Harrison Defends Liberal Cred

Last night’s online town hall with underdog Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Harrison was a mixed bag. Some participants asked, literally, how they could help. Others challenged Harrison’s core argument for running–that he’s the progressive Democrat challenging the conservative, party-backed Democratic Councilman Mike McMahon.

At one point, a reader challenged Harrison to explain donations he made to Republican candidates, part of why progressives question his credentials. (The 13th Congressional district leans conservative and is currently represented by the last Republican congressman in the city, Vito Fossella.)

His response:

“Between May and October 2002, I attended one fundraiser for each of Vito Fossella, John Faso for Comptroller and the Conservative Party because I was attempting to build multi-party support for my anticipated, non-partisan City Council Special Election race in February 2003.

“Conversely, I have given thousands of dollar to Democrats, before, during and after that time.

“Mr. McMahon has given thousands of dollars to the Conservative party over the past 8 years, and has run with their endorsement. In the current election, he sought their endorsement.”

Asked for a response, McMahon’s campaign didn’t deny a connection to the Conservative Party, but called the remarks hypocritical and “negative.”

McMahon’s new director of communications, Erin Monju, said, “Steve Harrison continues his relentlessly negative campaign because he has no record of his own to run on and no hope of winning this seat for the Democratic party. His hypocrisy is striking since Harrison has routinely supported Republican candidates in the past such as Marty Golden and John Faso, and of course contributed to the Conservative party.”

During the town hall, Harrison said, “I have never attacked Mike McMahon at any time. Oddly, I think Mike McMahon is attacking me by claiming I am attacking him."

The whole exchange is available online. Harrison Defends Liberal Cred