Will voter reaction to the U.S. government shutdown impact on Election 2013?
Democrats are lambasting Congressional Republicans for it. Representative Tim Bishop, a Southampton Democrat, last week blasted his GOP colleagues for being “deeply reckless.” National polls show citizen outrage towards the GOP regarding the shutdown.
It’s an off-year election; no federal or state posts are up. Still, might some voters take their frustration out on local Republican candidates?
In back of the shutdown - and being especially blamed for it - are members of the House of Representative who are supporters of the Tea Party movement. Thus GOP candidates identified as Tea Party supporters might be especially vulnerable.
In New York City, the campaign organization of Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate for mayor, has set up a website titled “Goldwater * Tea Party * Giuliani * Lhota.” It links de Blasio’s Republican opponent, Joseph Lhota, to the Tea Party as well as the late conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona and the conservative former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for whom Lhota was a top deputy. The website quoted Lhota as backing the Tea Party. Also, di Blasio charged his Republican rival, Joseph Lhota, as now having “amnesia” about his “support” for the Tea Party.
That came after Lhota tried to distance himself last week from the House GOPers who because of their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, known, too, as Obamacare, blocked passage of a federal budget.
“The hang-up on Obamacare in this particularly case is wrong,” said Lhota. “Using it as leverage is wrong. Shutting down the government, in this case, is wrong.” He called those GOPers in the House doing this as “flat-out wrong.” Lhota further said: “I think they’re extremists and they’re moving the party in a direction that I think is wrong...There is a role for government in this world. They...basically don’t believe there should be government.”
In neighboring Nassau County on Long Island, the Democratic candidate for county executive this year, Tom Suozzi, is also linking his Republican rival, Ed Mangano, to the Tea Party.
“Ed Mangano, on the eve of the Tea Party shutdown of the federal government, continues to proudly proclaim that he’s a conservative Tea Party Republican,” charged Suozzi in a statement last week. It declared that Mangano “supports the conservative agenda in Washington, and he must be held accountable.”
`The Suozzii statement also criticized Mangano for not supporting the proposal of Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a Mineola Democrat, to toughen background checks for gun buyers, and Democratic New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act banning the sale of high-capacity magazines for guns.
Brian Nevin, a spokesperson for Mangano, the incumbent county executive, countered that “Suozzi should focus more on his high tax-and-spend policies than his position on a matter that the county has no jurisdiction over.”
Meanwhile, an October 1st article in the New York Times reported that Mangano, in an interview, “said he welcomed Tea Party support” and “declined to distance himself from its positions on abortion, immigration and gun control.” The piece was headlined “Rematch for Nassau County Executive Could Be Bellwether of National Trend,
In Suffolk County, Republican leaders have been bullish about the GOP making inroads on the Suffolk County Legislature, the county’s governing body. Democrats now hold 11 seats on the 18-member legislature and Republicans five. The two remaining are held by Jay Schneiderman of Montauk who switched his enrollment from Republican to the Independence Party in 2008 and has been running, too, on the Democratic line, and Kate Browning of Shirley, a Working Families Party member who also runs on the Democratic ticket.
Among incumbents the GOP is making a heavy push to unseat is Schneiderman. a former East Hampton Town supervisor. The Republican candidate is Chris Nuzzi of Westhampton Beach, a term-limited Southampton Town board member very close to Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle. When LaValle was Brookhaven Town supervisor, Nuzzi was his deputy chief of staff. The district includes Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island towns. Another race that GOP consider very competitive is in Huntington Town where freshman Democrat William Spencer of Centerport, a pediatric surgeonthe first doctor to be a member of the legislatureis being challenged by Robert Conte. Conte’s brother, James, was a 24-year veteran of the State Assembly who died last year. He resided in Huntington Station. The Huntington GOP leader, Toni Tepe, says Robert Conte, also of Huntington Station, has a “good shot particularly because of the family history.”
Will this GOP hopefulness be dashed by voters upset by GOP behavior in Congress?
A major GOP figure in the shutdown, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, rejects the possibility thatas CNN’s Candy Crowley askedhis actions have "hurt the Republican Party brand.” In the CNN interview Sunday, Cruz responded: “Not remotely.”