Steve Harrison (candidate)
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A parochial school product, Harrison graduated from Marist College and Brooklyn Law School. Harrison worked at the Manhattan Law firm of Esterman & Esterman after law school before starting his private practice in 1986. He is married to the former Alice McKeon. They have two children, New York City teacher Michelle and Jeff, a sales representative.
Prior to running for Congress, Harrison was best known for being Brooklyn Community Board 10's chair from 2000-2003 and running for City Council in a 2003 special election. He also founded the SIBRO(Staten Island Brooklyn) Civic Association with Staten Island educator Mark Zink. SIBRO is charged with tackling problems people living in Staten Island and Brooklyn suffer together.
Harrison was the 2006 Democratic candidate for the 13th congressional district, losing to Republican incumbent Vito Fossella 55,981-42,739. The district includes all of the borough of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.
Steve Harrison achieved the highest percentage of the vote (43.3) of any Democratic candidate under the district's current configuration, which was constructed in the early 90s. He accomplished this despite being out raised $1,700,000-$130,000. Fossella actually spent 1.9 million, going $200,000 in debt.
Harrison, who was endorsed by the New York Times and Esquire Magazine, received New York and national media attention including being featured frequently in the New York Times and the New York Daily News and other local print media, New York Television News, MSNBC and Air America Radio.
As a campaign tactic, Harrison ran the New York City Marathon, which begins in Staten Island, with the race's first few miles being run in the Brooklyn portion of the district. Harrison's marathon running resulted in additional publicity for the candidate with media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Runners' World covering his running the marathon while running for office. Harrison finished the race in 4:47.38.
Harrison announced in 2007 that he would challenge Fossella again in 2008. Part of the reason why Harrison raised so little money in 2006 was the DCCC's lack of interest in the race. Harrison competed in a primary against Staten Island City Councilman Michael McMahon. Harrison touted an endorsement from the Progressive Democrats of America, while McMahon received the endorsements of twelve New York-area representatives as well as both US Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton) from NY and, unusually, of Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DCCC, a group that does not typically take sides in a primary. Van Hollen has defended the endorsement, citing a "special circumstance," and has stated that McMahon would not receive financial support from the DCCC until after the primary.
On September 9, 2008, McMahon defeated Harrison 75% - 25%.
- Congressional Race on Staten Island May Be a Rematch - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog
- The Hill's Blog Briefing Room » NYC Dems, DCCC Back McMahon in Primary For Rep. Fossella's Seat
- McMahon Endorsed by DCCC
- Landslides for McMahon, Straniere