One of the surprises of the election was the victory in New York's 3rd Congressional District of Democrat Robert Mrazek over Rep. John LeBoutillier, a conservative Republican whose outspokenness made him a congressional bad boy.
It also, apparently, cost him the election.
Mrazek, the minority leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, said in a telephone interview he was still "awestruck" by his win. He attributed it to the reapportionment of the district, which supplanted a blue-collar Democratic section of Queens with "overwhelming Republican territory in Suffolk County." Mrazek, who is 36, and considered, according to The New York Times, the "classy" candidate, was well known and popular in Suffolk, and the Republicans in the new district were offended by LeBoutillier.
"Most Republican members of Congress here look the same and sound the same," said Mrazek. "They're all blow dried and polyestered, they come out of that Republican hamburger college where they're taught to be reassuring and inoffensive. In a district like this one, I couldn't win against a Republican like that . . . but John LeBoutillier is the antithesis of that kind of person . . . he told the House leadership exactly what he thought of them in a series of personal attacks which, while they certainly won him national attention, sowed the seeds of his own defeat . . . . LeBoutillier was counterproductive and had personally offended the leadership of both sides of the house."
Mrazek won by a ratio of 53 to 45, with the Right To Life candidate getting the remaining two points. He pushed through a government ethics code in Suffolk County and is backed by environmental and pro-choice groups. Married, with a one-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, he said he "wanted to be in government from the time I was a kid."
He characterizes himself as a moderate Democrat . . . . "I'm a liberal on most social issues and believe the future economic health is tied to getting the private sector moving again rather than a phalanx of public spending."