Nobody should assume that whoever wins a special election will automatically be a national figure as was Anthony Weiner. Weiner was in that seat for six terms and he sort of inherited part of Schumer’s legacy as a congressman and artful press conference maestro. But now that seat is open, and at a time when there is no shortage of talent in the district.
There are a few ways that this can play out. For one, Councilman Eric Ulrich can make a run. No stranger to special elections, Ulrich is popular in his district, and he survives well in a City Council that is overwhelmingly Democratic. Right of center in his politics, Ulrich has proved that he can raise enough money be a visible candidate in a congressional district that stretches into Brooklyn.
Ulrich also benefits from the fact that, with dwindling Republican representation in New York, he can hire virtually any GOP staff he wants. Republican staffers with political experience are low-hanging fruit at this point. If Ulrich runs and wins, that would, in turn, leave his seat open for a special election.
For those of you that might be too young to remember, Joseph Addabbo, Sr. was a storied and powerful congressman from this area. Addabbo even gets mentioned in the exhaustive political tome “The Power Game,” written by former New York Times scribe Hedrick Smith. It’s a great book, but it also explains how influential the senior Addabbo was in Congress.
I would be surprised if his son, current State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. was not interested in the seat. Where Weiner was more of a Democratic Party favorite and loyalist to left-of-center policies, Addabbo would be able to tap into that “union Democrat” portion of the party that exists further north in the district. My guess would be that Addabbo would most likely be more locally focused in Congress, whereas Weiner was very involved with the national agenda.
The New York State Democrats are most likely begging Addabbo not to leave his already vulnerable State enate seat open for a special election. Should there be a special election in the 15th Senatorial District, Anthony Como,who served a brief stint in the City Council, could be a powerful candidate. Como lost his seat to Liz Crowley, and then lost to Addabbo for the State Senate. But the New York Democrats might be tired of slugging it out in this district, and if it is left open, Como – a great fundraiser – would be considered even money to win that seat. (I’m not good at gambling lingo.)
Now that I think of it, I live in the ninth congressional district. Hmmm...
A Little Respect
I never like to write about the easy fluff, the gossipy nonsense that splashes on front pages and is juicy to those who rarely follow politics. I was only given one directive when I took over this column three years ago, and that was to not be boring. I know I have reneged on that promise, but public policy matters more to me that people’s personal lives. And how can anyone think that biofuels are boring? Former Congressman Anthony Weiner took bold stances in politics, and I did not always agree with him, but the heckling at his resignation press conference was uncalled for and it was disrespectful.