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Archive for the tag 'domenic recchia'


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.



Grimm (File photo)

Congressman Michael Grimm addressed the Brooklyn Young Republican Club on Sunday, requesting the group’s support in what’s expected to be a fierce reelection campaign, saying that they must take his side to ensure there’s at least one GOP federal legislator representing New York City.

“I’m very optimistic with my chances. We have strong numbers. I’m a hard worker. I’ve assembled a good team,” Grimm said to the group, according to Politicker. “But I definitely need volunteers. So if there’s anyone here that would like to volunteer to make sure we keep at least one Republican at the federal level in New York City–at least one!–and then we need to start working on getting more … This is where it happens.”

Grimm is expected face off against former City Councilman Domenic Recchia, who is receiving strong fundraising and operational support from the national Democratic Party.

Grimm is seen as vulnerable, especially in light of a slew of recent headlines that appears to tie him to questionable fundraising practices. His campaign is also hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from legal bills as he staves off an FBI investigation into fundraising during his 2010 campaign.

While Grimm didn’t talk about the investigation during the appearance, he did attack left-leaning ideology.

“This progressive liberal ideology is dangerous and it undermines everything this country was founded on,” he said.

He also placed blame for the GOP’s struggles on “branding problems.”

“We have a branding problem When you speak to younger people, especially females, they don’t truly understand what I see here – a diverse group,” he said. “What the Democrats have done is a good job of branding us as the white, rich elite.”

Grimm depicted Recchia as a “very liberal Democrat.”

Here’s his remarks in full:


The Federal Election Commission has admonished Congressman Michael Grimm for accepting campaign contributions that exceed the legal limits.

The Daily News reports:

The Staten Island Republican’s 2014 primary campaign got $4,000 from Friends of John Boehner and $5,000 from Ryan’s Prosperity Action Committee — violating the $2,600 limit for a donor in an election cycle, the Federal Election Commission stated in a letter to him dated Jan. 8.

Although a relatively minor flub, it’s the latest addition to mounting concerns raised about the congressman’s fundraising. Grimm won the seat, which also includes most of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and parts of Gravesend, in 2012. Almost immediately after winning the 2012 election, the Justice Department opened an investigation that looked at a tangle of donations and relationships involving rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn. That investigation remains open and one of the associates involved, Ofer Biton, recently pleaded guilty to visa fraud.

The latest findings from the FEC concern his 2014 campaign, in which he’s facing a challenge from Democrat Domenic Recchia, a former City Council member.


Source: jasoneppinke via Flickr

Is this all Brooklyn and Staten Island have in common? (Source: jasoneppinke/Flickr)

It’s not even 2014 yet, but the 2014 Congressional election is already well underway in the 11th Congressional District, where incumbent Michael Grimm faces a challenge from Democratic Councilman Domenic Recchia.

To put it frankly, the race is already shaping up to be a disappointment for anyone hoping for civil discourse. From the get-go in February, when Recchia announced his run, the mud was flying through the air.

We’ll save the historical overview with all the dirty little back-and-forths for a future post. But one thing I just can’t let go of is the overarching narrative put forth by Grimm and Staten Island Republicans that a Brooklynite just can’t represent Staten Island.

For the most part, that kind of chatter has been coming from the sidelines: folks in the Staten Island GOP or political commentators looking to fill editorial holes on a slow news day. It’s also been an undercurrent in some of Grimm’s own statements, but never outright expressed as far as I know.

Until Monday.

Congressman Grimm’s campaign put out a statement attacking Recchia for his Brooklyn residency.

“How can we expect a career politician who lives in Brooklyn to put Staten Island first, when his voting record says otherwise?” Grimm’s spokeswoman, Carol Danko. “The City is constantly dumping things on us that we don’t want – whether its toll hikes, property tax increases, a juvenile detention center or a landfill – and Domenic is part of the problem. It’s because of politicians like Domenic Recchia that Staten Island has become the forgotten borough, and why he is unfit to serve.”

I can’t help but note that Grimm has previously attacked Recchia for putting Staten Island first with his City Council discretionary funds as Finance Chair. But whatevs.

(I don’t care to run it in full, but Recchia responded with a statement with a litany of other things Grimm did that he doesn’t believe is in the best interest of Staten Islanders. You can read the whole exchange on Politicker.)

The point here isn’t who puts Staten Island first. If you ask me, Staten Islanders are spoiled enough as it is, what with their free ferry and all.

No, what bothers me is the logic of Grimm et al’s statements leads to a disconcerting, and wholly ridiculous conclusion. If a Brooklynite can’t represent Staten Islanders, isn’t it logical to conclude that a Staten Islander can’t represent Brooklyn? And wouldn’t that mean Grimm is suggesting that he’s been screwing his Brooklyn constituents all along?

Of course, that’s nonsense. It is not such a world of difference between this part of Brooklyn and Staten Island, especially on the federal level. And good ideas know no borders between boroughs.

At least that’s what I believe, and I want these two to stop acting like petulant children and begin having an actual conversation about the future of the district – Brooklyn and Staten Island, both.

But that’s just me. Do you think a Brooklynite can represent Staten Island? Do you think a Staten Islander can represent Brooklyn? Is this all just BS?

Source: Facebook

Source: Grimm’s office via Facebook

The list of those who consider Republican Congressman Michael Grimm vulnerable in next year’s election is growing, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the latest to pledge thousands of dollars to taking him down.

We previously on how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has launched a full-on blitz against the representative after a narrow seven-point victory against a lackluster candidate, Mark Murphy. They’ve thrown their considerable war-chest towards television and internet ads against the incumbent, and have given their backing to outgoing Councilmember Domenic Recchia, who, as finance chair of the Council, has garnered quite a bit of support.

Even the GOP considers Grimm vulnerable, enlisting him in their “Patriot” program, providing fundraising and communications support to candidates that might lose their seats in upcoming elections.

Last week, the SEIU committed approximately $80,000 to ousting Grimm with ads in the district blasting him for his faulture to support immigration reform.

The Daily News reports:

The ads, running in the districts in each on the members, cite House’s failure to move immigration reform a symptom of an inept Congress and ask viewers to press the member to support action. In addition to pressuring members, they seek to make the members responsible if reform fails.

“One year out from the mid-term elections, Speaker Boehner is putting members of his caucus at risk. Commonsense immigration reform is smart politics, good policy and the right thing to do,” said SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Saenz.

The SEIU has 2.1 million members nationwide, representing immigrant-heavy trades, including healthcare, property services and public services. It accounts for most of New York City’s unionized home health aides, janitors, bus drivers, maintenance workers and more.

But with one new foe, Grimm also makes a friend. Politico is reporting that Grimm has garnered the support of some buildings and trade unions, one of few Republicans to do so. And while national labor groups are steering clear of him, local chapters like the Mason Tenders District Council are donating funds and campaigning on his behalf.

Source: SuperFantastic via Flickr

A new law raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old has been kicking around the City Council for more than three years, but most New York City residents didn’t hear about it until yesterday, when the legislative body gave its seal of approval.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the bill, as he’s expected to do, smokers younger than 21 years old will be banned from purchasing tobacco products in New York City. It’s among the highest age limits in the nation.

The bill passed 35-10, and includes e-cigarettes.

When the new law takes effect, shops found selling to people under age will face a $1,000 fine. On second offense, fines go up to $2,000, and the store may have its license revoked if additional offenses are committed within a three-year period.

Of the 10 Council members opposed to the new law, all were representatives from boroughs outside of Manhattan, and five were from Brooklyn.

With the exception of Charles Barron, who represents East New York, all of the Brooklyn opponents hailed from Southern Brooklyn.

Here’s how they voted:

  • Vincent Gentile (Bay Ridge – Bensonhurst): Against
  • David Greenfield (Bensonhurst – Borough Park): For
  • Jumaane Williams (Midwood – Flatbush): Against
  • Lew Fidler (Marine Park – Canarsie): Absent
  • Domenic Recchia (Coney Island – Gravesend): Against
  • Michael Nelson (Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach): Against

Although Fidler was absent for health reasons, we believe he would have voted against the age increase. Fidler previously opposed expanding the smoking ban to beaches and parks, as well as banning flavored tobacco products.

That means David Greenfield is the only Southern Brooklyn Council member to support the bill, and had Fidler voted (the way we think he would have), more than half the opposition would have hailed from our end of the borough.

Do Southern Brooklyn residents love smoking more than the rest of New York City? You tell us.

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.

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