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

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

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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