Thursday, August 28, 2008

Republicans Eat Themselves Alive In Staten Island

With all the focus on the Democratic Convention this week and the Republicans' main event next week, not much attention is being paid to the local races. However, that does not mean that things are all quiet in the Congressional primary races. Things are especially brutish in what was once thought a Republican-leaning district, that of NY-13 that encompasses Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn. Vito Fossella is on his way out and the local GOP has had to fill the gap. Unfortunately for them, the situation has become hellish.

From Staten Island Advance:

In a verbal barrage worthy of the hardcore political battle the Republican congressional primary has turned into, Bob Straniere accused Jim Wyne of trying to hide his Pakistani and Muslim heritage by "changing his name," while Wyne said Straniere wanted him to make an "illegal" campaign contribution when Straniere ran for Staten Island borough president in 2001.

Wyne -- who uses the name Dr. Jamshad Wyne professionally -- said Straniere asked him to take $5,000 of his personal cash and disburse it to relatives who would, in turn, write checks in the amounts of $250 or $200 to Straniere for Borough President, thereby maximizing the amount of matching funds Straniere could receive from the city Campaign Finance Board.

That would be illegal, and as the Advance notes, people have gone to jail for such schemes before. Crookedness and corruption is nothing new to New York and especially the GOP, though of course it can be a bipartisan practice to be fair. However, talk like this is exclusively a "conservative" affair:

Meanwhile, during an interview yesterday, Straniere said Wyne has been using the name "Jim" on the campaign trail because "he is trying to remake himself into something other than who is. He obviously doesn't want people to know he is Pakistani and a Muslim."

Way to play the race card Straniere, you must do the GOP party proud....oh wait, no, Straniere doesn't even do that. Straniere and GOP Borough President James Molinaro have gone head to head before and the two have, shall we say, less than warm feelings for each other. However this primary plays out, it is the Dems that have the advantage here.