Thursday, July 17, 2014

Can Peter King Be Defeated? Yes, As Soon As Pelosi Fires Steve Israel


Long Island's 2 crooked congressmen

When Peter King's congressional district was last redrawn in 2010, it went from a north-south district-- from the Atlantic to the Long Island sound, right across Nassau County-- to an east-west district-- from Lake Ronkonkomo and Sayville, across Islip, Deer Park and Babylon to Levittown, mostly in Suffolk County. And, more important, from a D+2 district where Bush only managed to get 44% of the vote in 2000 to an R+1 district that gave McCain 48% and Romney 47%. The object was to make it safer for incumbent Republican Peter King. But that isn't all King has working for him in terms of incumbent protection. His neighbor to the north-- formerly to the east-- Steve Israel, is the chairman of the DCCC. And he has very conspicuously not targeted King. He didn't target him last cycle, when Obama won the district against Romney, 140,817 (52%) to 128,791 (47%) and he isn't targeting it this year-- one of the GOP lucky-duckies in blue-leaning districts that Israel has given a free pass. The others are Fred Upton (MI-06), Dave Reichert (WA-08), David Jolly (FL-13), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Reid Ribble (WI-08), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Patrick Meehan (PA-07), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Richard Hanna (NY-22), Michael Turner (OH-10) and, as always, Paul Ryan (WI-01). This frees up millions of dollars in DCCC resources for Israel to waste on ridiculous Blue Dogs and New Dems in deep red districts where Democrats have no chance whatsoever, like in Arkansas (R+15 and R+14) and West Virginia (R+14 and R+11).

Last cycle Nassau and Suffolk Democrats nominated Vivianne Falcone, a teacher, to run against King. As head of the DCCC, Israel moved rapidly to bury the nomination and guarantee King that he would have no trouble from the Democratic Party. He was able to destroy her fundraising and she faced King's $1,812,860 with a mere $11,679. Even with Israel's tacit support of King, Falcone drew 92,060 votes-- and did especially well in Suffolk County, the heart of the district.

This cycle the candidate Israel is urging Democrats to ignore is Patricia Maher, a progressive campaigning on Social Security expansion, for replacing "free trade" with fair trade, and for raising the minimum wage. She is a pro-labor Democrat and is currently standing with Long Island Rail Road union workers in their fight to get a new contract after four years without one. She's been attacking King for his anti-senior voting record, his excessive and clownish New Hampshire visits, his vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and his stance against clean energy.

I suspect that if Maher could tie Israel up and leave him in a cave until November 5, she could cobble together a coalition of Democrats and libertarians and win the seat. (Tying Israel up in a cave 'til November 5 could also result in a net gain of House seats for Democrats instead of the net loss Israel's "strategy" is leading to.) As much as Israel plays kissy-kissy with King, Long Island libertarians really hate him, especially now that he's declared himself the foremost enemy of Rand Paul, something David Freedlander covered for the Daily Beast this week. All the worst of the neocons-- lunatics like John Bolton, Rick Perry and John McCain who said he would be undecided if the 2016 election came down to Paul and Hillary Clinton-- are trying to undermine Paul's attempt to win the Republican nomination. King said he's thinking of running for president just to keep Paul as far away from the presidency as possible.
"The reason I am a Republican is that I believe in a strong national defense," King told the Daily Beast. "He goes against my core beliefs, and it just strikes a hostile chord. It is the 'blame America' attitude we see from what we used to call 'San Francisco Democrats'-- but coming from someone who is supposed to be a leader of our party. He sounds like he could be George McGovern’s running mate."
And King sounds like he could be Richard Nixon's running mate. Or Dick Cheney's. Or Steve Israel's.

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At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Israel verbally espouses the same views on vital policies as Patricia Maher. His tepid attitude should be replaced by a fervent effort to win this race for the Democrats. Let's go Nancy! sc


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