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

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Funding the Race, Part IV; Candidates as Donors

In the last post I outlined the lack of financial help from our 19 returning Democratic members of Congress in New York. While that is where a lot of easy money can come from, no real candidates for this seat will come from that tier, instead it is the local candidates and incumbents we have to keep our eye on for 2008. That being said, let me state that I was rather frustrated with the lack of urgency of our elected officials in publicly not coming out with a statement on their candidacy. It effectively stalled Harrison's ability to compete against Fossella until late April.

In 2004 one State Senator donated to Barbaro's campaign and that was outgoing Senator Seymour Lachman. In 2006 there were no contributions from any state senators to Harrison's campaign.

In 2004 eight Assembly members donated to Barbaro's campaign, two from the district; Cusick and Lavelle. In 2006 only Lavelle contributed to Harrison's campaign.

Here are the non-Congressional contributions:

Vinny Gentile (Council Memeber) 7/31: $250.00
John Lavelle (Assembly Member) 7/06; $500.00
Matthew Titone (State Senate candidate) 6/06; $300.00

There is no indication from Mr. Harrison about whether he is interested in running again for this seat, but I assume that there are several other potential candidates who will be looking at this race due to this year's results. Looking at this list of donors above though I can't fathom why anyone who did not contribute (financially or logistically) would think that they have the right to this nomination and the right to campaign and ask for financial help should they win the nomination. Missing from that list are; Diane Savino, Mike Cusick, Mike McMahon and Bill deBlasio. Now I understand not all of these officials are going to be looking at this seat in 2008, but they are the presumed front runners other than Stephen Harrison.

I want to also reitterate a point I was hitting on from the final weeks of the election in regards to potential candidates. After the local elected officials one by one slowly removed their name from consideration for this race, it was presumed that Stephen Harrison had the nomination. Council member Bill de Blasio, whom I hear nothing but wonderful things about, with the help of Rep. Rangel decided to look into jumping into the race with the potential backing of the DCCC. He was received rather chillingly by the locals and both himself and Rep. Rangel in a bit of an embarassing sidenote withdrew the notion of running on April 10, 2006. Upon withdrawing de Blasio in a letter (see update) threw his support and promised campaign help behind Harrison. While de Blasio went on to solicit his email lists for volunteers and donors for various races in NY and even in PA (Lois Murphy) he never came through with any support, short of a last minute after thought. In the end he did nothing more than take the limited media coverage away from the eventual Democratic nominee. If people are putting together a short list of potential nominees for 2008, de Blasio should never be mentioned.

Looking at those donors again, it is a sad note that a state senate candidate gave more than any other local official short of Lavelle, the Democratic Party leader on Staten Island. While Sen. Schumer and Rep. Weiner hosted a fund raiser for Harrison, neither appear to have actually contributed. When the SI Advance botched their coverage of Steve's bridge toll proposal where were the letters of correction from local officials who the paper made to look like they were opposing his plan? To me this shows a lot about their personal ambition as opposed to the greater good served by fixing what is wrong with Congress. As an outsider looking in I saw lot of press appearances and very little actual support, meaning; money, man power, canvassing, phone banking, or literature for the nominee. To me the list of potential nominees starts with who has helped the previous candidates. Understandably using this criteria may have ruled Harrison out had there been a contested primary, but looking forward it is the first metric I am going to use in analysis of potential candidates.


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