Grimm, all alone at debate, assails Recchia’s readiness
Challenger’s spokesperson shoots back at indicted pol
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm sought to take advantage of the absence of his opponent Domenic Recchia at their first scheduled debate in Bay Ridge on Tuesday, telling voters in the audience that a vote for Recchia is a vote for the policies of Mayor Bill de Blasio, and then telling reporters at a post-debate press conference his opponent is not ready for prime time.
Recchia had sent his regrets to the Bay Ridge Community Council, the sponsor of the Sept. 23 debate held at Holy Angels Catholic Academy, according to Alexander Conti, chairman of the council’s Public Affairs Committee. Recchia’s campaign told the council he had a scheduling conflict and would not be on hand to debate Grimm.
His absence meant that Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) had the debate stage all to himself. Grimm repeatedly sought to tie Recchia to the progressive policies of de Blasio, who he said is pushing the city in the wrong direction. Recchia voted in lockstep with de Blasio when the two were serving on the City Council together, Grimm charged.
Grimm, who was hit with a 20-count federal indictment on fraud and other charges in April stemming from alleged wrongdoing in his ownership of a Manhattan health restaurant prior to his election to congress, told the audience that it was fair for voters to look at that indictment when deciding whether or not to vote for him. He expressed confidence that the voters would look at his record in congress and vote for him on Nov. 4.
In the press conference after his one-man show, Grimm blasted his Democratic opponent, who recently made headlines when he apparently had trouble answering a question from NY1 political reporter Courtney Gross on the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade agreement. Recchia “has made some gaffes,” Grimm said. “It’s laughable,” he added.
Recchia isn’t ready for prime time, Grimm told reporters. “He doesn’t really know his subject matter. I come prepared. He shouldn’t even be on the stage with me when it comes to foreign policy. He can’t beat me on game day,” Grimm said.
Grimm also charged that he has been criss-crossing the district, attending several events a day, and has not seen any sign of Recchia.
Recchia’s spokesperson, Sarah Weinstein, fired back at Grimm.
“It’s convenient that Michael Grimm found time in his schedule yesterday for campaign events to save political skin after he’s been missing in action from his official duties, including a significant press conference on Monday regarding Sandy funds,” Weinstein wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle the day after the debate.
“Grimm’s repeated use of hyperbolic rhetoric and distortions of Domenic’s record are of no surprise coming from a man who has been indicted on 20 criminal counts, including lying under oath, failing to report over $1 million in profits and stealing from his own workers. We look forward to meeting Michael Grimm in our scheduled future debates, where Domenic will proudly match his record of fighting for middle class families to improve our schools and protect our city against Michael Grimm’s embarrassing and failed leadership,” Weinstein wrote.
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