How Grimm Won: Incumbent says his record of service, loyalty kept voters on his side
Indicted Incumbent Beats Back Challenge from Recchia
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, whose political career looked dead in the water after he was indicted in April, pointed to two factors that he believed helped secure his landslide victory over Domenic Recchia on Election Night, his record of service in congress and the fact that the voters trusted him, when reporters asked him how he had won the race.
His margin of victory, which proved to be much wider than had been predicted, was also a testament to his ability to keep fighting, despite long odds against him, he told supporters during his victory speech in the ballroom of th Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island.
“It’s not how hard you can hit, it’s how hard you can take a hit and keep moving forward,” he said.
Grimm, a Republican, took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. to declare victory after the Associated Press projected him the winner.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Grimm had 56,221 votes (55 percent) to Recchia’s 42,786 votes (42 percent.) Green Party candidate Henry Bardel had 2,558 votes (3 percent), according to the Staten Island Advance.
The candidates were running for the right to represent the 11th Congressional District, a district that covers Staten Island and includes parts of southwest Brooklyn such as Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bernsonhurst and Gravesend.
Throughout the campaign, Grimm stressed his record in the House and his ability to get key legislation passed, such as a Superstorm Sandy-related bill to reform home insurance. He repeatedly told reporters covering the race that voters knew him and trusted him.
The incumbent, who was indicted on 20-counts of fraud, tax evasion, perjury and other charges in April, is scheduled to go on trial in February.
But for one night at least, Grimm could bask in the glow of victory.
“You had my back when I needed it most. And I’ll never forget it,” Grimm told his supporters.
For Recchia, it was a bitter defeat in a race that had started out so promising for him.
“What I will do is thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Recchia, a former Brooklyn councilmember, told his supporters in his concession speech.
In the early days of the race, Recchia easily outpaced the embattled Grimm in fundraising. In addition, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which sensed trouble in the water for Grimm, pumped more than $1 million into Recchia’s campaign.
Grimm made reference to Recchia’s campaign war chest in his victory speech, charging that the DCCC was trying to “silence” voters in the district by trying to push the only Republican member of New York City’s congressional delegation out. “They could have spent $10 million. The people of Staten Island and Brooklyn will not be silenced,” Grimm said.
A series of missteps by the challenger, including stumbling over the definition of a trade agreement during an on-camera interview on NY1 and then bragging at a press conference that organizing a student exchange program in Japan gave him the necessary credentials to deal with important international issues, appeared to have hurt his chances.
Recchia was the target of Jon Stewart’s biting wit on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” last month.
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