Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch is poised to deliver what I believe is his second congressional endorsement in this general election cycle, announcing his support of Democrat Mark Murphy, who is trying to oust freshman GOP Rep. Michael Grimm in NY-11.


In a statement released by Murphy’s campaign, Koch said he has gotten to know the candidate in recent years and has been impressed by his “commitment to Democratic values, his political pragmatism, and his understanding of the issues affecting middle class families today.”

“There is a strong feeling across the city and country that the middle class is under attack,” Koch continued.

“The policies in the Ryan-Grimm budget are hostile to Medicare and Medicaid and other safety net provisions which protect the middle class and the poor. Of course the wealthy – millionaires and billionaires – are protected.”

“We need members of Congress who will fight for the middle class and those in need of a helping hand. Mark Murphy will fight back in Congress and be a strong voice for middle class families and others in need who are struggling.”

The “Ryan-Grimm budget” is, of course, a reference to the controversial budget plan proposed by Congressman-turned-vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, on which Grimm twice voted “yes.”

The strategy of linking Republican congressional candidates – both incumbents and challengers alike – to Ryan’s budget plan is one that is being employed by Democrats all across New York and the nation.

Democrats were practically gleeful when Mitt Romney selected the Wisconsin congressman as his runningmate – especially here in New York where his proposals, particularly when it comes to overhauling Medicare, played a key role in Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul’s upset special election victory in a GOP-dominated WNY district last spring.

Koch, who spent several days in the hospital being treated for anemia, said he will hit the campaign trail on Murphy’s behalf “in the days ahead”, but didn’t provide any specific dates or events he plans to attend. He also said he will “get other Democratic leaders involved in this campaign.”

The NY-11 fight isn’t in the top tier of competitive House races in New York, but it is nevertheless worth keeping an eye on. The race does have sleeper potential, thanks to the FBI probe of Grimm’s fundraising and recent arrest of his bundler, Ofer Biton.

In August, the DCCC added Murphy to its list of “Red to Blue” candidates, which highlights the race in hopes of drawing donors from around the nation. Murphy’s campaign touted an internal poll this past summer that showed his opponent with a double-digit lead, but under the magic 50 percent mark.

NY-11 includes all of Staten Island and a piece of Brooklyn. It’s Democrat-dominated, but has an unusually high number of Republicans for a NYC district and also trends fairly conservative. Koch appeals to a certain brand of conservative Democrat – particularly Jewish voters.

(In case you were wondering, the other House candidate who has been endorsed by Koch this year is Grace Meng. He backed the Queens assemblywoman after she won the June 26 primary in the newly drawn Brooklyn/Queens NY-6).