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

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Wednesday night

(Guest post by Ahmed Kokon)

I'm sitting down and writing this blog post because I feel that it's very important to discuss with you the events of Wednesday night.

The Democratic Committee of Richmond County held its nominating convention on that night. Before the convention, Steve Harrison spoke personally to Chairman John Gulino and he assured him that he would have a chance to address the committee before the voting began.

When Harrison arrived at the convention, Chairman Gulino broke his word and told him that he would not be permitted to do so.

When supporters of the campaign informed the committee that they would be voting for Harrison's nomination, Chairman Gulino removed them from the committee.

This is party politics at its worst. This is what we are up against and we will not back down, we will not give in.

Steve Harrison is held accountable by one group of people and one group of people only - the residents of the 13th Congressional District.

We still have a fight on our hands and we need your support now more than ever.

Stand side by side with us in our fight against party bosses and Bush Democrats. Stand side by side with us in our fight for healthcare for all, lower gas prices, and the safe withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

It's time to Get America Working Again.

Are you with me?


At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did you think would happen? This is the party that invented super delegates, makes it a point not to count the votes of 2.3 million of its party members and sends government-employed goons to spy on its political opponents! What did you expect?!?

At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The nominating process in Staten Island is (and has been for years) that supporters nominate candidates and speak on their behalf. As with the national convention, the winners speak after the vote. In this case Harrison (who lost to Councilman Michael McMahon) was also allowed to speak. No members of the Staten Island Democratic Party Executive Committee were removed for supporting Harrison. Two members of the Executive Committee nominated Harrison. As for the members of the County Committee who voted at the meeting, they were elected in 2006. Supporters of either candidate who happened to show up and were not members of the Council Committee were, of course, not allowed to vote.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Taget said...

Having attended the meeting I'll agree with the last message. While it might have been nicer if the candidates spoke beforehand that wasn't the case and made little difference.

Both candidates were well represented with very good nominating and second speeches. Particularly the African-American gentleman who nominated Harrison was a great speaker.

The reason why McMahon won and Harrison lost was represented in how both arrived. Harrison supporters arrived early and distributed campaign literature and stickers. McMahon arrived early himself and personally shook the hand and greeted everyone who was in the room. Most of whom he knew on a first name basis.

While Steve Harrison had an organization there and bussed in a number of volunters / campaign workers he arrived later and never worked the room.

Put simply he didn't know his audience well enough and his audience didn't know him. Given he was an outsider coming into Staten Island he especially needed to make that extra effort.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Ahmed Kokon said...

Before the convention, Chairman Gulino spoke to Steve Harrison and told Harrison that he would be allowed to address the committee before voting began.

To be clear, several supporters of Harrison were removed from County Committee in the last two weeks.

Steve Harrison knew the audience very well, as this was the same audience he spoke before in 2006 and the same audience which he told that he would not be a sacrificial lamb to them.

Unfortunately, party politics is alive and well and what is important is to have the best interests of the residents of the 13th CD in mind.

Not only two years ago.

Not only two months ago.

Not only two weeks ago.

But every single day.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Steve said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Ahmed Kokon said...


Harrison arrived at the hall a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes before McMahon when there was almost nobody there. (That is not to imply that Mike did something wrong).

The facts are that afternoon Harrison had an interview with the Working Families Party in midtown Manhattan at 4:30PM. Recchia had an appointment with them at 5:00 and McMahon at 5:30.

Harrison's appointment was finished at 5:00. He was picked up by a volunteer driver at about 5:15. He arrived home and picked up some items at about 6. He then arrived at the Crystal Room at about 6:40. There were very few people there.

Harrison entered the executive committee interview room at 7:30, a few minutes after McMahon arrived.

There were still few people at the hall. He was in there for a little over one half hour.

Then, Harrison came out and immediately worked the room, primarily by greeting people on the outside steps as they entered the hall. The Exec committee broke for 10 minutes when McMahon and Harrison worked the room. McMahon then went into the room where he was interviewd for about 45 minutes and Harrison worked the room alone.

Before the convention, in respect for the committee members, Harrison sent a letter and a DVD to every county committee member and he called every committee member who had a listed phone number.

Nobody was bussed in. There were no busses in the parking lot. All Harrison supporters came voluntarily and arrived of their own accord.

Chairman Gulino told Harrison the Congressional candidates could speak before the vote. Prior policy has been to allow the successful candidate to speak after the vote. There was and would be no purpose in allowing the unsuccessful candidate to speak after the vote. Indeed it is almost guaranteed to create dissent.

Finally, this is a political convention. You know, signs, stickers, rallies and straw hats. Implying that the signs and literature and volunteer coordination are somehow inappropriate is absurd. The absence of these things in a contested office actually shows a lack of grassroots supports and organization. It is only these things that cannot be manipulated in back door deals.

Since you put a premium on early arrival and committee member contact, I hope you voted for Steve Harrison.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please state what county committee member was removed. Until this is done - I'm guessing that this is just all lies

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Taget said...

I was just an outsider coming in. Wanted to see who the candidates are up close and learn more about them. That is solely what my observation is based on.

I saw McMahon work the room. Shake hands. Look everyone in the eye one last time before the vote. If God forbid I ever ran for something that is what I'd want to do in that situation. Make sure you get one last minute contact with each eligible voter beforehand. I didn't see that from Harrison. All I saw were volunteers who were giving out stuff. And a lot people who stood in the back of the room in support of him.

I also saw in McMahon's contact with the people in my general vicinity a great deal of familiarity. Not surprising since McMahon had been among them for awhile. But also underscored how much extra Harrison needed to work to get to know those people better individually. Regardless of whether he had run before.

The vote was 131 to 40 and not even close.

The only hint of controversy besides the candidate speeches being given afterwards (and at the start of the meeting I actually thought they would be given first) was that they took a hand vote rather than a roll call vote. In a matter so contentious that probably would've been the better choice and would've calmed peoples nerves. But the vote was too overwhelming for that to have made an ounce of difference in the final results.

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who voted for Harrison in 06, I hate to say that I wish he would go away.

He kicks and screams cause Staten Island Dems endorse a Staten Island elected official (SURPRISE!).

He whines because everyone's against him. He's the Mike Gravel of SI/Brooklyn politics.

I can't wait for McMahon to slaughter him in a primary so I can hear Harrison say "You won't have Steve Harrison to kick around anymore!"


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