Staten Island Democratic congressman Michael McMahon is finding that no matter how hard he tacks to the right, he’s still not safe from a conservative challenge. Rudolph Giuliani is coming to City Hall for the first time in years to endorse his Republican challenger Michael Grimm (pictured).
One possible reason: Grimm has employed several Giuliani associates in his campaign. But Giuliani also might want to get in on that Tea Party thing that’s allegedly sweeping the nation, or at least the conservative movement.
McMahon is as blue a dog as city Dems get; After being endorsed over a progressive primary candidate by the local elite, and over the Republican candidate by the borough’s Republican Beep, in the special election he went on to win in 2008, McMahon endorsed Bloomberg for Mayor last year. Crain’s calls him “the most conservative member of the city’s congressional delegation and a reliable defender of Wall Street.”
Despite this, and his constituent service, McMahon has run afoul of the Tea Party conservatives. After a brief dalliance with a contender from a local heating-oil family, Republicans are now lining up behind Marine and former FBI agent Michael Grimm, who compares himself with Massachusetts’ Scott Brown and talks down the “Pelosi liberal regime.”
Grimm favors a moratorium on the capital gains tax, extending the Bush tax cuts, lowering corporate taxes, getting rid of “liberal Democrats in Washington” and “their spending spree,” opposes civilian trials for terrorists, etc. His Facebook page is festooned with pictures of President Obama as Che Guevara, a Russian dictator, etc.
Former Staten Island Beep Guy Molinari has endorsed Grimm as “Rudy II,” and now Rudy I is making a highly public appearance on his behalf. Get out your pitchforks! Even old-time conservatives are getting with the New Order.
Update: Evan Stavisky, spokesperson for the McMahon campaign, responds to the Giuliani endorsement: While “the fact that a former-Republican official is supporting a Republican candidate is not a big surprise to Congressman McMahon,” he says, “it’s amusing that Rudy Giuliani would pick the day that the police commissioner he endorsed to be Director of Homeland Security gets sentenced to four years in prison to endorse a new candidate.”
Stavisky cites McMahon’s devotion to “the district’s centrist values” and says that the Congressman has “delivered more on the issues that matter to Staten Islanders and Brooklynites,” including “much needed federal funds to our hospitals and clinics and creating an emergency terrorism task force at Fort Hamilton to protect our City. These are the issues the voters will remember come November.”