Lally ran twice - unsuccessfully - against former congressman Gary Ackerman. His best shot was in 1994, when there was a wave of Republican fervor following the election of Bill Clinton.
He is now taking on Democratic incumbent Steve Israel. Israel is a tough opponent not only because of his incumbent status, but he is also the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The DCCC is the money arm within the party for Democratic congressional campaigns.
Is the 3rd District winnable? Candidates from either party can win in the 3rd District because there are so many independent voters. Lally would have to convince the independents that he is a better choice, and that means letting go of the playbook that most GOP candidates use.
The people in Nassau and Suffolk counties may have an opinion about Obamacare, but they are really concerned with how hard it is to live on Long Island. For example, their hildren have a hard time staying on Long Island when they start their own families.
What would help Grant Lally in challenging an opponent like Steve Israel is unprecedented state party support – not something the GOP readily hands out. The National Republican Congressional Committee (the counterpart to the DCCC) may steer dollars to Lally’s campaign as well.
There are not many winnable GOP seats left in New York State, and there may be one less after this election. For Lally to win, he needs to tap into that generation of voters who want to live there and cannot because the cost of living has gotten too high.
Even if the issues are not national issues, the important thing to remember is that all politics is local. People who live on Long Island are concerned with Long Island. The state Republican Party has to realize that its delegation in Congress is wobbly and a seat such as this should matter to them.
Joan Rivers and NYC
Modernity has caused us to easier separate all things that came before as insignificant. Entertainers are all podcast and streamed and…whatever comes next. Comedian Joan Rivers (who at the time of this is still in a medically induced coma) is not only a pioneering entertainer because she broke through the talk show host ceiling. She also brought New York to the national stage in her comedy.
Her unabashed New York accent meant something to us when she was hosting “The Tonight Show.” You either like crass comedy or you do not, but Rivers’ body of work is not just something that can be dismissed as “before our time.” It was not before our time, it was – if anything – slightly ahead of its own time in the 1970s and 1980s.
I know of Joan Rivers mainly through my mother being such a big fan over the years. Rivers was close to her daughter, worked like crazy all her life, and had a sense of humor about the challenges in her life.
I never really equated Rivers to my mother until I read the news last Thursday that she was hospitalized. There is something very real about how Rivers went about her career and life; there was a work ethic that gets shadowed by her “say anything” persona, but that might be her true legacy.
And this Labor Day weekend, while most of us were relaxing, it may just be that Rivers was again working the hardest.