Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is The DCCC Letting Peter King Off The Hook Without A Fight Again?


Last May there was such a big hubbub when progressive activist Christine Pellegrino won a red legislative district right in the heart of Peter King's Long Island congressional district (Massapequa, West Babylon, Babylon Village, West Islip and West Bay Shore). Romney had beaten Obama in that Assembly district and last year Trump eviscerated Hillary with a 23 point margin there. But Pellegrino, a full-fledged Berniecrat, beat conservative sociopath and Trumpist Tom Gargiulo 5,590 (57.89%) to 4,049 (41.93%). She ran on an unadulterated progressive platform-- none of the Republican-lite bullshit the DCCC tells all of its candidates to run on. And her victory was said to bode well for the Democrats to finally oust Peter King in 2018. So... as 2018 approaches, people are starting to wonder... what happened with that?

NY-02, which covers much of southern Long Island and includes chunks of both Nassau and Suffolk counties, went from a PVI of R+1 in 2015 to R+3 this year, but it is still very swingy and appears ready to swing back-- for the right candidate. Obama won the district both times he ran, but last year the voters gave Trump a stunning 53.0 to 43.9 win over Hillary. At the same time, Peter King was reelected 171,915 (62.4%) to 103,643 (37.6%) for DuWayne Gregory, the head of the Suffolk County legislature. DuWayne spent $372,792 to King's $1,307,660 and the DCCC refused to get involved in the race. This year, after his experience with the DCCC, Gregory-- easily the best shot the Democrats have for replacing King, seems more than reluctant to jump in again.

Instead, we have 3 candidates who know one in the district knows or cares about. Tim Gomes doesn't know if he wants to be a Democrat or Republican and keeps switching his party registration back and forth. This year he's trying the Democrat label. He doesn't have any policy positions on his website, usually a good indication of a bad candidate. And he loaned his campaign $1 million in the first quarter. (He's raised another $39,750 from real people since then.) Mike Sax seems to want to pass himself off as the progressive-- "the Randy Bryce of Long Island" without understanding anything about who Randy Bryce is-- but everyone I asked in the district (where I used to live) sees him as a nice guy who's a little looney. Liuba Grechen Shirley behaves like she's entitled to be congresswoman. But she just moved back to the district to run for Congress after living in New York City for 15 years. Everything I've read about her indicates a candidate reeking of inauthenticity, the opposite of what voters are looking for. No one knows any of them and they will have to work hard in the communities that make on NY-02 to give King a real race. I don't think Peter King could have picked a better contingent of candidates to guarantee his own reelection if he had selected each of them himself.

I'm also hearing that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone might jump into the race. I don't know about that. He aspires to be governor and I don't think he sees a congressional seat as helpful towards achieving that ambition. He'd at least be a plausible candidate. I bet if Ben Ray Lujan or Pelosi called DuWayne Gregory and apologized for screwing him last time and promised not to do it again, he'd run again. I didn't ask him because those two would rather lose NY-02 again-- and forever-- than ever do anything like that. It's how their "leadership" works and explains why King will be in Congress in 2019 even if there is a mammoth anti-Trump tsunami next year.

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