Bay Ridge

Report: Democrats giving up on Gentile in congress race

Lack of funding for Gentile makes Donovan a shoo-in, insiders say

April 6, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile is getting no help from Democrats in Washington D.C. in his race for congress. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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If Democrat Vincent Gentile has any chance at winning the special election for the Brooklyn-Staten Island congress seat on May 5, he’s going to have to do it without help from deep pocketed fellow Democrats in Washington D.C., according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The Daily News reported on April 5 that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which works to get Democrats elected to the House of Representatives, is not pumping any money into Gentile’s campaign, a decision that effectively means the Bay Ridge councilmember has no shot at winning the election.

The DCCC reportedly spent $5 million trying to get Democrat Domenic Recchia elected to congress in November of 2014 to no avail. Republican incumbent Michael Grimm still won that race, despite the fact that he was under federal indictment for tax fraud. Grimm has since resigned from congress. The May 5 special election is taking place to fill out the remainder of Grimm’s term in office, which would have ended on Dec. 31, 2016.

The Daily News reported that the DCCC has “has quietly but completely thrown in the towel” in the congressional race.

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Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, the Republican candidate, looks like a shoo-in.

With no funding coming in from Washington, Gentile most likely will not be able to raise enough money on his own to seriously compete for the congressional seat. With no funding, Gentile won’t be able to purchase ads or pay for direct mailings to voters to get his message across, a Democratic insider told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.

“It’s no surprise that the DCCC isn’t putting any money into this race. We’ve all known this for months. And it’s the reason other candidates like (former congressman) Mike McMahon and (Staten Island Assemblyman) Mike Cusick didn’t get into the race. You need a couple of million dollars to run for a seat in congress and if you’re not able to raise it, you’re chances of winning aren’t very good,” the Democrat told the Eagle.

The names of McMahon and Cusick, who are both Democrats from Staten Island, had been mentioned as possible candidates for the special election. But both announced that they would not run this time around.

Gentile dismissed reports that he can’t win the race.

His campaign spokesman, Justin Brannan told the Eagle in an email that the councilmember is concentrating on talking about issues the voters care about.

“The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team went 38-0 and everyone was ready to hand over the trophy to them before the games were even played. We all know how that turned out. That is why the games are played. Our campaign is laser-focused on getting our message of strengthening the middle class, lowering taxes on small business and renewing the Older Americans Act out to the hardworking people of Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York’s 11th congressional district. That’s all that matters to us and that’s all we’ve ever paid attention to in this race,” Brannan wrote.

Donovan, Gentile and Green Party candidate James Lane are running to represent the 11th Congressional District, a seat that covers the entire borough of Staten Island and includes parts of southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Gravesend. Staten Island is the largest part of the district, taking up three-quarters of the map.

“I heard that the DCCC did polling in the race and concluded that Vinnie didn’t have a shot,” the Democratic insider told the Eagle.

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