Steve Harrison (Democrat for NY-13): Flashback to 2006
This last week, Steve Harrison made his long anticipated anouncement (reported first on Daily Gotham as far as I am aware) that he would run for Congress against Bush Lap Dog, Vito Fosella in the NY-13 Congressional district. Make no mistake. This is big because in 2006 Harrison entered the race late and ran an almost strictly grassroots, shoestring campaiagn and by November was breathing down Fosella's sweaty neck.
This time Harrison is anouncing early and already fundraising. And this time, the DCCC is watching with a real eye towards getting involved. Vito Fossella, part of the Cheney/Bush Axis of Corruption, is scared.
To welcome Steve into the race, I want to repost what I wrote in 2006 after first meeting Steve Harrison at a New Democratic Majority meeting in Brooklyn. And let me be the first one to extend a new invitation to him to come by our meetings again this year...anytime!
The following was originally posted in 2006:
Last night I finally got to meet Steve Harrison at the Brooklyn meeting of New Democratic Majority. Steve Harrison is running for Congress against the extremely corrupt buddy of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, Vito Fossella...
Steve Harrison was one of the most relaxed candidates I have met. He came in, gave everyone the obligatory handshake, and then proceeded to sit down with us, have a glass of wine, and converse with us. He wasn't giving a speech, he was simply talking with us. He felt comfortable and we felt comfortable.
Steve Harrison gave us a run down of the district. The Brooklyn side, which has been almost completely neglected by Fossella, was easily won by Barbaro two years ago. Harrison lives in that part of the district and has served on their community board with considerable distinction. Harrison will do well there.
The Staten Island part of the district is divided in half: North Shore is Democratic and South Shore is Republican. North Shore again was an easy win for Barbaro 2 years ago and Harrison has no trouble connecting with voters in that part of the district.
South Shore is territory where Democrats have feared to go. In many ways, Democratic candidates cede this territory to the Republicans and try to rely on the other to segments. This fails. This is why Fossella wins. Steve Harrison was not afraid to brave the dreaded South Shore!
Which is why he may yet win. He went down into the heart of Republican territory and the voters LIKED him. He described burly, blue-collar Republicans who eyed him suspiciously at first, but were supporters by the end. He asked some why they never supported Democrats and they replied, "Because they never come down here and talk to us."
Steve Harrison went down there and talked to them and they responded. That is what wins elections. Visits by Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, like Fossella gets, don't win elections. Meeting the voters does. And Steve Harrison bonded with the Republican side of Staten Island at least as well as he bonded with the Democratic parts of the district.
This is why he may yet win.
The other thing that will play out big time in NY-13 is Fossella's corruption. Remember, corruption is what brought down Republican icons Tom DeLay, Randy Cunningham and Bob Ney. All of these were untouchable...until their corruption came out. Well, the Daily News ran a whole series of articles exposing Vito Fossella's misuse of funds. I have covered a little of this in the past. But the Daily News really exposed him for the corrupt SOB he is and that will chip away at his standing in the district just as it chipped away at Tom DeLay and Randy Cunningham. An elderly Italian woman Steve Harrison spoke to told him that she had been a die-hard Republican all her life but she will never support Fossella again because of the Daily News revelations. She felt betrayed by Fossella's corruption and will now have nothing to do with him.
Then there is Social Security. Fossella has been an advocate of Bush's "privatization" of Social Security. He was a STRONG advocate of it. Until polls showed 70% of the district disagreed with him. Then he flip-flopped and opposed it. But then he flip-flopped again and said privatization was still on the table. Which is it, Vito? Are you for Bush and Cheney's privatization of Social Security or are you against it the way your district is? You can't have it both ways. Steve Harrison is solidly opposed to the Bush-Cheney-Fossella plan to privatize Social Security and that will play well in the district.
Put those three things together. A candidate who can connect with BOTH Democratic and Republican votes, Fossella's blatant corruption, and Fossella's flip-flopping on Social Security: added up that will, by November, make this a competitive race.
That was 2006, when Steve was recruited at late and the DCCC was sleeping. Now it's 2007 and Steve, the marathon runner, already has his running shoes on and the DCCC is already paying attention. Be afraid, Vito. The Harrison Express is coming fast.
For all who want to help Steve (and other Democratic challegers in NY State) visit my Act Blue page.