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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fossella refusing to suppport Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, Schumer on board

Last Wednesday we reported about a bill in the House by Rep. Altmire that would prevent the Army from removing signing bonuses from troops who have sustained injuries and are unable to serve. Rep. Fossella as we noted had not signed onto the bill as a co-sponsor despite 219 other members in Congress doing so. It appeared that after 40 plus days of non action that Rep. Fossella is refusing to support the injured soldiers and their families. This week we see that Sen. Schumer is now stepping up and taking action to prohibit the Army from these indecent acts;

Several New York veterans have been asked to repay part of their signing bonuses after war injuries prevented them from completing their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Hundreds of veterans nationwide may have been affected by what the Army characterizes as a mistake, said Schumer (D-N.Y.), who along with lawmakers including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has called for legislation to guarantee that signing bonuses won't be reduced.

Schumer said his office had received calls from several New York soldiers who complained that the Army had docked their bonuses.

As we noted earlier Rep. Vito Fossella still has not co-signed the bill in the House to prevent this and seemingly has made no comments or indications that he will support it.

49 the number of days that Rep. Vito Fossella has refused to sign on in support of the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act. Call his office and tell him to support this bill.
Staten Island: (718) 356-8400
Brooklyn: (718) 630-5277

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Truth 13: Fossella and Big Oil

I received this press release from a new organization, Truth 13, that looks like it could do some great work getting press to report on Rep. Fossella's lacking record and leadership. Good start.


STATEN ISLAND, NY -- "Oil prices are yet again on the rise and there is no reason to believe they won't continue in an ever-upward direction" said Richard Marini of Truth13, a group of concerned citizens residing in New York's 13th congressional district who are challenging the voting record of their representative in congress. As of November 21, according to the Wall Street Journal [1] prices have reached as high as $99.28 a barrel – more than $3 a gallon for gasoline, with diesel fuel prices at record levels of more than $3.30 a gallon. Mr. Marini who lives in Great Kills said "As prices increase, small businesses suffer and households tighten their wallets. All the while, oil companies continue to make record profits" – On November 1st 2007, Exxon Mobil reported third quarter profits [2] of $9.4 billion dollars (Exxon Mobil News Release 11/1/07).

Every year, Big Oil spends millions of their dollars lobbying Congress. Since 1990, more than $150 million dollars of oil and gas industry profits has gone into the hands of Republicans according to the Center for Responsive Politics [3]. The Republican Congressman representing Staten Island and Brooklyn, where the effects of high oil prices may be hitting hardest, is no different. According to Federal Election Committee records, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) has received over $68,000 in political contributions from oil and gas industry political action committees. This includes a staggering $11,500 from Exxon’s PAC [4].

In 2005, Fossella voted to give over $16 billion in tax breaks to oil companies already making record profits (HR 6, 7/28/05; HR 3893, 10/7/05). In July of 2007, he voted against an appropriations bill (HR 2641, 7/17/07) that included $213 million dollars for developing hydrogen-based energy technologies. Earlier that year in January, Fossella voted against a bill (HR 6, 1/18/07) that would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by investing in clean renewable energy thus reducing our reliance on unstable regions which are generally governed by dictatorial means. These regions are generally anti-western and help fund anti-American groups that are uncontrollable by western influences. "Voting against non-fossil fuel energy programs endangers our national security by forcing our continued reliance on energy from the Middle East to drive our cars and heat our homes" said Richard Greve, a member of Truth13.

Most recently, Rep. Fossella voted against an important bill (HR 2776, 8/4/07) that would repeal enormous tax breaks for highly profitable oil and gas companies, while providing incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation. He also voted against a bill (H.R. 3221, 8/4/07) that would move the United States toward greater energy independence and security by developing new technologies, creating green jobs, and modernizing our energy infrastructure. Mr. Greve said "We face a long term energy problem, not just here in Staten Island, but nationwide. As oil and gas prices continue to rise, our solution must not be to give Big Oil more money, but to wean ourselves off a dependence on oil. On this front Rep. Vito Fossella's record in Congress, regrettably, has been catastrophic."

Founded in 2007, Truth 13 is a group of concerned citizens residing in New York's 13th Congressional district in Staten Island and Brooklyn who are concerned about how their representative in Congress is failing to work towards the interest of his constituents. Their mission is to educate voters of the 13th Congressional District (NY) to the voting record of their elected representative in Washington, D.C.

1. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OIL_PRICES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-11-06-16-51-13

2. http://exxonmobil.com/corporate/files/corporate/investor_earnings_3q07.pdf

3. http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?cycle=2008&ind=E01

4. http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_give/H8NY13028


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Victory for Fossella redefined for lower expectations

via Tom;

"The Democrats will spend money," said Brooklyn GOP consultant Gerry O'Brien. "Vito will do what he has to do to win. He'll break a sweat this time. But unless there's some major shift, he still wins with 53 or 55 percent of the vote."

One thing to watch, said O'Brien, is how well Fossella is able to raise money now that the GOP is no longer in the congressional majority and Fossella lost his seat on the House Financial Services Committee.

First thing to note is that GOP consultants are already declaring that Fossella will likely receive his lowest percent of the vote. 53-55% for Fossella would mean at least a 2-4% drop for Fossella. This can't exactly be a shining point for his campaign and may be signs that there is some doubt and/or concern in the GOP camp if a year out this is what they would be hoping for as a positive outcome.

Second note is that the GOP consultant himself shows the trouble Fossella is in, although it is unclear if this was intentional on his part. Telling voters to watch is how well (or poorly) Fossella raises money only corroborates what we have already reported here, that Fossella's fund raising machine has almost shut down. He is spending more money than he is able to raise. He is running a campaign in a large amount of debt for a year now. Finally Fossella is all but broke, currently with his only cash legally untouchable until after the primiary in September 2008.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

1669 Days Later


Thursday, November 22, 2007

DCCC plays offense, but will they play here?

via Politico;

"With a huge cash advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee, Van Hollen and Emanuel are cautioning their colleagues that the DCCC wants to have money to put into 40 challenger races next year — and if these vulnerable Democrats are not facing serious races or any effort by the National Republican Congressional Committee to unseat them, the DCCC will spend its resources elsewhere."

This is for the most part only interesting news in this district because if you recall earlier this year the DCCC listed Vito Fossella as one of the most ethically corrupt members of Congress that they were going to target as part of their effort to put 35 seats in play. They are now talking about putting 40 seats in play mostly because the DCCC holds a $23.4 million to $9.5 million cash advantage over the NRCC.

On the opposite side remember that hte horrible fund raising by Vito Fossella's NRCC means he is likely to receive little to no help from them in terms of cash infusions or attack ads on his behalf. The only reason that may change would be if they believe Fossella is in trouble and want to include him as part of their firewall, or fall back line where they will focus on stopping their loses.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ex-Army commander in Iraq supports troop withdraw

via AP;

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.

His comments come as welcomed ammunition for the Democratic-controlled Congress in its standoff with the White House on war spending. This month, the House passed a $50 billion bill that would pay for combat operations but sets the goal that combat end by Dec. 15, 2008. The White House threatened to veto the measure, and Senate Republicans blocked it from passing.


Sanchez added that the House bill "makes the proper preparation of our deploying troops a priority and requires the type of shift in their mission that will allow their numbers to be reduced substantially."

Vito Fossella disappointingly doesn't support Gen. Sanchez's thoughts and has continuously voted against bringing our troops home, despite advice like this from experienced military leaders.

Oh course this flies int he face of Fossella's former actions;

"The President has a responsibility to articulate America's long-term strategy before placing even one soldier in harm's way. He has asked the Congress and the American people to follow his lead, but he has shrouded in darkness where that road will take us. Leading military and foreign policy experts have questioned why the Administration won't define the mission and what plans are in place for us to withdraw."

"The President must have a frank discussion with the American people as to what our military's mission is, when victory will be achieved and how it will be achieved." [April 30, 1999]

Mr. Fossella how about you stand up and demand that frank discussion about our mission and how and when victory will be achieved.

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Why is Fossella refusing to co-sponsor the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act

On October 10, 2007, Rep. Jason Altmire introduced a bill entitled the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, HR 3793. The summary of his bill explains its intent;

To amend title 37, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Defense to continue to pay to a member of the Armed Forces who is retired or separated from the Armed Forces due to a combat-related injury certain bonuses that the member was entitled to before the retirement or separation and would continue to be entitled to if the member was not retired or separated.

Currently the bill has 219 cosponsors, enough to pass the bill if it comes to the House floor for a vote. Missing from that list of supporters is Rep. Vito Fossella. For forty-two days now Vito Fossella has refused to cosponsor this and the only question his constituents can ask is why? What exactly is Vito Fossella opposing; This is what Vito Fossella doesn't want to change that 219 Congress members are trying to fix;

The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments. [via KDKA CBS]

We deserve someone in Congress who wil represent our interests. We deserve someone who supports our troops both in battle and after they return home, not someone like Fossella who sides with the government in trying to take away their money for getting injured.

update I edited a sentence in that third to last paragraph that was not reading well

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Fundraiser for Steve Harrison, Sunday Dec. 2

Hosted by Rosalie Caliendo, Larry Sternfeld and Marj Gersten
Sunday, Dec 2nd from 3 to 6 - Wine, Cheese and other Refreshments
Apartment of Rosalie Caliendo, 2400 East 3rd Street, Apt 605, Brooklyn NY 11223

Suggestion Donation: $50.00 and up.
Make checks payable to Friends of Steve Harrison

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Activists vs. Institutional candidates; clearing the primary field

So we are headed into a primary race for the chance to take on Rep. Fossella and with that the sparing back and forth between candidates and candidate supporters over who can win and who should drop out.

One of the one side you have Harrison supporters suggesting that Steve took on Fossella when no one else could be bothered and that with almost no support from the local or national party he gave Fossella the closest race he has had yet. He has built name recognition and a small army of volunteers. Surely if the party would get behind his efforts he can start where he left off, at 43% instead of having to rebuild a campaign and spend money and time building name recognition for someone else.

On the other side is the Councilman Recchia supporters that are saying Domenic has the experience running and winning his Council elections that can easily be translated into building a Congressional campaign. He appears to have institutional support which could potentially translate into access to money and donors. Many appreciate what Steve did but feel someone with a longer political resume would make this a closer race instantly.

And with that both lay out their reasons why the other should drop out. I on the other hand am a fan to some degree of a primary. The race would put both challengers in the media more than Harrison alone was able to do in 2006 (not a knock on Harrison in any way). The media tries its hardest not to cover this race, and that will be the case no matter who the challenger is if there is no primary. With a primary there would be inherent interest in this race earlier than September which would be important given that next fall every race will be second tier to the Presidential conversation. There will be debates. There will be news coverage increasing candidate name recognition. Finally if the two agree to run a positive primary campaign they could focus their efforts on going after Fossella.

If you believe primaries will only hurt your candidate or if you believe that the very very late New York primary (September) makes it impossible for a challenger to win consider this:

John Hall John Hall managed to not only over come a six candidate primary in New York's 19th Congressional District, carrying 49%, he won over a DCCC backed Democratic challenger, Judy Aydelott (26%) only to then knock off the incumbent Republican Rep. Sue Kelly.

Carol Shea Porter, a social worker, won a primary against Jim Craig, the New Hampshire House Democratic minority leader 54%-34% and then went on to beat Rep. Jeb Bradley.

Jerry McNerney stepped up to run for this seat in 2004 when no Democrats could be bothered to do so. He struggled to even get on the ballot and went on to lose, though garnering an eye opening vote against the incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo (R). In 2006 he was challenged in the primary by a DCCC endorsed candidate Steve Filson and went on to beat him and a third candidate Stevan Thomas with 52.8% of the vote. McNerney went on to defeat Republican Richard Pombo in a much more Republican leaning district PVI R+3) than NY-13 (PVI D+.5).

So instead of going after each other or wasting time doing work for Fossella, let's use this time to explain to voters of the district that Fossella continues to want the war in Iraq to go on indefinitely, Fossella continues to support President Bush and his failed policies and when given the chance Fossella has failed to step up and do anything meaningful in Congress.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Harrison fundraiser

Tom is even reporting on one;

Mac O'Callaghan will host a wine-and-cheese fund-raiser for Democratic congressional candidate Steve Harrison at her home at 351 St. Paul's Ave., Stapleton, on Sunday. The event runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Donation is $40 (or "as much more as you can give!", according to the flyer we got). For more information or to RSVP, call 718-720-0095.

Mole333 is promoting it as well.
So is Josh.

editor's note: I will gladly share any Harrison or Recchia fund raiser information. Send details to ny13blog(at)gmail.com

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fossella deemed one of the "most vulnerable" Republicans

via The Hill;

The GOP pointed to legislative leadership by some of its most vulnerable members this year.

Just this week, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.), potentially facing his first tough challenge in a decade in Congress from Brooklyn City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D), proposed pulling federal highway funds for states that give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

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Fossella just voted against troop support tonight

Here is Rep. Fossella's NO vote on troop support. He voted against this;

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the war in Iraq should end as safely and quickly as possible, and our troops should be brought home; (2) the performance of U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan should be commended, and their service should be appropriately recognized; and (3) the primary purpose of funds from this Act should be to transition the mission of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and undertake their redeployment, and not to extend or prolong the war.

And he voted against saying we should not send unprepared troops into battle;

Prohibits funds from being used ... to deploy any U.S. military unit to Iraq unless the President has certified such unit as "fully mission capable."

Where is the support he is always saying he shows? Hopefully he can go get some more posters printed up to claim he is 'supportive.'

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Activists vs. Institutional candidates

I had removed this post a few weeks ago after briefly publishing it. Here it is in full, with edits below.

A few days ago I was interviewed on the topic of netroots candidate support and the potential notion that Stephen Harrison may become the 'netroots' candidate versus Domenic Recchia being the institution candidate. It was very good timing as I had some notes on a very similar story and had put it aside while the 3Q FEC filings came out.

Let me start by saying at the moment I think Domenic Recchia has a much better chance, if not already, of being the institution backed candidate than Stephen Harrison has of being the netroots candidate in this match up. Let me also note that Recchia still has yet to declare so I am taking the liberty of assuming all of this based on his presumed candidacy. Finally for those who may not understand the concept of netroots I would define it as internet created grassroots support. By that I mean that a group of activists who happen to be an online community instead of a physical geographic community.

Domenic Recchia through limited media coverage has become the institutional candidate through his backing by Rep. Jerry Nadler, Councilman Mike McMahon and State Senator Diane Savino. On the contrary a potentially interesting juxtaposition is Harrison's support which seemingly for now is the activists and what is shaping up to be the political club membership.

Neither of these groups of supporters make either individual a netroots candidate. More often than not it seems that the non-institutional candidate gets the netroots support because the opportunity exists in that situation for the netroots activists to make a drastic difference in a race. That said it is possible to be both institutionally and netroots supported, e.g. Dan Seals (second bio). This is important because I don't want anyone to read into any of this and think a candidate like Recchia can not gain netroots support. Also netroots support is not something a group of us get together and vote on over a beer. It is often the result of hard work by a candidate to engage voters in the political process, to speak honestly and forthright about issues voters actually care about while speaking with them, not at them. Iraq, a pivotal issue in 2006 in many primaries was a major factor in who the netroots backed, and it is making itself an issue again here in 2008.

Recchia himself has said his issue he will go after Fossella with is Iraq, and rightfully so. The difference I see is that Recchia's comments appear in newspapers and Stephen Harrison appears at protest marches. This in my opinion is a great move on Harrison's part. How better to declare your opposition to both the war and Fossella's continuous support of it than to protest at his office. Further he is amongst activists who already are politically engaged and who will hit the streets for their cause, which is his case he should hope is his race. Still this does not make him a netroots candidate, but it does help position him on the side of activists more than Recchia's actions to date (which may or may not change).

to be continued...

After this initial post there is a bit of back and forth on Daily Gotham regarding Steve Harrison and Bouldin makes the case that Harrison is making himself the Progressive choice "a machine politician like Recchia will probably not find Progressive support, and Harrison will." The full read is worth it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vito Fossella, Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik

via Boston.com;

''Bernie Kerik knows the needs of New York City and how to fight terrorism better than anybody," Fossella said.

Then we find out last week, via MSNBC;

Bernard Kerik, the police commissioner under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who nearly became head of the Homeland Security Department, will surrender to authorities Friday to be arraigned on criminal charges, an official said Thursday.


Prosecutors have been presenting evidence to a federal grand jury in White Plains for several months to consider charges against Kerik including tax evasion and corruption.

Kerik was recommended by Rudy Guiliani for the post of Homeland Security chief and as we see above quickly endorsed by Rep. Fossella for the position. It comes as no surprise that Fossella who endorsed Guiliani, supports more government corruption and would want someone like Kerik in charge of Homeland Security. This is how Fossella operates. Corruption knows no bounds. Politics trumps qualifications even when it comes to our own security.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

DFNYC event with Steve Harrison

So this is a little late as the event announcement came out this afternoon, but DFNYC the local chapter of Democracy for America had a meet and greet with Steve Harrison tonight, which could be good initial signs for Harrison in terms of volunteer support. From the invite;

Democracy for NYC is having a Meet and Greet with a Democratic Congressional candidate running in one of the last red districts in New York City.

Come out this evening and meet Steve Harrison, who is running against Vito Fossella in the 13th CD, encompassing areas in Brooklyn and Staten Island. This is a good opportunity to meet and interact with the candidate in an intimate environment.

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Fossella's recent legislative votes

Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 HR 3996
Passed (216-193, 24 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to provide tax relief for the 2007 filing year.

Rep. Fossella voted NO

Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Act FY2008
Passed (274-141, 17 Not Voting)

With this vote the House sent the appropriations bill funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to the President’s desk.

Rep. Fossella voted NO

Overriding the Veto of the Water Resources Development Act
Passed (361-54, 17 Not Voting)

The House voted on Tuesday to override President Bush’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act.

Rep. Fossella DIDN'T VOTE

h/t MegaVote


Saturday, November 10, 2007

ENDA and Fossella's Conservative support

On Friday the House passed the ENDA bill which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. Rep. Vito Fossella, to his credit actually broke with his Republican Party and President Bush, a rarity and voted in favor of this legislation. As Fossella continues to feel the pressure of having to ideologically move to try his hardest to retain his seat he is going to start alienating the Conservatives of his district.

Recently we have seen the Conservative Party threatening to oppose Rep. Walsh, an upstate Republican over his departure from the party stance on the war. While Fossella is still holding fast to his support of President Bush and the never ending war in Iraq, movement on issues like ENDA may be the first indications of a fractured relationship with Conservative voters and possibly the Conservative Party.

While I strongly disagree with their sentiments comments like this is what Fossella is up against trying to hold onto a seat in a Democratic leaning district;

“We will remember this vote for violating religious liberties and making homosexuality and other sexual orientations into federally-protected classes. We will remind our supporters in 2008 about who voted against their religious freedom and in favor of sexually abnormal behaviors.” [via Traditional Values Coalition]

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fossella's recent legislative votes

Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act HR 3867
Passed: 334-80, 18 Not Voting

This House bill is intended to update the government’s contracting programs targeting veteran and minority owned businesses.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act HR 2262
Passed: 244-166, 22 Not Voting

This House bill would overhaul environmental standards applied to mining, finance abandoned mine site clean-up, and charge royalties for hardrock mines located on federal lands.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

h/t MegaVote

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mike Ryan loses District Attorney race

68-32%, via NY1.

No analysis tonight, not that I think there is much to look at.

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Mike Ryan's District Attorney race today, go vote!

Today is the only election keeping everyone from having their sights on 2008, the Staten Island District Attorney's race.

Tom says forecasted rain may keep Democrats from voting early in the day.

On the campaign trail over the last few months, Donovan has been predicting that just 25,000 to 30,000 of the Island's 245,000 registered voters would go to the polls on Tuesday.

Judge Gigante, who has been crossed endorsed by the Republican party may be good news for DA candidate Mike Ryan as he draws out Democratic supporters.

This race may be a good sign of GOTV abilities of each party, with a Democratic upset more meaningful for Dems than a Republican victory would be for their party. So if you are reading this and haven't voted yet get to the polls, the lines won't be that long.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

More answers coming from the FEC on Recchia's campaign

The FEC seems as though it will be our only friend in figuring out Recchia's campaign and what it is capable of. November 8 (or possibly sooner) will be a day to circle on the calendar.

According to the FEC's Candidate Registration page "An individual becomes a candidate for federal office (and thus triggers registration and reporting obligations under the Act) when his or her campaign exceeds $5,000 in either contributions or expenditures." Back on October 24, Domenic Recchia hosted his first fund raiser. The suggested contribution amounts were $100, $250, $500 and $1,000. It is likely that Recchia will trigger that $5,000 campaign contribution limit making him an official candidate.

"Within 15 days after an individual becomes a candidate, he or she must designate a principal campaign committee as the principal committee to receive contributions and make expenditures on the candidate’s behalf. This designation must be made in writing by filing a Statement of Candidacy (FEC Form 2 [PDF]) or by filing a letter with the same information (i.e., the individual’s name and address, the district and/or state in which the federal office is sought, and the name and address of his or her principal campaign committee)." [via FEC]

Fifteen days would take us to November 8, however we may not have to wait that long. We see that Recchia already has a principal campaign committee Recchia for Congress. Further;

"Within 10 days after it has been designated by the candidate, the principal campaign committee must file a Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1 [PDF]) with the FEC or, in the case of Senate candidates, with the Secretary of the Senate. The Statement must identify the committee’s treasurer, bank depositories, any other committees authorized by the same candidate 4 and other pertinent information, described below. 11 CFR 102.1(a) and 102.2(a).' [via FEC]

Those 10 days would take us to November 18 at the latest, but we know Recchia for Congress already has a declared treasurer so it would lead one to believe the rest of those requirements have also probably been reported. So it looks as though announced or not Domenic Recchia is now an official candidate for Congress. Up next is any indication of his fund raising prowess.

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Recchia for Congress

The FEC is now showing a Recchia for Congress Campaign Committee. There are few details except a campaign treasurer, Theodore Pavlounis. A quick Google search shows that Mr. Pavlounis seems to be in legal services and his company's address is the same listed as the campaign committee's address, nothing excited there.

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