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

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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Working Families Party is Growing

from the WFP Blog;

Working Families is the only minor party in New York that's growing - the other minor parties saw their vote totals decrease:
Independence Party: 190,661 (down from 654,016)
Conservative Party: 168,654 (down from 176,848)
Working Families: 155,184 (UP from 90,533)

Great timing considering the two posts prior to this were concerning minor party's in the 13th and their influence on voting totals.

Update Seems comments are automatically being turned off, I turned them on for this post.

WFP, Con, and Ind Party Strengths, Part II

Following up on the last post I went back through the last four election return numbers to get a better idea of how each third minor party; Independence, Conservative, and WFP were trending. Now I am not promising this is any sort of professional analysis, just some quick thoughts. Going back four years also gives two sets of mid term election numbers and two presidential year numbers to help with comparison. Here are the numbers;

brooklyn - 56,024
ind - 424
con - 2,164
wfp - 385

staten island - 144,499
ind - 878
con - 7,131
wfp - 1,455

[Ind. candidate was not the Dem or Rep candidate]

2002 (parenthisis is the % difference from 2000)
brooklyn - 34,610 (-38.2)
ind - 525 (+23.8)
con - 1,616 (-25.4)
wfp - 263 (-31.7)

staten island - 88,996 (-38.4)
ind - 902 (+2.7)
con - 5,550 (-22.2)
wfp - 1,008 (-30.7)

[Ind. candidate was not the Dem or Rep candidate]

2004 (% difference from 2002) (% difference from 2000)
brooklyn - 57,089 (+64.9) (+1.9)
ind - 857 (+63.4) (+102.1)
con - 1,812 (+12.1) (-26.3)
wfp - 1,023 (+288.9) (+165.7)

staten island - 160,806 (+80.7) (+11.3)
ind - 1,806 (+125.2) (+105.7)
con - 8,409 (+51.5) (+17.9)
wfp - 2,634 (+161.3) (+81.0)

[Ind. candidate was also Dem candidate]

2006 (% difference from 2004) (% difference from 2002)
brooklyn - 30,424 (-46.7) (-12.1)
ind - 861 (+0.5) (+64)
con - 1,529 (-15.6) (-5.4)
wfp - 861 (-15.8) (+227.4)

staten island - 85,627 (-46.8) (-3.8)
ind - 2,806 (+55.4) (+211.1)
con - 4,320 (-48.6) (-22.2)
wfp - 2,041 (-22.5) (+102.5)

[Ind. candidate was also Rep candidate]

Some quick thoughts;
• Turn out in both boroughs was lower in 2006 than in 2002, even though 2004 saw increases in both boroughs over 2000
• The third minor party's maintained an overwhelming amount of their voters in Brooklyn from their 2004, with the Independence Party gaining in the off year. In Staten Island the Independence Party had a 55% gain, the Working Families Party [WFP] lost 22% and the Conservative Party took the largest hit losing 48% of their voters.
• Since the 2002 mid term election, the Conservative Party's numbers declined 5% in Brooklyn, whereas the Independence Party had a 64% gain and the WFP had a drastic increase of 227%. In Staten Island the Independence Party had the largest gain of 211%, WFP had a gain of 102% and the Conservative Party lost 22% of their voters.
• The ability for the Democratic candidate to pick up the Independence line as they did in 2002 is potentially a large piece of flipping this seat. Along with the WFP, the Independence Party has relative recent growth, compared to the Conservative Party which is on a recent decline. This could be a gain of at least 4,000 votes, if not more.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WFP, Con, and Ind Party Strengths

Stephen Harrison received 6.43% of his vote total from the Working Families Party (WFP) ballot line. I started looking into the effect his ballot line has on the nominees vote total in an previous post here and a follow up here. The basic finding was that the Congressional and Senate candidates on this line received more votes on this line than the Presidential nominee did, which is a reverse of what one would expect to find. So there is a definitely a strength for a local race to have additional party ballot lines such as the WFP.

So I did some quick number crunching and wanted to look at the percentage differential from each party ballot line from 2004 to 2006;

Democrat: -41.5%
SI: -39.3%
Brooklyn: -45.2%

WFP (Harrison): -21.4%
SI: -32.5%
Brooklyn: -15.8%

Quite expectedly fewer voters turned out in this midterm election than they did in 2004 during a Presidential election. Also expected the WFP voters had a smaller differential, suggesting in my opinion that the WFP voters are more likely to turn out for elections and that the WFP has a strong local GOTV machine. The WFP votes were 6.43% of Harrison's total in '06 versus 4.82% in '04.

On the other side, here are Fossella's numbers:

Republican: -51.5%
SI: -53.0%
Brooklyn: -45.2%

Conservative (Fossella): -42.8%
SI: -48.6%
Brooklyn: -15.6%

Independence (Fossella): +37.7%
SI: +55.4%
Brooklyn: +0.5%

Notably Fossella's Republican and Conservative voters turned out in much lower percentages than Harrison. This will not happen in 2008The Independence Party numbers seem to be some what of an aberration with amazing increases in Staten Island. This probably is a result of political infighting within the party and the local desire to maintain effectiveness.

With the WFP continued efforts to move up the ballot and get voters acustom to pulling that WFP lever year and year, I have to imagine they will have an even larger GOTV effort in '08. In 2004 and 2006 the vote total on the WFP line ended up being larger than the vote total differential in the overall election, signifying their importance in tight elections.

After writing this, I read a post over at Room Eight by Jerry Skurnik addressing similar findings;

One of the ways the WFP campaigned was by contacting liberal Democrats with the request that they send a message by voting for Spitzer on the WFP rather than the Democratic line. I, myself, received a large number of e-mail messages with this pitch and I assume others did too. While the overall campaign did not succeed, it clearly had an effect.

While none of the other minor Parties broke 5% of the vote for Governor in any of New York City’s Assembly Districts, the WFP did so in 18 Districts. The WFP clobbered the other minor parties in the City, where they received 74,221 votes to the IP’s 36,882 and the Conservative’s 20,897.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Candidate speculation; Harrison

via the Staten Island Advance;

Harrison, who has returned to his Brooklyn law practice following his congressional defeat, hasn't closed out the possibility of a rematch with Fossella in 2008.

"Am I interested? I am," Harrison said. "Does that mean I will run? It does not. But I do not rule it out."

Moving Fossella to new committees

With the change of power in the House to a Democratic majority comes many changes, one of them being committee assignments. Democrats being the party in power will now control all of the Committee Chair positions, as well as the majority of the seats on each committee, relative to the percentage of the House they control. Because of this there will be a shake up in committee assignments for Republicans.

Should the Democratic party play hardball with the Republicans who controlled the majority for years and played fast with the rules, they may want to look at reassigning or blocking certain Republicans from returning to their old committees. Our favorite member, Rep. Vito Fossella served on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Financial Services during the last term. Those committees are probably going to lose at least 6 and 4 Republican members respectively with the new House make up.

It has been noted before that Rep. Fossella often fails to do much of anything in Congress and can't even get meaningless floor motions to pass, like the one he tried to pass thanking the Vatican for their hospitality when members of Congress attended the Pope's funeral. Fossella is ineffective at best, and justifiably should probably be taken off one or both of these committees and reassigned to something more menial that suits his abilities. The side benefit, and reason for suggesting these moves is that Rep. Fossella receives large amounts of financial support from the industries that benefit from limited oversight by these two committees; financial institutions and real estate/housing. Fossella's largest sector donations come from the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sector, a total of nearly $1.5 million in donations and influence, $358,790 of that just in the last election cycle.

2004-06 Donors (via Opensecrets.org)
1. Securities & Investment: $109,500
3. Real Estate: $86,050
4. Insurance: $60,250
5. Health Professionals: $52,700
7. Accountants: $37,400
9. Commercial Banks: $33,790

However I do not suggest arbitrarily moving Fossella for the sake of just eliminating the financial benefits of the committees he served on. I think his services are better needed elsewhere, and the service to his constituents can be better delivered with his assignment to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, where he can back up his rhetoric of protecting our VA hospitals and supporting our veterans. The irony of that change is probably more optimism on my part than reality, however the possibility of this committee changes are not just fantasies on my part;

via the Staten Island Advance;

There are already issues of uncertainty. Fossella is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the House Committee on Financial Services, and his status on those panels "remains to be seen," he said.

This is actually something I should keep a closer watch on. Should Fossella get moved from one of his committees he served on last term (04-06) consider that a good sign that this seat is on the DCCC's list in 08 and that they are going to start the race early.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Board of Election certified results up

Here. Meaningful commentary will follow at some point...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fossella vs. Iraq Study Group

Last week the Iraq Study Group, aka the Baker Commiussion, named after James Baker former Sec. of State for former President George H. Bush, released its findings on the state of affairs in Iraq. Not too surprising their outlook was not good and often were critical of the President and Congress's 'stay the course' mantra and refusal to admit their optimistic naïveté.

First, from a CNN interview, here is Rep. Fossella's (R) position on Iraq, something we covered back during the election here;

FOSSELLA: No, I think that clearly we have to stay the course in Iraq. Nobody said this job was going to be easy, including the president of the United States.

FOSSELLA: The president of the United States, as he said a couple of weeks ago in his press conference, believes that the United States must stay the course.


And we will stay the course and until the job is done. And, ultimately, not only will the Iraqi people have the same freedoms that we enjoy here in America to pick their own leaders, but we can rest assured that there will be a stable democracy in the Middle East that will help us and others bring peace and stability and security to the American people.

And this from the bipartisan commission;

"There is no guarantee for success in Iraq . . . There is great suffering, and the daily lives of many Iraqis show little or no improvement. Pessimism is pervasive . . . the ability of the United States to influence events . . . is diminishing." (p.1)

"U.S. forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end." (p.12)

"There is no action the American military can take that, by itself, can bring about success in Iraq." (page 70)

"The United States must not make an open ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq." (p.xvi)

"Many military units are under significant strain . . . many units do not have fully functional equipment for training when they redeploy to the United States." (p.7)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Candidate Rumors, McMahon

The NY Post continues with the speculation that City Councilman Mike McMahon will run for Borough President in 2009. McMahon will be term limited out of his Council seat in 2009.

The Bench; Lanza's open Council seat

With Councilman Lanza winning Marchi's vacated State Senate seat there is now a special election to fill the 51st Council District seat being vacated by Lanza. From the Staten Island Advance;

Democrat Manny Innamorato yesterday announced his candidacy to fill the South Shore City Council seat about to be vacated by Republican Sen.-elect Andrew Lanza.

While this will be a non partisan election, with party affiliations not appearing on the ballot, Innamorato will face a Republican opponent in Vincent Ignizio, and possible a Conservative opponent.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Why do we pay Congress to do nothing?

via the Washington Post;

Congress will convene on Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of legislative activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work.


Before the midterm elections, GOP leaders had dismissed the Democrats' "do-nothing" label for the 109th Congress as political posturing, promising that a robust post-election session would put the accusation to rest. Instead, Republican lawmakers will have met for one week in November, devoted almost exclusively to leadership elections for next year, and one week in December, largely to pick committee assignments, move offices and pass a measure to keep the government operating through February.

That will mean this Congress will have spent the least time in session of any in at least half a century, according to Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, congressional historians and the authors of "The Broken Branch," a critical look at recent Congresses. In the time they have met, lawmakers have failed to approve a budget resolution or pass at least eight of the 11 annual spending bills.

Maybe Congress needs to be made up of more working class citizens who work year round. Members of Congress need to live in a world of reality where they don't get vacations every month, where they work more than 80 days a year, and where their salary is commensurate with the work they accomplish. They are too out of touch with the working class and minimum wage class of this country, and it is no wonder they have done little to help either.