Bay Ridge

Grimm-Recchia race enters final stretch

October 29, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Michael Grimm and Domenic Recchia are in the home stretch of their race. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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As the race between embattled U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm and Domenic Recchia entered the home stretch, the challenger was basking in the glow of a New York Times endorsement while the incumbent boldly stated in a WABC Radio interview that he is confident he will win.

The two candidates also took part in their final debate of the bruising campaign when they squared off at the College of Staten Island in a forum sponsored by NY1 and the Staten Island Advance.

On Oct. 24, the Times endorsed Democrat Recchia in the race for the 11th Congressional District (Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), citing him as a candidate who “compiled a solid record of achievement on cultural and financial issues as a member of the New York City Council, where he served as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee and helped negotiate the city’s $70 billion budget.”

Recchia “doesn’t have Mr. Grimm’s experience in Congress, but he doesn’t have Mr. Grimm’s dubious record, either,” the Times editorial stated.

It was a reference to Grimm’s legal troubles. The Republican-Conservative lawmaker, who is running for a third term in the House, was indicted in April on a litany of criminal charges stemming from alleged wrongdoing in a health food restaurant he owned in Manhattan prior to his election to congress in 2010. Grimm, who is accused of hiring undocumented workers and paying them in cash under the table, among other crimes, is scheduled to stand trial in February. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Grimm appeared confident as the campaign entered its final days. In a recent interview on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby,” a show on WABC Radio, he predicted that he will win re-election, despite the 20-count indictment hanging over his head.

“I am extremely confident. I think our numbers have grown in the last few weeks that I think the Recchia camp will need a miracle to beat us at this point,” Grimm told Kiernan and Cosby.

On Oct. 28, Grimm and Recchia faced each other in their final debate before Election Day, fighting over issues such as immigration, the minimum wage and transportation.

Both men had embarrassing moments during the debate’s “Lightning Round,” in which moderator Errol Louis asked rapid-fire questions that required quick responses. Grimm had trouble naming the last book he had read. Recchia was forced to clarify himself when he stated during the round that he was opposed to raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour when he had earlier stated that he favored raising the minimum wage. He stated that was under the impression that he had answered in the affirmative both times.

In the debate, Recchia hit Grimm hard, bringing up the indictment several times. Grimm repeatedly tried to tie his opponent to Mayor Bill de Blasio, an unpopular figure in the Staten Island portion of the congressional district.

On Thursday, it was learned that each candidate had picked up a key endorsement.

Recchia was endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Domenic Recchia was a strong voice for New Yorkers while a member of the City Council, and I believe he will represent New York well as a member of Congress. I am pleased to support Domenic’s campaign and look forward to our work together when he is a part of New York’s congressional delegation to create jobs in New York State and strengthen our communities,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Staten Island Advance endorsed Grimm. In its editorial, the newspaper pointed out that the race had gotten ugly. “On one side is the sometimes hot-headed Republican incumbent who is facing a 20-count federal indictment. On the other is a career Brooklyn Democratic pol, who, term-limited out of his high-ranking post in the City Council, thought about other city offices before he settled on the idea of the job representing in Congress a borough he knows little about, his claims of deep ties here notwithstanding,” the editorial read.


Article was updated to include information on Cuomo and Staten Island Advance endorsements.

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