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

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bill de Blasio

Potentially big and breaking news, a first...

The Staten Island Advance, the only paper that wants to cover this election, reports that City Councilman Bill de Blasio [City Council Page] of Brooklyn may be considering jumping into the race.

Democratic City Councilman Bill de Blasio has been approached by a "number of people" about the race, said Howard Wolfson, a top Democratic strategist who advises Mrs. Clinton (D-N.Y.) and the state party.

"He is taking a look at it," Wolfson said. "He's very much in the examination phase."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which bankrolls House races, yesterday said it would embrace de Blasio's candidacy.

Stephen Harrison, the previously crowned runner-up to Fossella in 2006, is less than happy with this news. More interesting is the reaction of Lavelle, the Democratic leader who failed to find a viable candidate for this race. Throwing around insider DC negativity towards the DCCC's potential involvement, Lavelle levies Fossella's attack for him, saying de Blasio is not a vetted candidate. De Blasio almost won the City Council Presidency, losing out to Christine Quinn, who essentially is the number two person in city government, behind the mayor. With his strong Brooklyn machine ties, political resume and name recognition, should he jump into the race it might appear to be a no contest against Harrison who is still trying to figure out how to set up a website, or so it would appear. More on the 'unvetted' de Blasio;

De Blasio was campaign manager of Mrs. Clinton's 2000 U.S. Senate run, and ran the Clinton-Gore state re-election effort in 1996.

"He can tap into some of the Clinton money," said one Island political insider.

De Blasio won his seat in 2005 with 83.4% of the vote. While De Blasio's district does not entirely fall within NY13 I am inclined to support, even if it is just a wild rumor, the candidacy of someone who can excite the DCCC, with experience working with people with the last name of Clinton, who potentially has the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic establishment as well as the ability to bring in financial backing. I don't want to come off as writing off Harrison and Lavelle for their efforts thus far, but what they have brought to the party and constituents in this race is so far unknown to me. Both Harrison and de Blasio would be running for this seat from the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano Bridge, similar home turf of 2004 candidate Barbaro. With De Blasio in the race we are looking at building off of Barbaro's efforts in 2004. Without him, it would appear 2006 will just be a fundraising year for Fossella and his 2008 re-election hopes.


At 11:08 PM, Blogger Ben D said...


Harrison hasn't even remotely set the world on fire.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger NYCDem said...

Councilperson DeBlasio may be a great guy, but the only problem is he doesn't live in the district. It's already going to be a tough sell for a Brooklynite to run in this race, but someone that doesn't at least live here maybe too much to take by the already skitish folks on Staten Island. Besides, why didn't he make his interst known earlier?

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Ben D said...

That's a fair point NYC dem but comapred to Harrison he is an improvement. NY 13 is probably a badly lost opportunity this cycle anyway..........

At 8:03 PM, Blogger uppereastdem said...

NYCDem is dead on. DeBlasio is very talented but doesn't live in the district and his council district makes up about 10 blocks. He is going to be tagged a carpetbagger.

Also, I am not one who is convinced Fossella is especially vulnerable. Both Councilman McMahon and Assemblyman Cusick of SI were approached about the race by DCCC and didn't run b/c they didn't think it was winnable. They both would have been strong candidates. That tells me something since they know the district well.

Frank Barbarro won 41% in 2004 but I'd love to see the breakout. My gut tells me he ran well in the Brooklyn parts but not on SI. He used to represent Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst which DeBlasio doesn't.

I think highly of DeBlasio but this is the wrong seat for him. He has little to lose since he is term limited and lost his race for Council Speaker so imagine he will run.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger me said...

uppereastdem; you can view some of the numbers breakdown here. Fossella took SI 91,000- 54,000 and Barbaro and Fossella split Brooklyn each with about 20,000 votes.

Whether this is a lost opportunity or not aside, if we do not run a candidate against Fossella he is only building his warchest for his next campaign.

As for Cusick and McMahon not running I will try to jump into that soon. I am still gathering some background info.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger NYCDem said...

I don't think NY 13 is lost by any means. Fossella is still vulnerable, but only to the right kind of candidate. Unfortunately, most folks on Staten Island have a great deal of ingrained distrust about the local Democratic party. To most Staten Islanders, the NY Democrats are seen as the party of the NY Times reading Upper West Side, Al Sharpton, and ACTUP. The sense on Staten Island is the party doesn't really represent THEM. This is why I suspect McMahon and Cusick took a pass this year.

Running as a republican-lite is also not the right answer here. I think the race needs an outsider, i.e., someone not connected to the local party, who can articulate a progresive platform in terms that the largely middleclass ethnic-Catholic voters of Staten Island can get behind. These are people that will come back to the Democratic party if given a good reason. Unfortunately, over the past 3 elections we've given them: an anti-gun activist in the most pro-law and order district in the city; a sacrificial lamb who ran a token effort post 9-11; and an old school dem insider who partied like it was 1979.

I'm not sure what the answer is this year. Should we let the local party and the DCCC wrestle with this for an early resolution, or should this go to an open primary?

At 10:13 AM, Blogger uppereastdem said...

Thanks for the breakdown. Very interesting. If DeBlasio is running to keep Fossella busy that is fine. I am all for having Fossella spend money. I don't see a non-SI person winning this seat and the strongest candidates from the SI have passed. I think we have a much better shot at Boehlert's seat (NY-24) than Fossella's and that is where I am planning to spend my money and effort.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Newkirkistanian said...

I think DeBlasio could be a surprise in Staten Island. I'm not a Staten Islander, but I've spent a bit of time there. My impression is that a strong registration and voter drive could take the edge off the SI-Republican machine.

Looking at the breakdown makes me think its a tough haul, but considering past financial disparities, a candidate with access to money could make a difference. But I would argue that money should be directed very, very early (now!) toward registering Democrats in Staten Island.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger anthony said...

I wonder if anyone has checked in with the assembly campaign for Hyer-Spencer. A CSI friend and me saw this woman speak in brooklyn and again on SI on Sunday and she is impressive. I looked at website after hearing her and there was alot of info there. She's says the assembly district she is running in is part of ny-13 and she is talking about how she has been working in this district in the past two years to take get the DINO's voting dem again. She impressed me as a person who can get back the dem vote. Wasn't she in City Council for a while? Brooklynites gave her a big applause. I'm signing on to help her. If Bill wants this district maybe he he should talk to this woman who is actually running in it already?

At 10:33 PM, Blogger me said...

Janele's website; http://janele.com/

She is definitely a candidate to watch for in SI politics. Janele and the others involved in district politics know of de Blasio and Harrison. If f she makes any public comments about either candidates I will cover it once I find something to link to for you guys.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger me said...


sorry for not hyperlinking it before


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