Congressman Michael Grimm made his electoral pitch to Republican Party stalwarts in the city yesterday. His message: I’m all you’ve got.
Speaking to members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club gathered in the back room of an Irish pub in Carroll Gardens, Mr. Grimm stressed that he’s now the only GOP federal legislator elected in the heavily Democratic five boroughs, and asked for volunteers to help keep Democrats from winning a full sweep.
“I’m very optimistic with my chances. We have strong numbers. I’m a hard worker. I’ve assembled a good team,” Mr. Grimm assured the group. “But I definitely need volunteers. So if there’s anyone here that would like to volunteer to make sure we keep at least one Republican at the federal level in New York City–at least one!–and then we need to start working on getting more … This is where it happens.”
Mr. Grimm, who occupies a competitive Staten Island-based seat, is facing a strong challenge from former Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia, whose supporters are hoping an ongoing federal investigation into Mr. Grimm’s campaign fund-raising will help sink his chances. The Staten Island Advance reported Friday that a Texas woman who was allegedly arrested in connection with the investigation is “engaged in plea negotiations,” according to court documents.
But Mr. Grimm didn’t mention the controversy, focusing instead on his opponent’s “very liberal” credentials, as well as the Democrat’s fund-raising chops. “He can raise a lot of money,” he said of Mr. Recchia. “Nancy Pelosi and her merry band of friends are dumping millions of dollars into him.” (Mr. Recchia’s most recent fund-raising report shows about $1 million raised to date for the election cycle, with about the same for Mr. Grimm, whose campaign also carries hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from legal bills.)
Overall, Mr. Grimm’s visit went much more smoothly than that of another elected official last year. In April, then-Republican mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis erupted into a shouting match with several activists, ultimately yelling, “Bullshit!” to the room. One of the activists from the Catsimatidis confrontation, Frank Russo, told Politicker things had gotten heated between him and Mr. Grimm as the congressman entered the pub Sunday, though the exact details were unclear.
This time, Mr. Grimm fielded a more orderly set of questions selected by a club leader, addressing topics including foreign policy, auditing the federal reserve and immigration, while serving up red meat for the conservative faithful.
“Liberal ideology is dangerous and it undermines everything this country was founded on,” Mr. Grimm declared in his introduction.
“The American dream is not dead. It’s not dead,” he said at another point. “There are some trying to kill it, but it’s not dead. But you hitting the streets, going to groups like this, it will make a difference. Because it does help elect someone like me.”
View Mr. Grimm’s full address to the young Republican club below: