Today is Primary day in New York

September 9, 2008 5:06:44 AM PDT
Democrats must settle some internal fights in Tuesday's primary before trying to extend a years long trend of taking over long-held Republican territory in New York state and shriveling the GOP's clout.

    P At the top of the list of closely watched primaries is the one in Staten Island, where Republican Vito Fossella chose to retire rather than face more questions about an extramarital affair and a drunk driving arrest in suburban Washington.

    In that contest, Steve Harrison is battling City Councilman Michael McMahon to be the Democrats' pick, while former state Assemblyman Bob Straniere is competing against Dr. Jamshad Wyne on the Republican side.

    "This district is very much middle class, made up of working families, and I think that the issues that concern the middle class across this country, such as the price of energy and fuel and the cost of food and the overall cost of living, I think that's really one of the strongest concerns that people have," said McMahon.

    Democrats would love to win that seat, making all of New York City's congressional seats Democratic. Statewide, Democrats represent 23 of 29 congressional districts.

    Elsewhere: - Brooklyn's 10th district is home to a battle between 13-term incumbent Edolphus Towns and challenger Kevin Powell, a writer and activist best known for being a cast member on the inaugural season of MTV's "Real World" television show. The victor is virtually assured of winning the seat in November.

    - In Albany's reliably Democratic 21st district, former state Assemblyman Paul Tonko and former Hillary Rodham Clinton staffer Tracey Brooks were the front-runners in a field of five to succeed retiring Democrat Michael McNulty.

    Brooks has asked a judge to impound the voting machines and ballots after polls close, in case the results are very close.

    - In western New York's 26th district, Iraq war veteran Jon Powers and millionaire Jack Davis were vying on the Democratic line to take over the seat being vacated by GOP power broker Tom Reynolds. A third candidate, lawyer Alice Kryzan, has gotten less attention in the district that runs from the Buffalo suburbs to the outskirts of Rochester. Whoever wins will face Republican Christopher Lee in the fall.