Key House race on Staten Island

October 27, 2010 2:18:29 PM PDT
This is one of those districts that could swing Republican next week.

It's also an example where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his political weight to moderate, middle-of-the-road candidates regardless to which party they belong.

Bloomberg praised Democrat Rep. Mike McMahon as an independent voice in congress.

But his Republican opponent calls that description baloney. He points to McMahon's days before Congress, representing Staten Island on the city council, voting with the mayor on congestion pricing and with the mayor on raising property taxes by 18 and a-half percent.

"He voted for the two most unpopular votes the CIty Council ever had and he brings that to Washington. Instead of Bloomberg, he follows Nancy Pelosi. He's always followed the leadership. He's anything but independent. Ninety-three percent of the time, he voted with Nancy Pelosi," Republican Michael Grimm said.

But McMahon did vote against the healthcare bill against his party and against the president.

"When you have to make a tough decision in the legislature and take a vote there is politically expedient way to do it. You take the vote and live the consequence and that's what I've done," Rep. Mike McMahon said.

At one diner, McMahon's vote on the healthcare bill is troubling to some Democrats. Still, they support him.

"I know he voted against it and I'm not sure why, but he didn't lose my vote with that," Eric Diez said.

Grimm claimed the mayor's endorsement hurts his opponent. He says the mayor is out-of-touch and, as evidence, he points to the so-called mosque at ground zero.

"The mayor is dead wrong on this issue," Grimm said.

"This is not about a mosque," Mayor Bloomberg said. "This is about the First Amendment. This is about people on Staten Island having the ability to pray anyplace they want. Anywhere they want."

If you put the ground zero controversy aside, the mayor's endorsement probably helps McMahon. Still, Staten Island remains the city's most Republican borough. To many voters, Bloomberg's backing just doesn't mean that much.

. "I am a registered Republican and I will probably vote on the Republican ticket," Angela Adamiszyn said.

The latest analysis by the New York Times has the 13th District, which covers Staten Island and a tiny bit of Brooklyn, as leaning toward the Democratic Party and as a seat Democrats will probably keep November 2nd.

But it's close and in many races across the country independent voters lately are moving toward the Republican Party with just six days to go.