Assemblyman Bill Colton may have shared an overlapping southern Brooklyn district with former Councilman Domenic Recchia for 12 years, but he’s not quite willing to back the Democrat against a possible long-shot primary challenge from Rev. Erick Salgado.
Mr. Salgado, a socially conservative pastor who ran a colorful campaign for mayor last year, publicly thanked Mr. Colton today for helping put together the paperwork he needed to run for the Staten Island congressional seat now held by Republican Michael Grimm.
“I want to thank Assemblyman Bill Colton for helping me putting together the exploratory committee,” Mr. Salgado wrote on Twitter. The Observer first reported Mr. Salgado’s interest in a congressional bid last Friday.
But in an interview today, Mr. Colton maintained he is remaining neutral for the time being.
“I really believe, as a matter of conscience, that I must be very, very deliberate in considering any endorsement. I want to see a track record,” Mr. Colton told the Observer. “When I do make an endorsement, I find people in my district very frequently vote for that person. I don’t make endorsements automatically, it’s not a reflex action.”
But even Mr. Colton’s neutrality, insiders say, is evidence of the animosity between the assemblyman and Mr. Recchia, who formerly served as the council’s finance chair and has the backing of most of the Democratic establishment.
A recent story in the Brooklyn Daily detailed the ongoing feud between the men, which reportedly centers on a past battle over a local high school’s administration. While it’s not clear that Mr. Colton will actively work to undermine Mr. Recchia or if it will even matter–Mr. Colton represents Brooklyn while the congressional district is based primarily Staten Island–his openness to Mr. Salgado, a political newcomer with no legislative track record, suggests the candidate could draw some support.
Mr. Colton’s ultimate endorsement is likely to carry at least some weight in the area. His political club is large and active, and he could lend helpful assistance during the petitioning process. One of Mr. Colton’s proteges, Mark Treyger, is Mr. Recchia’s successor.
“I have made no decision at this point. It’s very early. I’m willing to speak to any body who wants to talk to me,” Mr. Colton continued. “I’m willing to listen to any body who wants to run.”
The Recchia campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.