Gentile, Donovan hit campaign trail in special congressional election race
The special election for the Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island congressional seat kicked into high gear this week, with Republican Daniel Donovan touting key endorsements from law enforcement unions and Democrat Vincent Gentile announcing the official start of his campaign.
Gentile, a Brooklyn councilmember representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, will hold a campaign kickoff rally on Saturday, March 14 at his Staten Island headquarters at 35 New Dorp Lane.
“I am thrilled to announce that I have received the Democratic nomination to run for the 11th congressional district representing Staten Island and Brooklyn. I am in this race because I believe we need a fresh start in Washington. We need to elect someone who will truly represent the interests of the people,” Gentile wrote in an email to donors.
On Wednesday, Donovan, who is the Staten Island district attorney, announced that he had garnered his third law enforcement endorsement in two days. Donovan accepted an endorsement from the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association. A day earlier, he was endorsed by the NYPD Captains Endowment Association and the NYPD Lieutenants Association.
“Dan Donovan is exactly who we need in Washington fighting for us,” said Edward Kalanz, Second Vice President and Legislative Director of the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association, who stood with the Republican candidate on the steps of the Staten Island courthouse.
“Dan has always put what’s right before politics. He has a long record of accomplishments on Staten Island and we know he will deliver results for the people of the 11th congressional district,” Kalanz said.
Donovan said he was grateful for the endorsement. “I offer my huge thanks to all the men and women of the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Association for their support. Our bridges and tunnels continue to be a top terrorist target and their vigilance is critical to keeping us safe. As congressman, I will be a strong advocate for all of our officers in the line of duty,” he said.
Gentile, Donovan and a third candidate, James Lane of the Green Party, are running in a special election on May 5 in the 11th Congressional District. Republican Michael Grimm, who served two terms in congress, and was elected to a third term in November, resigned on Jan. 5 after pleading guilty to tax fraud.
The winner of the special election will take office immediately and will serve out the remainder of Grimm’s term which is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.
The 11th Congressional District covers the entire borough of Staten Island and includes all or parts of several southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Gravesend.
The district map is heavily weighed toward Staten Island. Approximately two-thirds of the district’s residents live in that borough, while Brooklyn accounts for approximately one-third.
Gentile, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, is seeking to win over Staten Islanders by touting the fact that as a state senator in the 1990s, he represented a district that included neighborhoods in both Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Democrat is also seeking to neutralize Donovan’s prosecutorial credentials by pointing out that he, Gentile, served as an assistant district attorney in Queens prior to entering politics.
“As a former prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s office, a former New York state senator representing both Staten Island and Brooklyn, and as a current member of the NYC Council, I have been a steadfast representative for the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island,” he wrote in his email to donors.
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