McMahon shun! Newbie swipes Ridge House seat back for GOP

McMahon shun! Newbie swipes Ridge House seat back for GOP
Photo by Tom Callan

Freshman Rep. Mike McMahon drowned in a Republican tsunami as newcomer GOP challenger Michael Grimm trounced him by a 51.5 to 48 percent vote, early returns show.

Grimm, a Marine vet and former FBI agent, had waged a campaign that tapped into voter anger over rising deficits in general and President Obama’s health care reform bill — ironically one of the president’s signature initiatives that McMahon did not support.

In his victory speech late Tuesday night, Grimm continued the rhetoric.

“The first thing I’m going to do is fire Nancy Pelosi,” he said, referring to the Speaker of the House, a California Democrat. “We’re going to take Capitol Hill and fire her.”

Grimm also addressed President Obama in his speech, saying he wanted the president to know, “This is our country and we want it back.”

In separate comments to reporters, Grimm said that his first agenda item after electing a Republican Speaker is to seek the repeal of the health care reform law.

“If we can’t repeal it,” he said, “we’ll defund it.”

For his part, a dour McMahon told his supporters that he was caught in “changing national tides.”

“I wish the outcome was different, but this is what the voters of Brooklyn and Staten Island want — and I respect that.”

He declined to say what his next move would be.

Tuesday’s vote marked the end of a political roller coaster ride where McMahon had to fend off not only Grimm, but the growing nationwide disatisfaction with the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Through most of the election, Grimm rattled his Marine Corps saber, accusing McMahon of being a “tax-and-spend liberal” who’s voted with Pelosi “93 percent of the time.”

McMahon, who had a large spending advantage over Grimm, usually appeared cool under pressure, falling back on what he called his “centrist” voting record that’s differed from Pelosi’s on several pivotal pieces of legislation, including the health care bill. McMahon also said he would push to extend the Bush-administration tax cuts for the wealthy until the economy properly rebounds.

At the same time, he would take swipes at Grimm, describing him as a failed business owner who was too conservative for the mostly Democratic Bay Ridge-Staten Island district.

That district, however, had been solidly in the Repubilcan column until McMahon’s predecessor, Vito Fossella, was arrested for drunk driving and subsequent reports surfaced that he had a secret second family in Virginia.

In a related election defeat for the Democrats, Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer (D–Bay Ridge) lost her seat to GOP newcomer Nicole Malliotakis, a former lobbyist for Con Ed. The Republican got 60 percent of the vote.

“This victory proves that the people in this community are tired of the reckless spending and one-party rule,” she said at her victory party on Staten Island.

Manwhile, at the Stars & Stripes Democratic Club in Dyker Heights, McMahon accepted the sympathy of a supporter.
Community Newspaper Group / Thomas Tracy