Staten Island’s Republican Party has finally settled on a candidate — and it’s the guy from Brooklyn!
One day after the county party organization was snubbed in its effort to draft disgraced former Rep. Vito Fossella to face Rep. Mike McMahon (D–Bay Ridge), party members nominated Bay Ridgite Michael Allegretti to be the standardbearer.
Allegretti — who is battling Michael Grimm for the right to take on McMahon — had previously been endorsed by the Kings County Republican Party. As such, he thinks he’s on a roll.
“There was an overwhelming outpouring of support for me from [Staten Island] Republican grass roots advocates last week,” he said. “It comes from over a year of working door-to-door, conversation-to-conversation.”
Perhaps, but Staten Island Republicans had few options. Grimm interviewed with party leaders but declined to appear at the county nominating convention on Thursday night, calling it “a sham convention that already has its ‘marching orders’ for a pre-determined outcome.”
He vowed instead to take his candidacy “directly to the Republican voters in a Republican primary.”
Jonathan Judge, the president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, believes that the Staten Island GOP move may “split the right-of-center” vote, given that the Staten Island Conservative Party has backed McMahon while its counterpart in Brooklyn has endorsed Grimm.
“It could give McMahon a pass to get re-elected in a year when he’s certainly most vulnerable to getting knocked out,” Judge said. “That’s disconcerting.”
Typically, he said, the Republican and Conservative parties try to unite around one candidate.
That would have been a lot easier had Fossella accepted the Staten Island Republican bid to draft him to run for his old seat, which he abandoned after a drunk-driving arrest in 2008 led to revelations that this family values politico valued families so much that he had two of them — one in Staten Island and another secret mistress and lovechild in Virginia.
That bombshell paved the way for McMahon, who is enjoying solid approval ratings — and building a hefty warchest — in advance of his first re-election bid.
But McMahon is still no shoo-in, despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by a margin of three to two. The Bay Ridge-Staten Island district is friendly territory for the GOP. In 2008, Republican John McCain took it from future president Barack Obama, 52-48 percent.
But McMahon has a clear fund-raising advantage. By the end of the first quarter of 2010, he had raised $1,490,302, compared to $497,321 by Grimm and $415,302 by Allegretti.
The primary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2.