New York: Straniere Squired Around Washington

Posted July 23, 2008 at 6:32pm

Former state Assemblyman Robert Straniere, the leading Republican candidate in the race to replace departing Rep. Vito Fossella (R), was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday meeting with officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee and GOP Members of the Empire State House delegation.

Straniere was tapped recently by Staten Island Republican leaders to run for the 13th district seat, which Fossella was forced to abandon after becoming embroiled in a series of personal scandals. Local GOP leaders tried to convince several other Republicans to run, but reluctantly turned to Straniere, who was defeated for re-election in a GOP primary some years back after party bosses became disenchanted with him.

But despite the frosty relations between Straniere and the Staten Island GOP, Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) served as his chaperone on Capitol Hill. Straniere was assistant Minority Leader of the state Assembly in the mid-1990s when Reynolds served as Minority Leader.

“I appreciate the willingness of Congressman Reynolds, who is one of the most brilliant political strategists in the country, to assist in the efforts we have initiated to organize an experienced campaign team,” Straniere told the Staten Island Advance.

With the GOP’s inability to find a top-flight candidate, the 13th district — the last seat in New York City held by a Republican — is a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. New York City Councilman Michael McMahon is the likely Democratic nominee.

Brooks Begins Radio Ads in 21st District

Tracey Brooks, one of three leading Democrats in the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D), began airing two 15-second radio spots this week targeting women voters.

The ads, called “77 Cents” and “Gavel,” emphasize Brooks’ commitment to protecting abortion rights and fighting for equal pay for women.

Brooks, a former top aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), is battling with former state Assemblyman Paul Tonko and Albany County Legislator Phil Steck, among others, in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary. The primary winner is almost certain to head to Congress in the heavily Democratic Albany-area district.

The Albany Times Union reported Wednesday that Steck just dropped a slick mailer on Democratic voters in the town of Colonie, his political base in Albany County. The mailer features endorsements from a local state assemblyman and town leaders.

Long-Shot Against McCarthy Goes On Air

Mineola Mayor Jack Martins (R), who is waging an uphill battle against six-term Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), is on the air with two versions of a 30-second TV spot running on cable stations throughout the Long Island district.

According to the New York Daily News, the ad features local elected officials — including the new state Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos (R) — talking about the need for change. The ad, produced by Whelan Media Strategies, a New York firm, finishes with Martins talking to the camera.

“You can’t change Washington until you change who you send to Washington,” he says. “In just three years, I changed Mineoloa from a financial failure to a Long Island success story. Carolyn McCarthy has spent the last 12 years in Congress. She hasn’t changed the system, she’s become the system.”

McCarthy remains heavily favored in the Democratic-leaning district. She finished June with $657,000 in her campaign account. But in his first quarter of fundraising, Martins raised $211,000 — including a $50,000 loan — and banked $191,000.