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

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

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.


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