raise money who could/should get involved in this race;

(raised, % vote in last election, 2004 Cash On Hand)

Rep. Rangel ($2 million, 89%, $500,000 COH)

Rep. Nadler ($890,000, 80%, $670,000 COH)

Rep. Weiner ($806,000, 70%, $775,000 COH)

Rep. Maloney ($940,000, 81%, $523,000 COH)

Rep. Crowley ($1.2 million, 80%, $450,000 COH)

Rep. Meeks ($560,000, 100%, $150,000 COH)

Rep. Towns ($770,000, 92%, $62,000 COH)

hopefully more to come...


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