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

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

Monday, June 30, 2008

9 Days

That is all that is left for petitioning. Looks more and more like Republicans will use Frank Powers' signatures and try to hand pick someone for the ticket. Some SI forums rumors say Bob Straniere. Why he wouldn't just declare and run I don't know. Whatever.

Harrison picks up three new club endorsement

Interesting. Steve has a post over at The Albany Project where he mentions the following campaign news;

In the last week we've had over FIVE HUNDRED new donors on the Internet. The Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), Lambda Independent Democrats (LID) and Jim Owels Liberal Democratic Club have joined our already impressive list of endorsers. They all come with great volunteer support.

I hadn't heard about those endorsements previously. Definitely some positive movement for the campaign. They join three other clubs who already endorsed;

* American Heritage Democratic Club
* Democratic Organization of Richmond County
* Staten Island Democratic Assocaiton

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End of the quarter fund raising

Tonight at midnight is the end of the second quarter for fund raising. The results of these FEC filings will be quite telling heading into the primary. If you have a candidate you support send them some money, any amount helps and total number of donors is almost as critical as dollars raised;

Steve Harrison
Mike McMahon

Here is Steve's final email ask;

There are 6 hours left in this quarter and we need you to make a contribution of any amount.

Enough is enough. We must stand up and Get America Working Again together.

When I am your Congressman, I will not fund another bill for Iraq unless it's for one thing and one thing only - to bring our brave men and women back home.

Will you help me bring our troops back home?

When I am your Congressman, I will advocate for single-payer healthcare.

Will you help me demand healthcare for all Americans?

When I am your Congressman, I will strongly support labor rights and union rights.

Will you stand alongside the men and women of labor?

When I am your Congressman, I will bring back to our district much needed money to improve transportation and traffic - not for studies - but to truly increase our standard of living.

Enough is enough. My primary opponent has the machine but zero positions on the issues.

You know exactly where I stand but to compete against an expensive machine with bankrupt values, I'm depending on you for a contribution of $100, $50, $25, or any amount you can give - every dollar counts.

Will you Get America Working Again?

It's time to get our district back on track. It's time to get our country back on track. I'm counting on you.

We have less than 6 hours left. Let's finish this quarter strong.

note: if you have an email ask for McMahon's campaign pass it along and I will post it.

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A Progressive Window?

In the following post I am going to start a discussion on challenging some misconceptions on what type of candidate can win and hold this seat. I am not intending to look at either McMahon or Harrion's policy viewpoints directly but take a broader look at political ideology. As Mike McMahon is still in the process of building his campaign site I don't think it would be fair on my part to try to address his views on policy without knowing more and having statements I can link to. This certainly is something I may come back to in the future.

Matt Stoller over at OpenLeft.com has a post up about bluewashing, corporate financial involvement in Democratic races resulting in Democratic candidates moving to the right in a time when we can and in my opinion should be moving them to the left. He mentions that in three special elections this year, all of which we have won, we have replaced a Republican with a "blue dog" Democrat. via wikipedia;

Blue Dog Democrats are a group of 48 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives. [1] The Blue Dogs promote, among other things, fiscal conservatism and accountability

For the most part these are all good fits for their district, but they do not grow the progressive caucus in Congress any. As for the November outlook, via Matt;

I have not analyzed open seat primary results yet, but I would not be surprised to see a mixed record across the board, which, in a progressive window environment, is a missed opportunity. It shouldn't though be surprising.

Bouldin over at the Daily Gotham chimes in on the news that many of the NYC Congressional Delegation have endorsed McMahon, noting the potential divide between the beltway portion of the party and the more progressive outsiders;

What's irksome, of course, is that Mike McMahon recently made the news for voicing pro-war sentiments to Mike Long's little outfit. Also note that there's a name missing from the eleven above: Nydia Velasquez, Chair of the House Progressive Caucus.

I want to point out there seems to be some discrepancies as to McMahon's stance on Iraq and I am not ready to jump into that issue here. While it appears both Harrison and McMahon would be a drastic improvement in terms of troop support and ending the war over Fossella, Harrison has come out with a strong progressive voice on the issue garnering him the support of Progressive Democrats of America as well as DFNYC. To that point the NYC Congressional delegation the following about McMahon in their endorsement;

"We are confident that Mike McMahon will play an important role in bringing our troops home from Iraq, and in winning our fight for good-paying New York jobs, reduced gas prices and quality health care for all Americans."

As I look at the two candidates and try to extrapolate McMahon's public statements onto a congressional platform I think more and more about this progressive window. Bouldin noted a curious situation above with Rep. Nydia Velasquez not joining the others in their endorsement of McMahon. The most logical analysis to me is that she does not want to interject herself into a Democratic primary and recent statements and her past contributions to Harrison in 2006 indicate she has a cordial relationship with Harrison's campaign. If you want to read into it more the fact that she is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, (she is not listed as chair as is stated above) may play into her non endorsement. Four other members of the NYC delegation are members of the caucus and endorsed McMahon as well though; Rep. Maloney, Nadler, Rangel and Serrano.

The question that this all comes back to is during this time where Democrats are likely to gain even more seats in Congress and further extend their majority, where the administration is likely to swing from conservatism to a more liberal governing style and where it looks like the odds favor any Democrat in this congressional district, should we be doing more to not just elect a Democrat but a more progressive Democrat? I will be the first to say that I am much more progressive in my ideology than probably either candidate on our side and don't hide from that and wish the party would not either. I don't buy into stereotypes that the district will only elect certain people; Staten Island natives, Conservatives, those with Italian lineage. Any combination of McMahon, Harrison, Powers or Wyne does not have the pre-requisite vowel (Wyne doesn't count) on the end of the name that so many touted as the only way to win the seat here. We are going to see a change regardless of who wins this November and with that all generalizations of who can win should disappear. If the DCCC is dedicated to winning this seat and put the same resources in regardless of who wins the primary there is little chance any Republican nominee is going to be able to match that investment and the NRCC has already said they can't and won't.

In a campaign cycle that from top to bottom is based on change we need to evaluate what is our best long term investment. I hear a lot of comments that first let's just flip this seat regardless of who we put in it and then later through primaries lets move it further left if necessary. In 2010 we will have another census that will lead to redistricting in 2011. All signs point to New York state losing two Congressional districts meaning most of the congressional district boundaries as we know them know will be adjusted. The most likely scenario for this district is picking up new portions of Brooklyn, probably from parts of Nadler's 8th district bringing in more Democratic voters. If a Democrat is holding this seat in 2012, just two more cycles then they will have it locked up for quite a while regardless of their ideology. Congressional seats in New York City seldomly change hands without a scandal or retirement. The only other notable race I can think of is Rep. Towns primary challenge, everyone else is extremely safe in terms of retaining their seats. So a progressive candidate or a moderate candidate would have the odds in their favor of holding on to this seat as long as they make it through the 2010 election and the power of incumbency, in a majority would go a long way towards securing that.

If you have the choice between a moderate and a progressive candidate and both would have the momentum on their side in the general election what would you do?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Will any Republican make the ballot?

It is an interesting question, but not one that is too crazy to start thinking about. Before Frank Powers death we knew his campaign with the help of the party had gathered about 2,000 signatures of the 1,250 needed. However that number is lower than what anyone familiar with the process would recommend is needed to survive challenges (incorrect names, non district residents, non registered Republicans, etc.). The campaign collected those names in about 19 days. There are only 37 total in the petitioning window which closes on July 10 whether the Republicans get enough signatures or not. We are now down to 11 days left and the Republicans have not endorsed a candidate yet. That means right now Powers and Jamshad Wyne are the only Republicans with any ballot signatures, everyone else is starting from zero. Assuming someone gets endorsed and hits the ground collecting signatures right away they are looking at needing 300 a day. There are quite a few questions to be asking, for now mine is why is the party dragging its feet to endorse. They have lost most first, second and third tier potential candidates but that is still no reason to sit out this race while there are down ballot elections at stake. At this point I am not ruling out that after July 10th we will be looking at September 9th as the deciding election day, when Democrats head to the polls to elect their next member of Congress.

The joke that is the Republican Party in Staten Island

Tom writes about the state of the Republican party by not having a candidate. The article is mostly a detour through what seemingly is another ego induced mistake on their part in rejecting former Assembly member Matthew Mirones. By far the best part of the article;

"How does anyone in the GOP make a statement like, 'Where has Matt been?'" said one longtime borough Republican. "He has to reach out to the elected officials? For what? To earn the right to spend $2 million and save their butts from getting trounced? What has my party come to? What are they afraid of? It looks like they have been bending over backward to hand this race to Mike."


Swing State Project moves race to "Leans Democratic"

via Swing State Project;

With Staten Island Republicans still searching for a candidate a week after the death of Frank Powers, the Swing State Project is changing its rating of this race from "Tossup" to "Leans Democratic".

After FEC filings at the end of the month we will have a good idea of what Steve and Mike's cash situation looks like. Then on July 10th ballot petitioning closes and we will know who, if anyone will make the Republican ballot. Expect the other analysts to start following suit and moving this race to Lean Democratic.


Fossella should put his family values to work

Here is hoping Fossella will co-sponsor this bill in the House;

Two United States Senators implicated in extramarital sexual activity have named themselves as co-sponsors of S. J. RES. 43, dubbed the Marriage Protection Amendment. If ratified, the bill would amend the United States Constitution to state that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

Sen. Craig was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom for soliciting sexual activities from an undercover male police officer and Sen. Vitter was a client of the prostitution firm. Conservative values at their best.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Humor at the Republican Party's expense

Jesus' General offers himself as a candidate. Seriously go read it.

Koch endorses McMahon

Not sure what impact if any this will have;

"Councilman McMahon who is running for Congress called me some time ago to ask me if I would endorse him," said Koch. "I did endorse him when he ran for City Council. I'm endorsing you tonight."

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Harrison names Greg Collett campaign manager

via Harrison press release;

Democratic Congressional Candidate Steve Harrison names former Deutsche Bank director Greg Collett campaign manager

(Staten Island/Brooklyn) Democratic Congressional Candidate Steve Harrison (NY 13 CD Staten Island/Southwest Brooklyn) has named former Deutsche Bank director Greg Collett campaign manager. Collett, a George Washington University Law School grad, recently stepped down as a director at Deutsche Bank, where he developed and managed the Bank’s exchange traded commodity fund business. Collett replaces Laura Sword, who stepped down from the campaign earlier this week.

Before his work at Deutsche Bank, Mr. Collett had experience as a legislative aide to a New Jersey State Senator and on various campaigns.

In 2006, Harrison against long time incumbent Vito Fossella, received a higher percentage of the vote than any Democrat ever, under NY‘s 13th Congressional District’s current configuration. A scandal ridden Fossella has declined to seek re-election in 2008.

"Greg first contacted me last year looking for a volunteer position on the campaign after hearing our message," said Harrison. “I was humbled to have someone with Greg’s credentials, so we included him in the campaign in a fund raising capacity."

"In light of Greg’s ample organizational and communication skills, when he became available this week, the choice became obvious," continued Harrison. He has the skill set, drive, and dedication to be successful. He has an infectious winning attitude that should inspire our many volunteers. I’m thrilled to work with Greg. He will be a fresh presence in the district with a fresh perspective on the race.”

"I sought Steve out because I believe in his progressive message of hope," said Collett. "I was impressed with his passion and perseverance and most of all by his willingness to take on powerful forces and fight for what he believes is right.” Steve is a true champion for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn. Steve is the true Democrat in this race, and we’ll get that message to the voter. I intend to work 24/7 to get him into Congress. You’ll see some innovative strategies emerge that I think will resonate with voters. We have a lot of work to do, but we have an army of dedicated volunteers to do it. My job is to coordinate and motivate that army."

Long time Harrison volunteer, David Hernandez of Staten Island, is the campaign’s new field coordinator. Hernandez, who was viewed by many as an MVP of Harrison’s highly successful 2006 field operation, was active in General Wesley Clark’s Presidential Campaign and instrumental in securing Clark’s 06 Harrison endorsement. Hernandez is also a member of the Richmond County Democratic Committee.

The rest of the campaign team remains in place with Alice Harrison serving as Treasurer, Reciprocal Results CEO, Roy Moskowitz, handling communications and Ahmed Kokon, continuing on as Internet Director.

For more information visit steveharrisonforcongress.com

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DCCC reserves $2.1 million in TV ad buys for NY-13

The DCCC is not playing around and intends to flip this seat and is putting up large amounts of money to do so.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $2.1 million in television time this fall to run commercials in the 13th Congressional District campaign, a boon to City Councilman Michael McMahon, the Democratic designee in the race.

"This is very welcome news," said McMahon (D-North Shore), who returned last night from a fund-raising trip to Washington, D.C. "This shows that the DCCC believes in this race and understands this is an expensive media market," he added. "It's the kind of commitment what we will work very hard to deserve."

A Washington source said that the DCCC made this kind of commitment in only three races in 2006.

The DCCC is just reserving the ad buys and can back out of them should the Republican Party fail to nominate a candidate or put up anyone who can offer a real competition. This is nearly one third of the total cash on hand that their Republican counterparts the NRCC have. This has to scare any remaining legitimate Republicans thinking about jumping into this race.



former Borough President and member of Congress Guy Molinari;

Responding to a reporter's question, Molinari told the Advance he spent yesterday working the phones with party leaders and elected officials, both here and in Brooklyn, trying to arrange a sitdown where they can settle upon a candidate.

But that doesn't mean that Molinari, who served in the House from 1981 to 1989, is looking for another term in Congress himself.

"No," he said. "People have asked, but no."


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Would a Republican just take one for the team, please

No Republican wants to run for this seat. Seriously.

"We have an open seat, a seat held by Republicans for 28 years," Molinari said. "And somewhat discouraging, we have not been able to field a candidate that can go out there and win."

Molinari told us that local party leaders and prospective candidates will be meeting tonight or possibly tomorrow night with still other potential candidates to see if someone, anyone, will run against expected Democratic nominee Michael McMahon or his primary challenger Steve Harrison. [emphasis my own]

Let's just take a look at the who has been considered in the nomination process so far;

1. District Attorney Dan Donovan, asked to run by the NRCC, turned it down, doesn't want it now
2. State Senator Andrew Lanza, recruited by the NRCC after Donovan, didn't want it the first time, doesn't want it now
3. City Council Member James Oddo, no and no
4. Assemblyman Vincent Ignizio, no and no
5. City Council Member Lou Tobacco, no and no
6. Staten Island GOP Finance Chair Dr. Jamshad Wyne, declared he is running, no one cares, might still be running
7. GOP County Clerk Stephen Fiala
8. Brooklyn Republican Party Chair, Craig Eaton, name dropped himself and no one listened
9. Paul Atanasio, endorsed by the Brooklyn Conservative Party, might be running on that line, Staten Island Conservatives don't want him
10. former Assemblyman Robert Straniere
11. Staten Island Republican Chairman John Friscia
12. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Maltese
13. State Senator Marty Golden
14. Todd Tobbacco, once ran for the Assembly and lost
15. Glenn Yost
16. Carmine Morano, now running on the Independence line instead
17. Richard Hoffman, Vice President of the borough Young Republicans
18. Scott LoBaido
19. Dennis McKeon, I forget who this is
20. Curtis Sliwa, offered to run and was ignored
21. Lisa Giovanazzi, former front runner, considered front runner the second time, declined to run
22. Frank Powers, eventual candidate of choice after this whole list, was endorsed and sadly passed away creating a second round of nominations
23. Rep. Vito Fossella, seriously, he was the top tier choice during the second round
24. former Assembly Member Matthew Mirones, skipped the first round, was a top tier the second time around after Fossella, but withdrew
25. Mike McMahon, Democratic City Council Member, talked about being cross endorsed

Did I miss anyone?

Electing Better Democrats

Chris Bowers, a very well known and well respected blogger on our side of the aisle has been arguing over at OpenLeft that we need to start looking at electing better democrats and not just focusing on electing more democrats to Congress.

However, in Congress, there are now more than more than enough Democrats instead of Republicans to form a majority. To be precise, there are 236 Democrats in the House in seats that could otherwise be held by Republicans, and 49 Democrats in the Senate (plus two others who caucus with Democrats). Further, all indications are that in November, these majorities will grow substantially, providing Democrats will clear majorities in both branches of Congress of such size that Republican opposition could be rendered inert. In this situation, we are past the point of needing more Democrats in Congress. Now, unless we want a repeat of FISA and Iraq on virtually every issue, even under a vast Democratic trifecta, we have to work to make sure that we elect better Democrats.

He goes on to outline criteria he is looking for to fit into this "better democrats" notion;

Starting with our first seven candidates, Better Democrats will endorse those candidates whose victory, in our best estimation, will have the largest progressive impact on Congress as a whole. While there is no single criteria for our first seven candidates, there are several important factors we took into consideration. Endorsing The Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq helps. Being from a blue district that will be easier to defend helps. Also, being a woman and / or a minority helps, given that the vast majority of conservative in the Democratic Congress are white men. Even though it is a generalization and not a hard rule, electing more women and minority Democrats to Congress means electing more progressives. Further, Willingness to speak out against Democratic capitulation on issues like Iraq and FISA helps. Yet further, running a primary campaign against a conservative Democratic in Congress really helps. The candidates who most closely match these criteria will end up on the Better Democrats page.

I think most of these are good starting points to look at for both of our Democratic candidates and hope to revisit these points after I can round up some statements from them. If you have particular issues you are interested in let me know in the comments.

Lisa Giovanazzi out too

via the NYTimes;

Party leaders on Staten Island said they were looking seriously at a number of potential candidates. The most prominent is Matthew Mirones, a former assemblyman who operates a prosthetics company. They had also considered Lisa Giovinazzo, a lawyer and part-time anchor at the cable channel NY1 News. But on Wednesday, Ms. Giovinazzo said she would not be a candidate.

Lisa the former front runner for this seat became the dark horse candidate going into the Staten Island GOP endorsement vote only to be passed over at the very last minute for Frank Powers when he promised to self fund his race. Why she would even consider carrying the flag for her party after that makes no sense to me or her.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Staffing changes at the Harrison campaign

via the Advance;

Laura LoBianco Sword has resigned as campaign manager, and field director Kevin Caneco, who was overseeing Harrison's petition-gathering, is also departing.

Slightly dated news at this point but worth covering. I liked Harrison the candidate in 2006 but there certainly was some room for growth in his campaign if he was going to try again this year. One of those areas was his staff and their experience on campaigns. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told they would be bringing Sword onto the campaign and even more delighted by how early this move was made in his campaign. That was a major score for him and through the spring when we were looking at the prospect of a Harrison v. Recchia primary I believed he was organizing the correct team and had conservatively a 50% shot at winning. A lot has changed and it appears that Sword through her previous campaign connections is not comfortable campaigning against Mike McMahon. Quite a respectable decision though certainly somewhat of a set back to Harrison. From the campaign;

In an amicable parting, Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Harrison (NY 13 CD, Staten Island and Southwest Brooklyn) campaign manager Laura LoBianco Sword, and field director Kevin Caneco, have decided to step down from their positions.

"I thank Laura and Kevin ", said Harrison, "they both do a great job and I will miss them during the primary."

LoBianco Sword joined the campaign this past January to aid in the expected primary against City Councilman Domenic Recchia and in the general election against Vito Fossella, who has since announced he is not seeking reelection.

Caneco has been a Harrison aide since Harrison’s 2006 campaign against Fossella. In 2006, Harrison received a higher percentage the highest percentage any Democrat ever under the district’s current configuration.

"The twists and turns of this campaign simply could not be anticipated and make this difficult for everyone involved," said Harrison.

The campaign expects to announce a new structure within days. Campaign communications will continue to be handled by Roy Moskowitz, CEO, Reciprocal Results. Moskowitz was communications director in 2006.

For more information please visit steveharrisonforcongress.com.

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GOP Candidate Speculation

First we hear not to expect any movement until after the funeral for Frank Powers, via TPM;

A national GOP source tells us that the party is already talking to local leaders about potential new candidates, but nothing will happen until after the funeral.

The funeral is scheduled for Friday.

As for the new round of potential candidates here are some thoughts, via the Advance;

Paul Atanasio (or Carmine Morano)

The GOP also is said to be looking at cross-endorsing Paul Atanasio, who received the backing of the Brooklyn Conservative Party after Powers' death, or Independence Party pick Carmine Morano.

Mike McMahon?

While some observers have mentioned the possibility of a GOP cross-endorsement of McMahon, borough Democratic chair John Gulino said that no one on the Republican side had approached him about it. "I wouldn't even discuss it at this time," Gulino said, alluding to the impropriety of discussing politics so soon after Powers' death. "Let's see what happens."

CQPolitics chimes in with a brutal possible reality for the Republican Party;

Though Republican Party officials they are unlikely to publicly concede the seat they have long held in New York City’s most strongly Republican district, Flanagan suggested they could decide that the disastrous first half of this year has already doomed them to lose in November. In that case, Flanagan said, they must consider “how do they lose in a way that doesn’t damage other candidates that are running for state offices?”

At the least, the Republican recruiters will be looking for a lesser-known candidate who could run a credible and possible competitive race. Among those considered possible picks under this scenario are Lisa Giovinazzo and Paul Atanasio.

Now we learn that the top hope, a second or third tier choice, Matthew Mirones is out.

So who wants it? Seriously, someone please just raise your hand. This seat is key to the Republicans Regaining their Majority, err, it is key to the local Republican Party not imploding, err, well someone really should just run for the civics lesson.

update: Lisa Giovinazzo
via the Advance;

Mirones' departure leaves attorney and broadcaster Lisa Giovinazzo as the top candidate for the borough GOP's endorsement.

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McMahon raising funds and possibly eye brows


A Washington source told the Advance last night that McMahon had already raised around $400,000 for the campaign.

If this is true McMahon is one of the most prolific Congressional fundraisers considering he has been in the race for only a month at this point. Fossella struggled to bring in $200,000 per quarter (three months) as an incumbent, so use that as your benchmark. I am going to say that he might have quite a war chest already but $400,000 seems incredibly high. One the other hand if this is remotely close to being accurate it has to scare any Republicans looking at jumping into the race now, which may be the real reason to release a slightly inflated number. Interesting.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Steve Harrison on FISA

via his campaign;

This Friday, legislation was passed that will take away constitutionally guaranteed rights. The FISA bill strips Americans of these rights and protects telecommunications companies from being held accountable by the people.

I am standing up against my own party because I believe we can have sound legislation that defends our country and, at the same time, protects our Constitution. If we are to hold our government accountable, retroactive immunity is the wrong path to go down.

It's time to support Democrats with democratic values and principles, Democrats who will work on behalf of the American people and protect their rights. When I'm elected to Congress, I will be that Democrat.

Great statement in my opinion. Something we will visit a little later but even our own city delegation was split on this. Finding a candidate who opposes FISA and warentless wire tapping of American citizens is high on my list of priorities.

If the McMahon campaign has issued a statement on FISA please let me know and I will post it as well

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New Candidate Speculation, Republican Party

Some candidate speculation via the NY Sun;

Republican leaders say two leading candidates to replace Powers are an acting state Supreme Court justice, Joseph Maltese, and a retired investment banker, Paul Atanasio.

Mr. Atanasio, who is active in the state Conservative Party, was a municipal bond manager at UBS before retiring several months ago. He was also a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps.

If Atanasio enters the race this could move the Staten Island Conservative Party to end their hold out and endorse him. Prior to the recent events they wanted to endorse McMahon while the Brooklyn side of the party wanted to endorse Powers creating a stalemate.

Meanwhile Fossella has declared he really is done and will not run again
via the Advance;

"My plans for the future have not changed," Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) told the Advance during an exclusive interview in his Eltingville district office today. "I am not running for re-election."

Liz has a great round up of all the other usual suspects and tells us Lanza, Donovan Ignizio and Oddo are still out. Lisa Giovinazzo who was the front runner for three hours before Frank Powers' endorsement might still be interested and a new name has entered, former Assemblyman Matt Mirones. Mirones used to hold the AD-60 seat now held by Janele Hyer-Spencer. Certainly a more moderate seat spanning Staten Island and Brooklyn. He would probably be one of the stronger fifth tier (I forget what tier we are on honestly) candidates.

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What is next for the Republican Party

This race has seen its share of plot twists but none are more tragic than the passing of Frank Powers. So where does the party go? July 10th is still the deadline to the best of my knowledge for ballot access meaning the party will need to meet quickly and vote on a successor for their endorsement. Jamshad Wyne is still attempting to run on the Republican line despite losing the endorsement to Frank Powers. The party may move to back him due to the calendar restrictions. There is some talk too that this may know push one of the higher tier potential candidates into the race. I don't quite follow that logic. They didn't get in when they had the chance and now that the party is in more disarray they will declare? The money situation is just as bad as it was a month ago for the Republican Party and a self financing candidate is their only hope still. The NRCC is behind the DCCC $47 to $6 million. Here is the last speculation update I did before the Powers endorsement. These three had the most movement late in the game;

Paul Atanasio
Robert Straniere
John Friscia

And if the recent history of this race is any lesson expect something out of left field.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Frank Powers passes away

via the Advance;

Frank Powers, the retired Wall Street executive designated by the Staten Island Republican Party to run for Congress in November, died today. He was 67.

Sources close to the family said that Powers apparently died in his sleep and was discovered in bed by his wife, Dianne, about 10 a.m.

The Powers family released the following statement, which was read by Powers' son Brian, 23, who was joined by his brothers in front of the family home on Todt Hill:

"Our dad, Frank Powers, passed away early this morning. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family. We would appreciate privacy at this time as we make the necessary arrangements. We shall have more information when the final arrangements have been made. We thank you for your kindness and cooperation and ask you to keep our dad and our family in your prayers."

There will be no posting or analysis from me on the race today


Statement on the Passing of Frank Powers

(Guest Post by Ahmed Kokon)

Today, I am deeply saddened upon learning of the unfortunate passing of Frank Powers. I did not know Frank but I admired the fact that he stepped up to the plate for his party and demonstrated courage when called upon to act. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

- Steve Harrison

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nobody likes Frank Powers

Curtis Sliwa endorsements aren't really news, but his quotes are news worthy;

But he couldn't support GOP designee Frank Powers, a Todt Hill resident who is a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Sliwa said.

Sliwa called the MTA "the most despicable organization, government agency in the tri-state area."

"They exploit the people, they lie," he said.

"Quite frankly, enough with the Republicans," Sliwa said. "It's time to go the Independence Party route."

Sliwa offered himself as a candidate for the Republican line just a couple of weeks ago and now can't bring himself to support the party or their candidate of choice, Frank Powers.

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New analyst upgrade for NY-13

The Rothenberg Political Report has changed its ranking of this race and now lists it as a "pure toss-up." This is an upgrade from a month ago when they listed this seat as "Republican favored."

Rothenberg now joins several others in saying this race is anyone's to win, though currently trending Democratic;

Swing State Project, toss-up
Cook Political Report, toss-up
CQPolitics; no clear favorite


Frank Powers flip flops on his constituent paid E-ZPass perk

Frank Powers quickly backtracks on giving up his constituent funded E-ZPass;

Board members will vote on revocation of their lifetime privileges and a policy requiring them to use passes only when they're on official business.

Several members said they might reject such a resolution.


No one pledged to reject the resolution outright - since it has not yet been finished - but several members also said they were "leaning" against restricting their perks.

"I believe we should have an outside counsel review the law," said board member Francis Powers.

Why have outside counsel review this? Well it seems the NY Attorney General is looking to shut the practice down and Powers may want to fight that;

After an exclusive Daily News report on the number of free E-ZPass tags granted to past and present MTA board members, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office warned the authority the freebies are illegal - and told the MTA to halt the free-travel privileges.

That is a far way from his previous statements that giving up his perks were the right thing to do;

With the MTA being a favorite punching bag of borough residents and lawmakers, Powers said that he would surrender the free E-ZPass he received as a perk of his service on the authority board and would reimburse the MTA for any tolls he's rung up.

"It's the right thing to do," Powers said.

Meanwhile his fellow board member says they deserve to keep their perks;

An MTA board member said yesterday he and his colleagues should be allowed to keep their free transportation privileges to encourage them to endure the "inconvenience" of riding trains.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Carmine Morano's website

In case you were interested here is where 4,000+ votes will go this November;


update: two statue of liberties, one eagle, far more patriotic than Fossella ever was!

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Fossella's DWI court date delayed

via The Slueth;

Fossella's court date was originally scheduled for June 27 but it has been postponed until July or August, according to Fossella defense attorney Barry Pollack. Pollack cites a number of reasons for the delay, including a typo in his subpoeana to the manufacturer of the breathalizer machine that recorded the congressman's blood alcohol level at twice Virginia's legal limit.

More time for Fossella to support the troops fight his arrest.

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Voter registration drive this Saturday

from an email:

This Saturday, June 21, we are going to be registering voters at the annual "Back to the Beach" event on Staten Island (last year, 25,000 people attended). We will be meeting at Sand Lane and Father Capodonno Blvd. at 11:00 a.m. From our meeting place, we will fan out with clipboards, registering people to vote. All supplies will be provided. Though 11:00 a.m. is our starting time, feel free to sign-up to come by and register people any time before 4:00 p.m. and stay as long as you like (please indicate your shift when you R.S.V.P. below).


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

McMahon added to the DCCC's Red to Blue

via the DCCC;

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced today the next round of candidates who earned a spot in the DCCC's highly competitive Red to Blue program. These 14 candidates qualified for the third round of the Red to Blue program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress. The DCCC also released a list of 20 emerging races, where Democratic candidates are running strong campaigns that are generating excitement in their districts.

"The candidates for change being named to the DCCC Red to Blue program are running strong campaigns and are committed to making things easier for middle class families in their districts," said Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "With less than five months to make their case for change to voters in their districts, the Red to Blue program will give these candidates the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November."

Mike MaMahon joins Dan Maffei and Eric Massa, fellow New Yorkers on the DCCC's Red to Blue program. New York will post some major gains for the party this November.

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Making the MTA a campaign issue

Frank Powers thinks his experience as a board member of the MTA will be "a positive in the campaign." I think that is a great stance for him to take and welcome having the despised transportation system a central issue in the election. I still think Harrison and McMahon are right in making Iraq and a quick and safe withdraw the key issue but that said the MTA and transportation may not be far behind.

I am not sure when the last time the MTA was in the news for something positive and that is no different today;

The MTA's finances have been tanking - and straphangers may get hit with another round of fare hikes - but that didn't stop Authority CEO Elliot Sander from snagging a raise.

Hired to the tune of $340,000 just 18 months ago, Sander last month received a $10,000 boost to his economic package, which includes a base salary and other benefits, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed Monday.

How great would it be to involve the Transportation Workers Union Local 100 against Powers the ridiculously wealthy MTA board member? With Fossella out of the picture unions can more easily back the Democratic nominee this time around, something that they have been hesitant to do in the past. In 2004 I often did phone banking for Frank Barbaro and worked side by side with several TWU members who really hit their messaging of transportation importance to the district. At the time we were going through recent fare hikes and the express bus service to the district had taken a significant increase. They would be an extremely powerful ally in GOTV efforts. Making this race about the working class versus executive board members would be a powerful message.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Frank Powers and the MTA out of touch with district residents

Frank Powers is still fleecing the residents of this district who struggle with transportation costs. via the Advance;

With the MTA being a favorite punching bag of borough residents and lawmakers, Powers said that he would surrender the free E-ZPass he received as a perk of his service on the authority board and would reimburse the MTA for any tolls he's rung up.

"It's the right thing to do," Powers said.

This wasn't the right thing for Powers to do until he started running for office. If it was the right thing to do all along why did he not turn it down, considering he is so rich he is about to loan himself $500,000 for this race. He certainly could afford to pay a few bridge tolls if he wanted, but he didn't. Frank Powers was above paying tolls.

The MTA has been slammed for giving out the lifetime passes, with some top officials getting as many as seven to give out to family members and friends.

Powers called the controversy "a big deal over nothing," and said he was the only person who used his agency E-ZPass.

Since giving up his E-ZPass is the right thing to do and this is all a big deal over nothing how soon until Powers requests that all of his fellow MTA board members give up their E-ZPass and reimburse their expenses as well? I hope he continues this "a big deal over nothing" theme because that will resonate so well with the hard working constituents of this district. Just how out of touch with the real world is Frank Powers?

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Nobody wants Frank Powers, part II

via Tom;

WABC Radio personality Curtis Sliwa, who considered running for Congress here himself, is set to endorse Independence Party pick Carmine Morano in the race to replace GOP Rep. Vito Fossella.

Sliwa had offered himself up as the candidate in waiting for the GOP as all of their other top tier choices were dropping out. Now he won't even support the party endorsed candidate. In December 2006 I commented on the possibility of Fossella losing the Independence Party line;

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.

The Democratic nominee won't pick up this line, but the Republican nominee certainly will not have it, potentially costing them 4,000 votes assuming there is not more voters this cycle than in 2004. The right is split and frustrated at their situation and hopefully will go into November with at least 3 major contenders to split their vote on.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

DCCC kind of endorses McMahon

The DCCC who to date has not interjected itself in any race that had a competitive primary has now endorsed Mike McMahon;

Council Member Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island) was publicly endorsed June 13 by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee (DCCC) in his bid to replaced retiring Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

The DCCC made an exception to its rule of not endorsing in a primary—McMahon potentially faces 2006 nominee Steve Harrison—but northeast recruiting head Rep. Steve Israel (D-Suffolk) and DCCC chair Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) said McMahon’s candidacy was a special circumstance.

It is unclear whether they will be offering financial support to McMahon. In the above article Dan suggests that McMahon may receive financial support after winning the primary. Liz reiterates that the DCCC itself will not spend money on the primary but leaves open the possibility that he could be added to the coveted Red to Blue program;

The DCCC won't be spending money on the primary. But McMahon has a good shot of getting into its Red-to-Blue fundraising program (10 candidates will be chosen next week) through which donors are encouraged to give to candidates in key races around the country.

The DCCC's Red to Blue program is a way to show supporters races they believe are top tier and encourage supporters to direct their money to particular races. Meanwhile in upstate New York, where there is another open seat, vacated by Rep. Tom Reynolds (R), just like there is here, there is a contested primary. Jon Powers the leading Democratic candidate has wrapped up every Democratic County Party endorsement as well as many of the major town party endorsements. The DCCC has stated publicly they are not getting involved in that primary; (the original Newsday link is no longer active)

"It's an open process and everyone is obviously welcome to battle it out," Van Hollen said. "Obviously I mention (Powers) only because he appears to have a lot of momentum in the Democratic primary. ...From the national committee's perspective, we are not getting involved in the primary."

Interesting juxtaposition on the two races and major pick up opportunities for us.

update: I had misplaced the source for the first quote above. It was a piece by Dan Rivoli for the City Hall News. My apologies.

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1,872 Days Later

Meanwhile Vito Fossella is busy supporting the troops by spending his time trying to get out of his DWI and jail time. Thanks Congressman!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Race shifts back in Democrats favor, now "no clear favorite"

CQpolitics for some reasons had shifted their ranking of this race from no clear favorite to leans Republican and is now shifting it back to no clear favorite;

The personal scandal that caused the stunning political downfall of Republican Rep. Vito Fossella, and his party’s stumbling efforts to recruit a candidate to succeed him in New York’s 13th Congressional District, have prompted CQ Politics to change its rating on the race to No Clear Favorite from Leans Republican.

Swing State Project already had this at "toss-up" the equivilent of no clear favorite. As did Cook Political Report. This seat will soon become "Leans Democratic," likely after a strong FEC filing by McMahon and Harrison.

update fixed the Swing State Project link

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Desperate Fossella hires OJ Simpson's private detectives

via the Washington Post;

As first reported in the New York Daily News today, Fossella has hired the very same gumshoes who once worked for the likes of O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and mafia boss John Gotti. The private eyes, James Harkins and John McNally, have been spotted interviewing patrons and workers at the Logan Tavern, where Fossella and a drinking buddy were kicked out late on April 30, not long before Fossella was pulled over -- across the river, in Alexandria -- after midnight.

Fossella's arrogance which has ruined his family and career is leading him to fight his DWI;

Pollack says he plans to fight the results of the breathalizer test that was administered to the Staten Island congressman at the Mount Vernon, Va., police station, some three hours after he was pulled over for running a red light. That test was the fourth administered to Fossella. Police gave him a field breathalizer test, which registered at about 1.3, then took him to Alexandria, where the machine wasn't working. Fossella was then taken to Mount Vernon, where a first test was deemed inconclusive and a second registered his blood-alcohol content as 1.7.

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McMahon launches his website


It also looks like Frank Powers will be online at www.frankpowersforcongress.com. The site is not yet live but it is registered to a Brian Powers from Staten Island.

Please go help Robert

Do me a favor, vote for Robert Harding.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NYC Congressional delegations endorses McMahon, what is the value?

Most of the New York City Congressional delegation endorsed Mike McMahon in his quest to flip the only Republican held seat in the city.

Democratic City Councilman Michael McMahon's congressional bid got a big boost today when Rep. Charles Rangel and the rest of the city's Democratic congressional delegation announced that they are backing McMahon in the race for the 13th Congressional District seat.

Phil at the Albany Project actually points out that one name was missing, Rep. Nydia Velazquez. This is rather curious and something I want to take a separate look at this weekend. For now though I want to focus on the endorsements and what impact they might have on the primary.

First things first this is great news for Mike McMahon. There is nothing bad that can be said about being supported by 12 members of Congress. That said let's be critical of the real value here.

This effort was led by Rep. Rangel. You may recall back in 2006 Rangel decided to get involved in this district by publicly supporting Bill DeBlasio and emailing supporters to raise money for him. Rangel was slightly embarrassed after realizing Steve Harrison was already running and retracted his support for DeBlasio. Rangel did not donate to Harrison's campaign or offer similar assistance.

Then there is Rep. Nadler who just months ago was supporting Domenic Recchia, a candidate who refused to show up to almost every club meeting, had no staff and essentially sulked when he was not handed the nomination. I am a very big fan of Nadler's, I used to live in his district and he was a great Congressman, but I really question what he saw in Recchia and why he was so forceful with his involvement. Now Recchia is out of the picture.

Rep. Weiner you may recall was the first member of Congress from the city to come out in support of a Cusick candidacy.

So endorsements by public figures don't necessarily amount to much. The value likely comes in with their connections to donors. But before any assumptions that these twelve endorsements will fill McMahon's campaign coffers let's take a look at the last two elections in this district. I have covered the Congressional delegation as donors for this seat in a series of posts entitled Funding this Race;

There are 20 Democratic members of Congress from New York state, of those 12 are in New York City. In 2004 8 of the 20 donated to Barbaro’s campaign, 6 from New York City. One item of note is that the Bush v. Kerry race topped the ballot and may have pulled money away from Barbaro. Of those twenty only two, Higgins NY-20 and Bishop NY-01 faced a competitive race winning with 51% and 56% respectively and had a dire need to keep their funds and fundraising efforts within their own district. No other members were re-relected with less than 63%. Excluding Higgins and Bishop, the 18 other members of Congress have a combined $7.21 million cash-on-hand.

Funding the Race, Part II;

Rep. Crowley donated to Rep. Serrano's re-election (NY-16) which he barely squeaked out with 95%, managing to do even better than Rep. Owens. Even more astounding he made his largest contribution to Sen. Clinton, who at the time was two years away from her 2006 re-election race.

Rep. Crowley did not contribute to Frank Barbaro during that election cycle.

Fast forward to 2006, when Harrison received the highest percentage of any candidate against Fossella, when donations would have been great investments in flipping this seat, only TWO members from the city's delegation even gave money to Harrison.

Funding the Race, Part III;

Rep. Jerry Nadler 4/21: $1,000
Rep. Nydia Valezquex 10/27: $2,000

Rep. Valezquex as we covered was not part of the McMahon endorsement, meaning the other eleven, Nadler not included, did not even bother supporting the Democratic candidate in this district in 2006. The following congressional members did not give in 2004 or 2006;

Rep. Ackerman
Rep. Crowley
Rep. Engel
Rep. Serrano
Rep. Towns
Rep. Weiner

So as I read about the city's delegation having such an interest in flipping this seat and standing up to help the party you have to excuse me if I am a little skeptical about their commitment and genuine support. Rep. Anthony Weiner had the closest election winning with just 70%, everyone else in the city had an even easier race, yet most could not be bothered to send money or support. So if there is a new found party support that is great but I want to see more than a press release and media event. I want all twelve of these members of Congress who face no real opposition this November to make the maximum contributions they can to the Democratic nominee. I also want to see them making media appearances with the nominee throughout the fall. And I want them to use their email and volunteer lists to send volunteers into the district to help the nominee's campaign.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fossella's lame duck term

Not having to answer to his constituents this fall Fossella is freely carrying out George Bush's agenda. Today he voted to deny struggling Americans with unemployment relief. via the DCCC;

The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act would provide economic relief for Americans looking for work.
Extends Unemployment Insurance for 13 weeks nationwide and for 26 weeks in high unemployment states - those with 6% unemployment or higher.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would provide relief for 3.8 million Americans.
49,000 American jobs were lost in May, the fifth straight month of job losses. [New York Times; June 7, 2008]
Last week, the Department of Labor announced unemployment reached 5.5% in May, up from 5%. This marks the largest single month increase in 22 years. [Kansas City Star; June 6 2008]
So far in 2008, 324,000 jobs have been lost in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [Baltimore Sun; June 6, 2008]

Meanwhile the soon to be convicted Fossella will receive a pension from all of his hard work in the House and continues to receive the best benefits your tax dollars can get him. Fortunately he will soon he unemployed himself and one can only hope he finds himself in the shoes of those he neglected to represent. Meanwhile voters are being asked to replace Fossella's lack of compassion with Republican Frank Powers, retied Wall Street executive who has so much money he is lending himself half of a million dollars to run for Congress. I am sure he intends to work hard for the blue collar workers of the district.

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Fossella's recent legislative votes

21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, Roll Call No 379
Vote Passed (250-164, 19 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to modernize primary schools with a focus on greener buildings.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

Budget Resolution, FY2009, Roll Call No 382
Vote Passed (214-210, 10 Not Voting)

The House passed this federal budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2009.

Rep. Vito Fossella voted NO

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Libertarian Party Endorses Susan Overeem

via the NY Times;

The Libertarian Party selected Susan Overeem on Monday night as the nominee for the Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Vito J. Fossella of Staten Island. She had nearly three times as many votes as the other Libertarian candidate, Francis M. Powers, the son of the Republican Party candidate, Francis H. Powers.

Fran Powers still likely to not support his dad on the Republican line. Let's revisit his comments from yesterday's post;

"We can't have the Republicans take this seat again," he added. "A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket."

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Frank Powers and others rack up $14 million billion in lost revenue

Frank Powers free EZPass is costing you;

As straphangers face the possibility of higher fares and tolls, the MTA's freebie E-ZPasses are costing the authority $14 million in lost revenues a year.

In March alone, cars and other vehicles with a free E-ZPass made nearly 300,000 trips via Metropolitan Transportation Authority bridges and tunnels - amounting to approximately $1.2 million in uncollected tolls, MTA records show. Many of the trips were made by city employees, including on-duty police officers and firefighters.

The MTA is planning fare and toll hikes in 2010, but they could be put on the table for next year because of budget gaps. Given the MTA's shortfall, fare hikes could come around next year - and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said the city should pony up some dough.

Remember as a board member of the MTA Frank Powers has given himself a free E-ZPass that you ultimately pay for in fare and toll costs and increases.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Meet the Candidates

Candidate speculation is retired for now. The new post is meet the candidates since the third parties couldn't let the big two have all the frantic fun.

update: The endorsements listed below are just of the county party endorsements. While there are many other endorsements by clubs and organizations with Harrison having most of them, they have been covered previously and this is just to get a picture of the potential primaries for each party. Since I am adding this update I might also mention that Susan Overeem won the Libertarian endorsement.

Steve Harrison
Mike McMahon, endorsed by Richmond and Brooklyn County Party

Frank Powers, endorsed by Richmond and Brooklyn County Party
Ramshad Wyne

no endorsement yet

Carmine Morano, endorsed

Working Families Party:
Mike McMahon, endorsed

Fran Powers (the son)
Susan Overeem

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Nobody wants Frank Powers

Not even his son;

An already topsy-turvy political year grew even more so yesterday when Francis M. Powers, the son of GOP designee Francis H. Powers, said he would seek the Libertarian Party line to run for Congress.

some more fun choice quotes from son about dad's candidacy;

"I know his policies. I'm running against someone I know."

"We can't have the Republicans take this seat again," he added. "A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket." [emphasis mine]

Fran Powers will need to gather 3,000 signatures to gain ballot access which may be the only thing keeping us from a very entertaining race on that side of the spectrum.

via the DCCC;

"The Bush-McCain Republican agenda is so unpopular that Republican candidates for Congress can't even rely on their own family members for support any more."

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Democratic Primary Debates?

As Ahmed covered Steve Harrison has asked Mike McMahon for a series of five debates for the district to get a better understanding of the two candidates and how they stand on the issues. This is a great move on Steve's part as it is widely accepted that he easily beat Fossella in most if not all of the debates in 2006. I am not very familiar with Mike's speaking so I would be curious to see these happen. On Mike's side though I have to imagine delaying them would be to his advantage as they both are currently still gathering ballot signatures and neither is guaranteed a spot in the primary without those. Also I have to imagine that Steve runs more progressive than Mike on several issues which could play to a Democratic audience frustrated with a conservative administration in DC. You can already see that playing out in Mike's recent remarks. via the Advance

"We look forward to scheduling debates with all the candidates," said McMahon campaign spokesman Patrick Brennan. "Right now, Councilman McMahon is focused on adopting a city budget that addresses the needs of his constituents and all New Yorkers."

Once candidates file their nominating petitions, Brennan said, "We will meet with the various campaigns and put in place a debate plan."

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A Leap of Faith

(Guest post by Ahmed Kokon)

Back in 2006, Steve Harrison went up against Fossella, was outspent 13:1, received little backing from any big organizations or Democrats, and received a record amount of votes - all in seven months of campaigning.

Some people make the argument that isn't enough, 43% was bad for a year such as 2006. But you just can't compare NY-13 to the rest of the country. We have the only Republican representative in all of NYC so obviously we're a different constituency. You can't just generalize and expect trends that occur in other parts of the country to occur here.

43%. That includes the 42% of votes Harrison received from Staten Island and 49% from Brooklyn.

Now it's 2008 and Harrison, who spoke loudly of Fossella's lack of ethics, is running for Congress again. He knows, just like any other person in the know will tell you, that if you're a Democrat running for this seat, you can't just run once if you want to win.

49% of Brooklyn in 2006. Now, McMahon is in the race. He hasn't proven that he can receive a single vote outside of the North Shore. The only reason he knows Brooklyn is because he brought Councilman Recchia from over there when Recchia was good enough to run for Congress (pre-Fossella).

Can you even guess how much of Brooklyn Harrison will take now? Especially since McMahon is in support of the war in Iraq?

42% of Staten Island in 2006. McMahon flip flopped on Congestion Pricing, eventually voting for it. Steve Harrison, and most Staten Islanders, were against Congestion Pricing.

McMahon stated that we should have a "leap of faith" when it comes to the MTA.

This is the same MTA that told us we wouldn't have to pay tolls for the Verrazzano Bridge.

Trust the MTA?

Are you kidding?

When it comes to our district, we don't trust politicians on a "leap of faith." Show us what you will do for us and show us how you will do it.

Steve Harrison showed us he can win, despite all the challenges he faced. Let's stay united behind Steve Harrison because now, with Vito Fossella finally gone, we can put a Democrat with democratic principles and values in Washington D.C.

Healthcare for all, ending the war in Iraq, and finally..truly..representing the good people of our district...your neighbors, your family, your coworkers.

We can do this together.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Harrison challenges McMahon to 5 debates

(Guest post by Ahmed Kokon)

From the Staten Island Advance:

Democratic congressional hopeful Stephen Harrison yesterday challenged his party-primary opponent, City Councilman Michael McMahon, to a series of five debates.

Harrison said he wants to begin debating "as soon as possible," with three debates on Staten Island and two on the Brooklyn side of the congressional district.

If you remember the debates from 2006, this is definitely something to get excited about.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

McMahon: Still supports U.S. action in Iraq?

(Guest post by Ahmed Kokon)

"He appeals to us on his opposition to gay marriage, and he told us he continues to support U.S. action in Iraq."
Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Vote for Robert

I am putting my computer away and taking some time off from blogging for a few days.

Frank Powers doesn't pay tolls and is responsible for the dysfunctional MTA.
How is your express bus service?
How much do you pay in bridge tolls?
Is your subway station as up to date as you want?
Frank Powers is your guy if none of that matters to you.

Robert wouldn't vote for Frank Powers either.

Domenic Recchia finally drops out

from his "campaign";

As Democrats, we have an incredible opportunity before us, to turn a red seat blue and bring true change and real leadership to the residents in Staten Island and Brooklyn. That will not happen if we are not united as a party.

Therefore, I am withdrawing my bid for the 13th Congressional district, and will support our party's nominee, Mike McMahon.

Thank you to all of the people who believed in me, worked for me and fought for me over the last year - especially those who encouraged me to stay in the race despite the altered political landscape.

Most of all, I would like to thank the voters of the congressional district, who welcomed me with open arms and believed in my message.

I have not made any decisions about my political future and have no further comment at this time.

To say his was a frustrating campaign to try to follow and support would be an understatement. I am still trying to understand what he was hoping to do but have to imagine he expected to have the field cleared for him and lost interest when it was not. I hold no ill-will towards him and his future but like DeBlasio in 2006 I think his flirtation with the race only caused problems. The question now is how he works towards helping the Democratic nominee win this seat. That will be quite telling towards how much he actually cared about the district.


Republicans dislike of Powers might mean a primary

Dr. Jamshad Wyne (R), GOP Finance Chair in Staten Island has entered the race;

The Todt Hill resident, who has gone back and forth on the race over the last two weeks, announced yesterday he would challenge Frank Powers, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member and retired Wall Street executive, for the GOP congressional nod.

The Finance Chair for the GOP Party in the Staten Island, the party that just endorsed Frank Powers, is now running against Powers. Looks like Wyne is filled with enthusiasm for his party's chances.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Republicans "filled with enthisiasm"

May 21

John Friscia, chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party, said in a brief written statement that the party was beginning the process of interviewing potential candidates. “We are filled with enthusiasm at the number of qualified persons that have expressed interest in becoming part of the Republican team this November,” he said.

June 2
Hard Times for the G.O.P.

The Republicans’ recruiting difficulties could spell trouble. Although the district — which is close to Ground Zero, and was much affected by Sept. 11 — went for Mr. Bush in 2004, in 2000 it went for Al Gore by 8 points. Without a strong Republican candidate, and with the bad taste left over from Mr. Fossella’s missteps, the seat might well flip blue.

The Republicans have already suffered a series of defeats in special elections in traditionally Republican districts over the last few months, capped by their recent loss of a heavily Republican seat in Mississippi.

The 13th District is a seat the Republicans should not have had to worry terribly about holding. The fact that they are very worried — or should be — is another sign of the serious erosion of the Republican brand.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Please vote for Robert

Robert Harding is a blogger over at our great state blog The Albany Project. He is finishing his undergraduate degree while jumping head first into New York politics and doing some amazing blogging. Robert is currently is a competition for a Netroots Nation Scholarship offered by Democracy For America. Netroots Nation and DFA are two of my favorite organizations and I hope you will take a second to help send Robert to Austin this summer to attend.

Vote for Robert

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The Republican Bench

via the Advance;

The borough GOP has been accused of becoming too reliant on Fossella in recent years at the expense of developing a strong enough bench.

"Talk about dysfunctional?" said another. "This is dysfunctional."


Republicans don't support their own nominee

From the GOP Finance Chair;

But Dr. Jamshad Wyne, who interviewed with the party last night even though he'd said he was pulling out of the race last weekend, objected to the Powers pick.

He left the convention before the final vote was taken, saying he would support McMahon in the race.

"I like Frank Powers," he said. "But I think Mike is a better candidate. We should be willing to cross party lines to support the best candidate."

Dr. Wyne said he did not know how his support of McMahon would affect his position as borough GOP finance chair.

"I'm still a GOP party member," he said.

From the Brooklyn GOP Chairman;

Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton is not at all pleased by the 11th-hour entry into the 13th CD race by MTA board member Frank Powers and his subsequent endorsement by the Staten Island Republican Party.


The Democrats' pick, Councilman Mike McMahon, is "formidable," Eaton said, and he's not sure about Powers because the two have never met. That is part of the problem.
"I'm getting a lot of calls from district leaders who are very, very upset," Eaton said. "I'm upset and digusted. Until yesterday at 3 p.m., I had never heard (of Powers).

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