Any Democratic Presidential nominee can typically count on banking 29 electoral votes from the Big Apple, but that is not the case for congressional races — especially in Staten Island.
Staten Island has always been viewed as the black sheep in the liberal City polls. In fact, in 2008, John Mccain won 52 percent of the popular vote in Staten Island, while he merely earned 12 percent of the Bronx. But according to the polls, and a stream of NY Times articles, the GOP may be endanger of losing the ultra-conservative 11th District to a political novice. Despite the fact that the 11th district has only sent one Democrat to Congress in 30 years (former City Councilman Mike McMahon, who lost handedly to current incumbent Michael Grimm in 2010 after serving just one one-year term), the GOP incumbent faces a legitimate threat in Mark Murphy following NY Times’ coverage of Grimm’s checkered past. As Democrats battle to reclaim the House, a win against one of the more vulnerable GOP congressman can bring them one seat closer to 218.
Grimm is viewed as a straightforward Marine Veteran with a strong business background. However, from partnering-up for a business venture with an F.B.I. agent who was indicted for racketeering, to accepting a-half-million-dollars in donations from a man who allegedly embezzled illegal donations from Israeli immigrants and congregants of a mystic Orthodox synagogue outside of the contested district, Grimm has supposedly engaged in the sort of unethical behavior that makes OWS bang their buckets one decibel louder.
On the contrary, Democrat challenger Murphy had a slower start out of the gate than Zenyatta. According to a Sienna College poll from late September, nearly half of Murphy’s district, including 46 percent of likely democratic voters, either did not about him or formed an opinion. He also raised a meager $260,000 in comparison to Grimm’s $1.3 million in campaign funds at the start of July. The Left’s slow reaction to get behind Murphy may prove to be costly. With 81 Congressional seats up for grabs, and 24 being deemed as toss up elections, a win in the City’s conservative capital would make quite the impression.
Unfortunately for Democrats, the roaring Hurricane Sandy may have strained their chances of recapturing the 11th district. Both campaigns have downgraded their reelection night parties and heavy campaigning for more subdued gatherings. The devastation left by Hurricane Sandy also caused two voting precincts to be closed-down. One of the sites at Susan Wagner High School is considered to lean more Left than the majority of the Island. Add all of those factors to the conventional wisdom that Democrats usually take the harder blow from low voter turnout, and Grimm can rest a bit easier. Somehow, in our digital age of tweets and blogs, making it out to a physical voting precinct is still an impediment.
PolicyMic will be providing live coverage of the NY results, including the 11th District race. For real-time updates, see here.