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Archive for the tag 'congress'


Congressman Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia filed their latest fundraising totals earlier this week, with the incumbent just barely edging out his opponent in available cash.

Grimm’s April filing shows that he raised $345,000 over the last filing period, giving him just under $1.2 million to spend.

Recchia, meanwhile, posted $206,000 in cash raised, bringing his total to approximately $1.07 million.

Grimm’s filing, however, also showed that he’s carrying more than $450,000 in debt, largely due to legal expenses connected to the investigation into his 2010 fundraising. While the congressman hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, several close associates have been questioned or arrested, and prosecutors appear to be gunning for the incumbent.

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Colton and Salgado (Source: Salgado via Twitter)

Assemblyman Bill Colton claims he’s staying out of the congressional race in the 11th District, currently occupied by Michael Grimm, until the candidates up their game and talk about “substantive issues.”

Here’s the statement he issued this morning:

“As a local Assemblyman and voter in the 11th Congressional District of New York, I am still waiting for a substantive discussion between the announced candidates on the needs and the future of the district. Thus far, voters, including me, have had to deal with distractions ranging from bar activities, reporter intimidation, the Brooklyn residence of the former Councilman, talk of packing punches and sizing up opponents, the neutrality of a local Assemblyman, and a back and forth on who did more during Sandy. What I, and many other voters, am waiting for is a substantive plan, with a track record to support it, to involve federal agencies to help stop the building of a dangerous garbage station in Southwest Brooklyn, cut bureaucratic red tape to get Sandy recovery dollars to reach impacted families and communities, to see federal dollars be used to address our antiquated infrastructure, to use federal aid to expand healthcare services in the outer-boroughs, and to see federal officials take aggressive stands against senseless school co-locations that will harm our children. Those are the issues I am closely following and care about. My endorsement is something I take serious because it bears my name on a person or an idea I strongly believe in and am informed about. I refuse to be influenced by party affiliation alone or the power of incumbency when making such an important decision. The voters expect and deserve more. The voters of the district have not been given a fair opportunity to be informed on the platforms of these candidates to help address the pressing issues of our day. Ultimately, voters who may have lost their homes due to Sandy could care less about the neutrality of an Assemblyman, but rather care more about a plan to help them rebuild their homes, communities, and lives. This race is not about the candidates running and not about my position on them. Public service is about serving families, addressing their needs, and caring for their future. Until we hear more about that and less about pettiness, I will continue to reserve my endorsement in this race.”

It sure has been a less-than-virtuous campaign so far. The two presumptive nominees, Grimm and Democrat Domenic Recchia, have focused more on slugging each other in the character arena – or just straight-up making an ass out of themselves – than having a discussion about the issues.

But is Colton really steering clear of the fray? His response comes on the heels of – and, likely, in response to – reports over the past few days that he’s been helping former mayoral candidate and Staten Island-based Evangelical pastor Erick Salgado mount a primary campaign that would pit him against Recchia, with whom Colton has an ongoing feud with.

Salgado even tweeted out a photo of himself with Colton, thanking the local pol for his help setting up an exploratory committee.

As for Salgado, it’s not exactly like he doesn’t know how to word a nice character attack himself. Here’s what he told Politicker last week about his potential campaign against Grimm:

“All I can tell you is that with Erick Salgado, you’re not going to have a pretty face in Washington, but you’re going to have someone who looks out for the needs of the people.”

Substantive indeed.

Source: Recchia campaign

Source: Recchia campaign

Former City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Saturday officially announced his bid for the 11th Congressional District, the seat currently occupied by Republican Michael Grimm.

Recchia made the announcement before a crowd of supporters in front of his mother’s Staten Island home, where he and a host of lawmakers backing him took aim squarely at his opponent and the Republican party.

Politicker reports:

“I won’t be going to Washington to carry water for my party. I’ll be caring for the hopes and dreams of the people I’m there to represent–you,” Mr. Recchia told the crowd. “I’ll make you one more promise: I will continue to conduct myself honorably because my mom wouldn’t have it any other way. We all know that Mr. Grimm can be a little pugnacious.”

… “Well, starting now he has to pick on somebody his own size,” Mr. Recchia said.

… Mr. Recchia is looking to ride the demographic and ideological shifts underway in the traditionally Republican borough. While a Republican mayoral candidate won the borough in last year’s general election, President Barack Obama eked out a victory there two years ago. Left-leaning, minority voters are also increasingly populating Staten Island’s north shore, where Democrats like Mr. Recchia have performed well.

Although Grimm’s campaign has been the subject of a federal probe into fundraising improprieties, much of the statements at the weekend rally instead focused on recent headlines depicting Grimm as a short-tempered brute. They zeroed in on his well-publicized comments to a NY1 reporter, who he threatened to throw off a balcony in Washington after the reporter asked about the fundraising allegations. Former Congressman Michael McMahon targeted the allegations that Grimm had a sexual romp with a woman in a Bay Ridge bar.

Congressman Jerry Nadler said at the rally that the district needs a congressman who will be respected by his colleagues and the public.

“Nobody respects Grimm,” he said. “Nobody intelligent can respect Grimm.”

Grimm, meanwhile, had a campaign rally and fundraiser over the weekend, drawing approximately 240 supporters, SILive reports. There, he taunted Democrats for their weak showing in Staten Island, promised a ferocious campaign, and said that the seat would remain staunchly Republican for years to come.

SILive reports:

He predicted an outsized victory in November.

“But we’re not just going to win,” he said. “We’re going to run away with this election. We’re going to let them know this is a contact sport.”

For Democrats who say that the congressional district is in play, Grimm said, “Guess what? The Staten Island/Brooklyn seat is not vulnerable, is not up for grabs. It’s a Republican seat. So go home. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. This one is ours.”

Grimm’s supporters also seemed to derive glee from the congressman’s apparent mistreatment of members of the fourth estate. On threatening physical harm against the NY1 reporter, former Staten Island GOP Chairman Robert Scamardella drew laughs when he mocked the national outcry.

“Oh, the inhumanity of it,” Scamardella said to laughter from the crowd.

It appears Grimm’s Staten Island supporters are not shaken by those headlines either. Both candidates marched in Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, where SILive interviewed attendees.

Staten Island resident Chris Chiafullo told the outlet he would vote for Grimm, and didn’t see the threats being much of a concern in the borough.

“The balcony thing maybe made a difference outside Staten Island, but not here,” he said.

Although Staten Island surely remains the district’s base, the Brooklyn portion has grown in the latest round of redistricting. While the seat before covered Bay Ridge and a sliver of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, it has now swelled to include almost all of Gravesend and a hunk of Sheepshead Bay.


Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

The upcoming race between Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia has already been contentious, and pundits have yet to point to a clear favorite. Politicker is reporting on Recchia’s strategy to unseat Grimm, New York City’s only Republican representative to Washington D.C.

The bad blood between Recchia and Grimm has been brewing since Recchia announced his intention to challenge the two-term congressman for his seat. Most recently, Recchia blasted Grimm over the ongoing government shutdown and his ties to the Tea Party. Speaking to members of the Bay Ridge Democrats, Recchia revealed that his strategy to capture the 11th congressional district relies heavily on drawing votes from Brooklyn.

“We have to win Brooklyn big. We win Brooklyn big, we take the North Shore, we fight Michael Grimm on the Mid-Island and we get all the Italian-Americans on the South Shore. That’s our focus. People laugh but this district has one of the largest number of Italian-Americans than any other congressional district in the country,” Recchia said.

Politicker laid out how shifting demographics Recchia could carry the councilman to victory as well as the roadblocks he’ll have to overcome:

But evolving demographics could buoy Mr. Recchia. Staten Island’s North Shore is home to a growing number of minorities and immigrants who are more likely to vote Democrat. And the conservative and heavily Italian South Shore could be willing to vote for an Italian Democrat, as Mr. Recchia contended.

Working against Mr. Recchia, however, is history. Brooklyn Democrats have traditionally fared poorly in the district.

Grimm dismissed Recchia’s strategy, comparing it to someone playing fantasy football.

“When someone’s strategy is running on their ethnicity, it is pretty obvious they have nothing of substance to offer – even after a decade in the City Council,” a Grimm spokeswoman said. “This is the exact same tactic used by Grimm’s 2010 primary opponent  - also from Brooklyn –  and he lost by almost 40 points. Recchia’s strategy is just like fantasy football – a lot of fun, but it’s not real.”

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Representative Michael Grimm (R), was ripped by Brooklyn and Staten Island Democrats for voting to continue the government shutdown while at the same time making television appearances where he states he is against it. SI Live is reporting that two dozen Staten Island-based Democratic leaders spoke out against Grimm outside the closed Gateway National Recreational Area.

Democrats like State Senator Diane Savino and Councilman Domenic Recchia, who is running against Grimm in the upcoming 2014 election, stepped up their criticism of Grimm with heated rhetoric:

Recchia also said Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) ”has been trying to have it both ways, voting to shut down the government while going on television saying he’s against a shutdown.”

“Enough of the talking points and the television appearances and the games,” said state Sen. Diane Savino, who joined Recchia and two dozen Island Democrats outside the gates of the shuttered-to-the-public Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Wadsworth…

Recchia and Ms. Savino said that if the shutdown continues into next week, it will have a “ripple effect” on local businesses and eateries and the borough’s economy overall.

“He says he doesn’t want a shutdown, so let your actions speak louder than your words,” said Recchia of Grimm. “Instead, he falls in line, behind [Speaker John] Boehner, who delayed the vote on Sandy aid. He’s trying to have it both ways. He is misleading the people of New York and the people of New York are smart.”

Recchia also accused Grimm of voting against a clean CR (continuing resolution) Wednesday night, despite having said previously he would support one — which would have the effect of keeping the government operational for a week or two while the Senate takes up House objections to Obamacare.

In his defense, Grimm laid out his position, in which he cast himself as a member of a splinter Republican effort to end the shutdown. The Daily Kos published part of a press release put out by the congressman:

To be clear, I do not support a government shutdown, no matter what the objective is. While I have consistently stated my opposition to Obamacare, I do not believe that shutting down the government and abandoning vital public services is an acceptable way to address issues of policy. It is unconscionable to do this at the expense of seniors, military service members, and other federal workers and ordinary civilians dependant on the continued functioning of our government. I have heard from many constituents in the past week, and I truly understand the pain that this gridlock is causing across our district and the entire country.

Rest assured that I, like you, know we must end this shutdown immediately. That is why I am one of three Republicans leading the effort to strongly urge my leadership to reach a compromise while garnering support from other pragmatic members to bolster our position and end this shutdown.

As we previously reported, Grimm indeed voted for the initial bill that led to the government shutdown. At the time, Grimm argued to the New York Daily News that he voted for the bill because he was in favor of an amendment that would deny Congressmen better health care than the poorest Americans would receive from Obamacare. Despite Grimm’s words, Democrats were not buying it, arguing that his Tea Party ties would hurt the city:

Meanwhile, Recchia and Ms. Savino said that with non-essential employees at HUD, SBA, FEMA and the Interior Department furloughed, Sandy money not already allocated could be stalled in the pipeline.

They also suggested that if the shutdown continues through this month, it could deal a huge economic blow to the city by putting the New York City Marathon in peril. The marathon was canceled last year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“Send a message to Michael Grimm that we are not fooled by what you are saying on TV,” said Recchia.

Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia

Councilman Domenic Recchia slammed Representative Michael Grimm for siding with Tea Party House members when it came to pursuing legislation that has led to a government shutdown. In a report by the Brooklyn Eagle, Recchia characterized Grimm as being in league with controversial Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other members of the Tea Party movement.

Recchia’s rhetoric towards Grimm’s vote in favor of a bill that would grant government funding measures on the condition that Obamacare be delayed was strong, reflecting the potentially explosive fight the two are expected to have in the upcoming 2014 congressional elections.

“Tonight, in a massive governing failure, Michael Grimm voted in lockstep with Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to shutdown the United States government,” Recchia said, “This de-habilitating action is widely expected to inflict significant harm on the American economy and will delay further action from the federal government for Superstorm Sandy recovery. Grimm took this action despite the fact that thousands of constituents in Staten Island and South Brooklyn continue to struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of the storm that hit almost a year ago.”

As we previously reported, Grimm, who is the only congressional Republican representing New York City, is considered vulnerable by both Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming election. While Grimm rode into office on a wave of Tea Party populism in 2010, he has at times flashed a moderate streak. In February, gun rights activists hammered Grimm for comments he made supporting gun control measures following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. In August, Grimm publicly criticized New York GOP party bosses for inviting Senator Rand Paul to speak at a Republican conference in the city after Paul had bitterly opposed the $60 billion Sandy Aid package on account of his libertarian principles.

The New York Daily News reported that there was hope among moderates that Grimm would join fellow New York Republicans in a rebellion that would end the Tea Party drive to shutdown the government over Obamacare:

When GOP moderates led by Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) launched a small rebellion intended to force the House to accept a “clean” funding bill, Grimm was among several Republicans some colleagues expected to vote with Democrats.

But Grimm’s vote, made in the final seconds of balloting after a huddle with GOP leaders, put him at odds with King and upstate Reps. Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna — though he voted against a subsequent measure delaying part of Obamacare.
In his defense, Grimm reportedly blamed the Senate for the shutdown, expressed hope that the government closure would be short and dismissed the potential negative political consequences of his actions.
“I could care less about the politics of which side has an advantage in 2014. Our entire government has taken a hit,” Grimm said.
Congressman Michael Grimm

Congressman Michael Grimm

Representative Michael Grimm unleashed a tirade against Councilman Domenic Recchia. According to a report in Politicker, Grimm labeled Recchia a “pathetic political hack” in response to accusations that Grimm purposefully refused to back a bill that would end the sequestration on funds allotted to victims of the 9/11 attacks because Grimm had not been invited to a press conference touting the measure.

Yesterday, we reported on the allegations that Grimm’s being snubbed was cause for his refusal to back the legislation in question. Recchia had condemned Grimm in a press release, stating that, “This is self-aggrandizing, petty politics at its worst.”

Grimm responded today with an emotionally charged five paragraph press release of his own, in which he accused Recchia of being a “complete empty suit,” and “another hypocritical, career politician…void of an original thought.” Grimm also sidestepped the accusations put forward by John Feal, president of the Fealgood Foundation, that Grimm’s accidental press conference snub was the sole reason for Grimm taking political retribution in this matter.

Instead, Grimm attempted to change the narrative by accusing Recchia of being ignorant of recent Tea Party talking points like the alleged “Benghazi cover-up” and the IRS scandal. In the end, Grimm declared that Recchia had exploited the tragedy of 9/11 for political gain, the same accusation put forward by Feal towards Grimm yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Recchia was dismissive of Grimm’s attack:

“Michael Grimm’s hyper-defensiveness on this issue is well-warranted given how out-of-touch he seems to be with the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” she said. “By doubling-down on not supporting New York’s first-responders, he’s demonstrated his true colors and values. What’s more, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to sequestration. If he didn’t support it, then he shouldn’t have voted for it.”

Perhaps Grimm’s increasingly defensive stance is a result of the heat he is feeling in his reelection bid. According to a New York Daily News report, Grimm’s election chances were recently downgraded. Citing a “Cook Political Report,” which handicaps electoral races, Grimm’s chances of winning shifted from “Likely R” to “Lean R.”

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Councilman Domenic Recchia announced this week he has secured $400,000 in funding for the installation of NYPD safety cameras across Bensonhurst and Coney Island.

Recchia stressed the importance of these cameras, saying they will protect the community.

“These cameras will provide much-needed surveillance capabilities to areas of my district in need of heightened security,” Recchia said in the release. “The NYPD needs to make use of every tool at its disposal to fight crime and keep our communities safe. This technology is an important resource to help New York’s finest do their job as best as possible.”

Here is a list of the locations where that the cameras will be installed:

  • 86th Street and 20th Avenue
  • 86th Street and Bay Parkway
  • 86th Street and 23rd Avenue
  • 86th Street and 25th Avenue
  • McDonald Avenue and Kings Highway
  • Mermaid Avenue and West 24th Street
  • Stillwell Avenue and Benson Avenue
  • Avenue W and West 11th Street
  • Neptune Avenue and West 8th Street

Source: Sullivan for NYC

Andy Sullivan is switching races. The Republican Tea Party activist planned to take on Councilman Vincent Gentile for his Bensonhurst- and Bay Ridge-based seat, but has now decided to throw his hat into the race for the District 47 seat being vacated by Domenic Recchia, who is term-limited and running for Congress.

Sullivan listed several strategic reasons as to why he thinks he will have a better chance winning Recchia’s soon-to-be-vacant chair, believing he can unite “Reagan-era Democrats” and conservative leaning Latinos and Asians. He also sees an advantage in a field dominated by Democratic candidates.

“This is going to be a bloodletting of a Democratic primary, and I think there’s an opportunity for a Republican to get in there and possibly win,” Sullivan told Brooklyn Paper.

Currently, there are five Democrats running for the seat including Mark Treyger, John Lisyanskiy, Todd Dobrin, Brian Gotlieb and Pastor Connis Mobley.

The most likely reason for Sullivan’s move is the lack of a Republican candidate in the race, securing him a primary victory with no opposition. Currently, Sullivan does not live within the Coney Island district but plans to relocate before Election Day.

Sullivan has not yet updated his website to reflect the switch.

Source: Free Press Pics via Flickr

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, many business and homeowners were left with tough financial decisions as to how to rebuild their lives. Many were offered loans by the Small Business Association (SBA) but rejected them because they didn’t want to incur more debt.

Because of complex bureaucratic rules, business and homeowners who rejected the SBA loans are now being denied some resources, leading politicians like Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Michael Grimm to press the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) into changing their rules, according to a press release.

Current HUD policy now demands that the amount of approved loans, including those who didn’t even accept them in the first place, are to be counted against the potential grant amounts they are eligible for in the upcoming distribution of the Community Development Block Grants. The justification of the complex rule that Schumer and Grimm are battling against was explained in the release:

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which comes in the form of a grant, not a loan, is intended to supplement other forms of available aid, and cover only “unmet need.” In determining the amount of “unmet need,” HUD regulations provide that any SBA loans for which a homeowner is approved are counted against the of unmet need.

The problem with this regulation is that it does not take into consideration the circumstances that might have led someone to reject a loan in the first place. Schumer expressed concern that this policy will hurt people who need it most.

“This policy will punish these homeowners and HUD should do everything in it power to make sure these individuals are eligible for additional federal assistance,” said Schumer.

Schumer’s concerns were shared by Grimm, according to SI Live.

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