Colton mulling run for seat vacated by Grimm

Malliotakis says she’s undeterred by G.O.P. nod to Donovan

January 5, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Bill Colton (right) pictured with veteran Bill Naddeo at a recent ceremony in his district, says the congressional race should focus on substantive issues. Photo courtesy Colton’s office
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The list of hopefuls interested in running for the Brooklyn-Staten Island congressional seat vacated by Michael Grimm is starting to resemble a crowded subway car at rush hour. Assemblymember Bill Colton is the latest political figure to announce that he is mulling a run.

“I have been approached by many different people, both in politics and community life, who are urging me to run, so I am taking a serious look at it,” Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday. The interview took place on the same day Grimm’s resignation was scheduled to take effect. Grimm, who won re-election in November, resigned after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion.

Colton joins a long list of potential candidates that includes Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) and state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) on the Republican side and former congressmember Michael McMahon, Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island) and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura on the Democratic side.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is mandated by the New York State Constitution to set a date for a special election to fill the vacant congressional seat. At press time, Cuomo had not yet set the date.

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Meanwhile, Staten Island Republican Party Chairman John Antoniello made news over the New Year’s Day weekend when he announced his support for Donovan.

“Dan Donovan’s experience, integrity and his decades of public service to the people of this city make him the most qualified. I am proud to support him and encourage him to make the run,” the New York Daily News quoted Antoniello as saying.

But Malliotakis said she’s not ready to throw in the towel, even though the Staten Island G.O.P. chairman is backing Donovan.

“I am proud to have the support of the Kings County Conservative Party,” she told the Eagle on Monday. “We will continue to speak to committee members on both sides of the bridge. We will continue to speak to party leaders.”

In another major development, the New York Observer reported on Monday that state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn), a close ally of Malliotakis, is supporting Donovan.

On Jan. 2, Brooklyn Young Republican Club President Glenn Nocera issued a statement endorsing Malliotakis.

“Nicole Malliotakis has been a dedicated and passionate representative for the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island. She has brought a fresh perspective to Albany and has been a voice for our generation, focusing on issues including skyrocketing college loan debt that have been forgotten by many. Nicole is supported overwhelmingly by the community she represents and, this year, garnered an overwhelming 73 percent of the vote in a swing district. She is a dynamic elected official and is our club’s choice for United States Congress,” the statement read.

Colton said voters are hungry for a race where there is a discussion of substantive issues and that his campaign, if he mounts one, will be issues-oriented. He first revealed that he is mulling a run in an interview with the blog Kings County Politics.

“We need to start talking about what is important. We need to bring people together. We need to talk about issues and we need elected officials to speak yup about these issues,” Colton said.

While the 11th Congressional District crosses two boroughs, Colton said he is confident he can reach out to voters on both sides of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. “Staten Island and Brooklyn have a lot of similarities,” he said.

As examples, he pointed to the fact that both boroughs suffered devastating damage in Superstorm Sandy and that both boroughs have had to deal with an unfair burdens when it came to the city’s waste management policies.

“They both have had horrendous garbage facilities,” Colton said, referring to the now-closed Staten Island Landfill and the plans to build a trash processing plant on the Bensonhurst waterfront.



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