NY-1 and NY-4: With So Much Drama in the GOP…

This is my first time really paying attention to NY politics, so maybe this is the way it’s usually done and I’m simply naïve to think otherwise. But there were two recent articles about two Long Island congressional races that I feel illustrate why so many people my age don’t waste their time in politics.

Just to put it out there, I’m all in for Randy Altschuler (NY-1) and Frank Scaturro (NY-4), the two candidates the articles happen to favor. I’ve blogged aboot their races here and here. I’m also pro-primary…when there are differences to debate, and when the voters than get to make their choice.

We start in the NY-1, where the establishment’s interference may or may not have affected our Gubernatorial and Senate races as well. Kim Strassel from the Wall Street Journal goes into more detail, but a snippet…

[Altschuler] has been campaigning for more than a year on fiscal conservatism and pro-growth policies. The party banked him with strong fund raising and the endorsements of everyone from House GOP Whip Eric Cantor to local officials. He did face some competitors, including George Demos, a former SEC attorney, and Gary Berntsen, a former CIA official. New York has both Republican Party and Conservative Party ballot lines. In the usual course of things, Messrs. Altschuler, Demos and Berntsen would have engaged in a bottom-up competition for the committee votes and endorsements of the parties. One candidate would usually scoop both by spring, leaving him largely free to focus on Mr. Bishop.

Enter new state GOP party chairman Ed Cox—or rather, his son. Chris Cox, a lawyer, is a long-time resident of Manhattan. In January, however, he changed his voting address to his uncle’s house in the Hamptons and announced for NY 1. The airdrop of the party boss’s son caused an uproar.

Mr. Altschuler in May thumped Mr. Cox for the Conservative Party nomination, yet Mr. Cox keeps pursuing the Republican Party line. The Suffolk County GOP, under Ed Cox’s watchful eye, initially considered anointing his son. But grass-roots pushback has instead resulted in an open Sept. 14 primary for the Republican slot. At this rate, both Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Cox could be on the fall ballot. Mr. Bishop could be returning to Washington.

That brings us to the NY-4, where they seemed to be looking for anyone BUT Frank Scaturro. Michael Barone has the full story on this, but in a nutshell…

To Scaturro’s surprise, another Republican entered the race in mid-June, Francis X. Becker Jr., who was promptly endorsed by longtime Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello. Becker is the grandson of a former district Congressman, Frank J. Becker, who was elected from 1952 to 1962 and did not run for reelection in 1964, when a Democrat won the seat in the LBJ landslide. Mondello has run a patronage machine in Nassau County government which gave the county some of the nation’s highest tax rates—so high that Democrat Thomas Suozzi beat his candidates for county executive in 2001 and 2005 on a lower-spending platform…

To me it looks like Mondello decided some time in late spring that Carolyn McCarthy might get beaten and that he didn’t want the winner to be someone like Scaturro who didn’t owe him anything. Whether Becker would be a weaker candidate than Scaturro is unclear, but his late entry suggests he wasn’t strongly motivated to run. Would big government Chairman Mondello rather lose the election than have an anti-big government Republican win? Kinda looks like that.

I don’t think it would shock anyone to say that statewide, the NY GOP needs some serious rebuilding. That’s why I find it inexplicable that in a year where the party is looking to make some serious gains in the Northeast, and where NY had the most seats that had the potential to flip, we’d want to make it easier for the Democrats to hold on to two of them.

But maybe that’s where my naiveté comes in.


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