Republicans Say 'Incompetent' Democrats Are Blowing It In A Key House District

Wikimedia CommonsNew York’s 11th Congressional District.

Republicans are pouncing after Democrats failed to land their top pick to run in a high-profile New congressional special election in New York.

In a sarcastic statement emailed Monday, a spokesman for the House Republicans’ campaign arm thanked his Democratic counterparts at the DCCC for being “incompetent as ever” in their recruiting.

“The NRCC is so grateful that …. the folks at the DCCC have chosen to put their incompetence on full display in New York’s 11th Congressional district,” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said. (The statement was accompanied by an image of the DCCC’s chair, Rep. Ben Ray Luj├ín (D-New Mexico), with the text “SAME OLD FAILURES.”)

State Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D) announced Sunday that he will not for to run for the seat, which was vacated this month after Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Local Democratic Party sources previously told Business Insider that Cusick was their preferred candidate to take on the Republican nominee, District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Donovan will not be easy to beat even though he is at the center of a national controversy. Intense protests rocked the city in December after a grand jury dismissed charges against the white police officer who was videotaped placing an unarmed African-American man, Eric Garner, in an apparent chokehold shortly before his death. Activists criticised Donovan’s failure to obtain an indictment. However, a recent poll showed Staten Island voters think the grand jury made the right decision.

That same poll, which was conducted by the DCCC and published last week by Capital New York, also gave Donovan an overwhelming lead over Cusick despite the competitive nature of the district. In his statement, Prior questioned why the Democrats sent the unfavorable poll results out. He also mocked former City Councilman Domenic Recchia, the last Democratic candidate in the district, who was widely criticised for running a poor campaign.

“Whether it’s leaking a disastrous poll or failing to land its two top choices to run for Congress, we are certainly thankful and looking forward to watching another D-level Democrat flail away in embarrassment in a district Democrats need to win just to be able to sniff the majority in 2016,” he quipped.

Reached for comment, DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin told Business Insider that Republicans should remember Grimm’s party affiliation.

“The NRCC left something out of their timeline — that Michael Grimm was their candidate and a former member of the their leadership who got a felony conviction to create this open seat in the first place,” he said.

Schwerin also conceded that Donovan is a favourite in the special election, but said Democrats were planning on taking the seat back in the next regularly scheduled contest.

“We’ve always said that this district is very challenging for Democrats in a special election, but it is going to be competitive in November of 2016,” he continued.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has yet to schedule the special election. Other potential Democratic candidates include former Rep. Michael McMahon (D-New York). The district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

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