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Thursday, December 15, 2005

NY-03: DCCC Poll Shows King Vulnerable, But Still No Challenger

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Steve Singiser, here's this Newsday story on a poll commissioned by the DCCC and Suffolk County Legislator David Bishop. Incumbent Republican Peter King leads Bishop 55-37, but apparently, those numbers flip-flop after respondents were asked "a series of questions linking King to Bush."

I'm not going to hang my hat on the results of a one-sided "message-testing" poll. But it does confirm something a lot of us have suspected for a long time: Peter King survives only on his phony "moderate" image, and Long Island voters would be more than happy to turn him out of office if only they knew how much of a Bush shill he is. I think a strong, well-funded challenger could make those charges stick. Add to that a) a strong Democratic election year and b) some killer Dem candidates at the top of the NY ballot and you've got a real chance to unseat King.

Right now, there's apparently a squabble between Bishop and the DCCC. But my ideal candidate for the race is Tom Suozzi. He's the best-known Dem on the island who isn't already in Congress. He's got money (or at least access to it) and an organization. Considering that a new Quinnipiac poll just yesterday put him down 69-11 in a Dem primary against Spitzer, this would seem to be the smart move for him.

Posted at 12:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Technorati

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I'm almost from NY-03, as it slashes right through the middle of my town. Very conveniently, the only part of my town that belongs to NY-03 is the rich, upper-class part of town on the Great South Bay; my home is on the other side of town, the one that sends Steve Israel (D) to Congress.

Bishop and Israel actually squared off against each other when the NY-02 seat became available (it had previously belonged to Rick Lazio) and Israel defeated Bishop in the primary.

That said, I think Bishop would be the only candidate capable of knocking off King in that district. Suozzi has ambitions that far outstrip a lowly congressional seat, and there would also be a level of cognitive dissonance; Suozzi is Nassau County Executive, and a large part of NY-03 runs through Suffolk County (including my town). King has the good fortune of living in the one part of Long Island that hasn't yet gone totally blue, and while there is a crop of up-and-coming Dems that might be ready to challenge King in 2008 (Jimmy Dahroug being first and foremost), Bishop is the one established Democrat with a realistic shot at taking out King. Pressing the Bush connection - and trying to spackle over King's vote against Clinton's impeachment - is the only way to take out King.

Posted by: robitude [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 02:58 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree that Suozzi is too ambitious for a House seat, but what about this possibility? Gov-to-be Spitzer promises Suozzi that should a certain junior senator from New York become elected president in 2008, he's on the short, short list to replace her.

And if HC either doesn't run in 2008, or runs and loses, I don't especially see her being inclined to run for a third senate term in 2012. Three short terms in the House and Suozzi would be a top-tier candidate to fill that seat in `12.

I also did not realize that Bishop ran against Israel in the 2000 primary. Looks like it was a pretty close match - Israel won 45-41, but with very few total votes cast. Is there any bad blood between the two? Bishop managed to snare three third-party ballot lines, which could have proved damaging to Israel in the general. (Fortunately, Israel won handily.)

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 04:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David, one thing about your comment that intrigues me. If HC doesn't run for president in 2008, why wouldn't she want to stay in the senate? I would have thought that deciding not to do one meant deciding to do the other. It is possible to want to be a senator for it's own sake, right? Wondering if you "know" something here.

Posted by: nobodyforpresident [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 06:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't know anything - just speculation. But for whatever reason, I'm just not certain I see Clinton wanting to be a three-term senator. I mean, there's no question she could if she wanted to. But this is 2005. Hillary is 58 years old. If she runs for a third term in 2012, she'd be over 70 years old by the end (2018).

I could therefore see her choosing not to seek re-election in 2012 if she doesn't run in 2008, or runs and loses.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 07:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

But your answer is still framed in the context of running for president.

Maybe she'd stay in the senate because she had a guaranteed job there until she died? Whereas a run for the presidency is a gamble?

Maybe she'd run for senate in 2012 because she intended to run every 6 years until armageddon. That's what most senators do!

Posted by: nobodyforpresident [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 08:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

In regards to the Israel-Bishop primary, it was messy, but no more than usual. Bishop ran a campaign that skewed considerably negative than did Israel's, and considering how close the primary was, it could be argued that Bishop's negative campaigning at the time was a major factor in Israel taking the nomination.

That said, such a strategy might work well against King, as alluded to in the Newsday article. King is a loose cannon, and has taken a lot of flak in the local press not just for fawning over President Bush, but also for sending out shockingly nasty letters to his constituents. Newsday did this story on June 30th of this year on this subject, in which King browbeats people who constituents who disagree with him.

Consider this highlight from the article:

'"I understand that you recently contacted my office requesting that I vote to censure President Bush," King, a Republican from Seaford, recently wrote Bellmore resident Harry Halikias. "I disagree with you in every respect. You are morally, intellectually and politically wrong. President Bush is an outstanding leader of outstanding integrity. Like Ed Koch, I thank God every night that he is our president. You should do the same."'

Amen. As an added bonus, Bishop is more solidly to the left than Israel, who remains enshrined on Atrios' List of Losers for voting, during the course of a single week, to both accept that murderous bankruptcy bill and to abolish the estate tax. That Bishop would be an improvement over King doesn't need reiteration.

Posted by: robitude [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2005 09:54 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I completley agree that Suozzi should run for the seat (been posting it all over the net myself the last few months)

King did get a nice GOP polished district after re-districting. Redistricting added the GOP stronghold of the Levittown area, and also the wealthy areas along the south shore iN Western Suffolk County. When the third district cut into the south shore of western sufolk it tended to skip over the minority portions of mixed communities. Take a look how the third district cuts off portions of Amityvile (mainly North Amityville with a high black population) & cuts off northern portions of Copaigue & Bayshore (both areas with high hispanic populations) while added the southern sections of these communities which are mostly white & affluent. Also the area that Israel's district cuts into Nassau Count, while being affluent (Syosset, Woodbury, parts of Jericho) it has a high jewish population which votes overwelmingly Democratic. While re-districting did also make the 2nd district more Democratic, the shift really doesn't benefit the Dems because even without the redistricting due to political & Demographic shifts on LI the 2nd district is solidly Dem & very safe for Israel.

Bishop if well funded I think could give King a serious run for his $$, especially if they are succesful with tying King into Bush. The days of King being an Independent minded Republican are over & he has become more conservative & a hard party line GOP voter in a district despite favorable GOP redistricting has become more liberal. Syeve Bellone (Babylon Town Supervisor) I think would also give King a run for his $$. However, no question about it Suozzi would be the strongest candidate for the seat. I'm a big fan of Suozzi (voted for him this year & would have back in 01 if I wasn't at college at the time). Suozzi is well known across the district (even the 20% of the district that lies in Suffolk knows who Suozzi is) from what I understand has a large amount of cash on hand & has raised lots of $$ & will get a bunch of national support if he runs (because he would make the district very competitive). His biggest problem is his own aarogance. He wants to be Govenor, but basically has no chance of winning the primary though he seems to feel he can (part of that can be attributed to knocking off Thomas DiNapoli in the 2001 Primary for County Exec when noone expected him to & all the party insiders went with DiNapoli in the Primary. Bush did win the district last year, but that in part ghad to do with the 9/11 bump he receuved area wide, a bump which Katrina's aftermath took away from him. Gore won the district by over 13 in 2000 (though it was 8.5 or 9 under the current lines).

In my mind if Suozzi wants the seat its his, he has the name regonition, he has the popularity as evident in his slaughter of Peterson, he has the cash to run, would most likely have the National Dem support if he ran, the district as turned HARD against Bush, despite re-districting has become more liberal at a time King has become more conservtaive & more of a party line Gop'er who has become very close to the Bush administration, and King seems to lose his patience & attack his consituents who don't view him as "King" and don't think Bush is the second coming of Jesus. Only problem is Suozzi seems to fixated on the near impossible task of knocking off Spitzer in the Primary for Govenor to run for a Congressional seat that would basically be his for the taking if he ran. And the other candidates who could really make this a race don't seem like they will run either at this point. I fear we will have another Blaire Mathies, who though I liked & voted for last year doesn't have remotley the name recognition to win or make it close.

Posted by: Smash255 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 17, 2005 01:52 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well its not Suozzi, but a new possible candidate has emerged. Out of the 14th LD in Nassau County (which is my LD) 35 year old Dave Mejias is seriously considering a run against King & was urged to run by Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer, and Reps Israel (Ny-02) and Ackerman (NY-05)

Potential King challenger emerges


December 18, 2005

WASHINGTON - With national Democrats buoyed by a recent internal poll hinting veteran Rep. Peter King is potentially vulnerable to a challenge, Nassau Legis. David Mejias traveled to Capitol Hill Friday for a meeting with top lawmakers eager for him to run.

Mejias, 35, who last month won a second term in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1, said yesterday that he hasn't decided for sure whether to mix it up with the seven-term Seaford Republican.

"Right now, I'm considering it very seriously," said Mejias, of North Massapequa. He said he was urged to run by Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) and Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer.

Mejias said he expects to make a decision "within the next four to six weeks" after weighing various factors, most notably his ability to raise the $1 million to $2 million he needs for a credible challenge.

In Washington, Mejias said, he met with Ackerman, Israel, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who is helping manage House races, and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "They were very . . . excited about the race," Mejias said.

Congressional Democrats have been buzzing after a survey of King's South Shore district showed him susceptible to a campaign that would link him to his strong support of President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq, which the poll concluded are highly unpopular.

Initial attention focused on Suffolk Legis. David Bishop (D-West Babylon), who the poll showed at first being trounced by King. But the results reversed after King's support of Bush and the war were highlighted.

However, Bishop bowed out after national Democrats wouldn't commit to make the race a top priority and some New York Democratic lawmakers balked at backing a race against King. But that now appears to have changed.

"If he decides to run for Congress, it's clear that he has a lot of fans in New York and Washington who would heavily support him," Jennifer Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said of Mejias.

Jack Pratt, Israel's chief of staff, said the congressman is also willing to help Mejias, including fund-raising.

King said yesterday he never thought he'd go unchallenged. "Someone has to run," he said.


Posted by: Smash255 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2005 03:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mejias would definitely be a great candidate given his past performance squeaking by in his legislative district, despite being HEAVILY targetted by the GOP in both 2004 and 2006. And he's definitely a fighter-- despite his perennially being on shaky ground and being slammed for it heavily by the GOP, he has continually been one of Suozzi's fiercest backers in the Nassau County legislature (moreso than a couple of other, ambitious Dems from much less difficult districts).

The only pitfall to his candidacy, of course, would be that his critical legislative seat might end up as a net loss, which would mean Dems would need to defeat an incumbent GOPer in order to preserve control of the Nassau legislature (its been a 10-9 squeaker ever since they unexpectedly gained control in 1999).

Posted by: sip1983 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2005 05:19 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mejias did win in an open seat in 2003, so a Dem winning an open seat can happen in the district. Not to mention the Long Island Democratic shift which helps the Dems. Also the Dems can knock off an incumbent. Despite some problems for the Dems in Long Beach, it is still a Democratic stronghold and Denise Ford will always have a fight on her hand there, and Ciotti's LD in the Elmont area has seen a sharp Democratic shift, so picking a seat off their isn't out of the question (out of the 19 LD's on LI only three were close, mejias district was the only Dem incumbent that was close, the other two were GOP district's in Dem areas (Ford & Ciotti's seats)

Posted by: Smash255 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2005 05:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment