In the escalating war of words between Republican Congressman Michael Grimm and his Democratic challenger, Councilman Domenic Recchia, the Republican is firing a new salvo: Mr. Recchia’s Brooklyn address.
In a statement released by his campaign today, Mr. Grimm, who hails from Staten Island, asked how Mr. Recchia can be trusted “to put Staten Island first” given his home address and voting record.
“How can we expect a career politician who lives in Brooklyn to put Staten Island first, when his voting record says otherwise?” asked Mr. Grimm’s spokeswoman, Carol Danko. “The City is constantly dumping things on us that we don’t want – whether its toll hikes, property tax increases, a juvenile detention center or a landfill – and Domenic is part of the problem. It’s because of politicians like Domenic Recchia that Staten Island has become the forgotten borough, and why he is unfit to serve.”
Brooklynites have traditionally fared poorly in Mr. Grimm’s district, which stretches across Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn. But Mr. Recchia, who boasts Staten Island roots, is hoping his Italian-American heritage will help overcome historical precedent in the heavily Italian-American borough.
Mr. Recchia and his backers further disagree with the notion that Mr. Recchia’s residence will hurt him electorally. “The notion that you can’t come from somewhere else and run here is overblown in a lot of ways,” State Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat, recent told the Staten Island Advance.
Mr. Grimm’s lengthy statement took aim at Mr. Recchia for voting to raise property taxes after the September 11 attacks, which many pols argued was necessary to address budget shortfalls, and supporting the controversial congestion pricing plan that would have added tolls to bridges going into Manhattan. (Some believe a similar pricing plan could actually lower tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge tolls, which are widely despised on Staten Island.)
“What’s best for the City isn’t always best for Staten Island, but Domenic Recchia doesn’t care. In the City Council he took votes to raise property taxes and for highly unpopular congestion pricing – because they were in the ‘best interest… of this city,” Ms. Danko declared. (Mr. Recchia’s full quote was: “I believe they were in the best interest of my district and the future of this city.”)
Update (7:15 p.m.): Mr. Recchia’s campaign responded with their own lengthy statement:
“Michael Grimm is the real sell-out of Staten Island. Whether it was his votes to shutdown the government even though he knew it could hurt Sandy relief, his votes against federal disaster relief, his votes to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for transportation and infrastructure projects, or his votes to end Medicare as we know it and jeopardize Social Security, Michael Grimm has turned his back on the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn at every opportunity,” charged Recchia campaign spokeswoman Ashleigh Owens. “His lame attempts to distort reality and twist the truth are nothing more than a desperate politician lashing out because he knows that he has repeatedly put the interests of the radical Tea Party above the people of this district.”