Mr. Gentile told The Politicker that he had a long conversation with officials from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week.
“They set the parameters for me,” he said. “It was a challenging conversation.”
The councilman said that DCCC was most concerned that he–or any candidate–would have the necessary funds to pick off an incumbent.
“That is the question–how much can I raise, and what kind of effort it would take to raise it. That is what we are trying to figure out,” Mr. Gentile added. There are a couple of people interested in the race. [The DCCC] is not going to carry the load themselves, so its a partnership kind of thing.”
So far, only Alex Borgognone, a Bronx restaurateur, has officially declared his interest in the race, but a number of elected and unelected Staten Islanders–including Council Member Debi Rose and Bill de Blasio aide Mark Murphy–have said they may take a look at it.
Mr. Gentile said if there were a competitive primary, he would “have an advantage.”
“My perspective is a little different from the others,” he said. “I’m doing public service now, and I feel like there may be an opportunity to do it on a wider basis for basically the same people I’m working for now.”
Mr. Gentile represents the Brooklyn portion of a district that is mostly centered around Staten Island; however, he noted that he represented portions of Staten Island when he served in the State Senate.
Typically, candidates from the Brooklyn side have struggled in that district.
“I would not be introducing myself to the people of Staten Island,” Mr. Gentile said. “Other Democrats from Brooklyn would have that problem, but I am the guy that would have that problem the least.”
All of the machinations will be rendered moot however if Mike McMahon, whom Mr. Grimm defeated in 2010, decides to run again for the seat.
“We haven’t had that conversation, but as a former Congressman he would certainly have a big say if he wanted to run,” he said.
Mr. Gentile also said that he would step aside “as a matter of courtesy” if Mr. McMahon decided to get in.
People close to Mr. McMahon say that he is genuinely undecided about whether or not he runs, and that it may depend on how the lines are drawn after the most recent round of redistricting.
The real question however would be whether or not Mr. Grimm is beatable. Mr. Gentile says that he is.
“There are several scenarios by which he is beatable. A lot depends on how the economy goes over the next several months. So yes, I would say he is beatable but it is not going to be easy.”