Democrats Slam GOP for ‘Bigotry’ and ‘Fear Mongering’ in Grimm Fundraising Email

Michael Grimm. (Photo: Getty Images)

Michael Grimm. (Photo: Getty Images)

The chairs of the Brooklyn and Staten Island Democratic parties today slammed a Staten Island GOP official for what they called “outrageous bigotry” in a fundraising email sent yesterday on behalf of Congressman Michael Grimm.

The email, from Staten Island GOP Vice Chair Bill D’Ambrosio, said Democratic challenger Domenic M. Recchia Jr. would rely on “votes from Brooklyn housing projects” and if he won, that he would “pay back these votes, and surely build low-income housing in our neighborhoods.”

Kings County Democratic Chair Frank Seddio and his Richmond County counterpart John Gulino slammed those comments as bigoted fear-mongering.

“We call on Congressman Grimm to denounce the outrageous bigotry demonstrated by GOP Deputy Bill D’Ambrosio,” Mr. Seddio said in a statement. “I cannot believe that 50 years after we passed the Civil Rights Act, we still have people like D’Ambrosio who will use bigotry and base fear mongering to solicit money and votes.  There is no place for this contemptible language in this campaign.”

Mr. Recchia formerly represented Coney Island, a neighborhood filled with public housing where many minorities live, and in a New York Times profile noted he’d look to garner the votes of residents of Brooklyn’s Marlboro Houses, part of the congressional district. Mr. Recchia is white, but his campaign will need to win minority votes on Staten Island’s north shore and in Brooklyn to topple the Republican incumbent, observers say.

“It’s insulting to Staten Islanders to think their support can be bought by this kind of hateful language,” said Mr. Gulino. “The GOP has resorted to raising money by insulting Brooklyn voters while engaging in fear mongering with Staten Island voters. I strongly urge Congressman Grimm to condemn and disassociate himself from this hateful letter.”

The Staten Island GOP, Party Chair John Antoniello and Mr. Grimm’s campaign did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.

State Senator Diane Savino, an outspoken Democrat whose Staten Island and Brooklyn district includes the public housing referenced in the fundraising plea, also decried Mr. D’Ambrosio’s email on her Facebook page.

“THIS IS SO OFFENSIVE! those folks that the Staten Island GOP VP is referring to happen to be constituents of the congressional district,” Ms. Savino wrote. “they vote, they matter, and they sure as hell will be voting for Domenic now.”