Bay Ridge

Unlike de Blasio, Gentile quickly endorses Clinton

April 13, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile didn’t hesitate to throw his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

Mayor Bill de Blasio might be hesitating the endorse Hillary Clinton, but another Democrat in New York City wasn’t shy at all about throwing his support behind the former Secretary of State’s bid to become the next President of the U.S.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who is running to become the congress member representing the 11th Congressional District (Staten Island-parts of Southwest Brooklyn), announced his endorsement of Clinton on Sunday, just hours after she revealed via a Youtube video that she was running for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2016 election.

“Hillary has always been a champion of hardworking everyday Americans like those in Brooklyn and Staten Island. I trust Hillary to always fight for working families to ensure the path to the middle class stays paved for generations to come by raising the minimum wage, providing access to well-paying jobs, affordable housing, a good quality education and health care for all,” Gentile said in a statement on Sunday. “I know Hillary will build upon the hard-fought progress we’ve made to make sure ordinary citizens across America will always have a fair shot to get ahead. That’s how we’ll keep America moving forward.” 

Gentile is running in a special election on May 5 for the Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island congressional seat that has been vacant since Republican Michael Grimm resigned from Congress in January after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

The Republican candidate in the special election, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, is considered to be the front-runner in the race. There is also a third party candidate, James Lane, of the Green Party, running for the congressional seat.

Gentile’s quick endorsement of Clinton was in sharp contrast to de Blasio’s hesitation. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the mayor said he wants to have a clear sense of her stands on important issues.

“Like a lot of people in this country, I want to see a vision,” de Blasio told the show’s host, Chuck Todd. “I think she’s one of the most qualified people to ever run for this office and, by the way, thoroughly vetted. But we need to see the substance.” 

The mayor’s position is striking, given his ties to Hillary and Bill Clinton. He served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in her successful run for the U.S. Senate from New York in 2000.

On the local political front, Gentile’s congressional campaign will be getting a boost from a group of young Democrats who will be hosting a party for him.

The New York State Young Democrats Downstate Region will be hosting a “watch party” for the the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight on May 2 that will also serve as a “watch party” for the Gentile vs. Donovan race. The event will take place on May 2 at the LoneStar Bar & Grill, 8703 Fifth Ave., starting at 7 p.m.

Admission is $20 per person. But to entice young Democrats to volunteer to help Gentile’s campaign for Congress, the Young Democrats are offering an unusual deal: Party-goers will get free admission if they volunteer to work at a micro phone-banking session any time before the fight.

For more information on the party, email Corey Ortega, vice president of the New York State Young Democrats Downstate Region, at [email protected]