Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks he’s picked a winner in the tight race between Republican Congressman Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia Jr.
“I think Domenic is gonna win,” Mr. de Blasio told the Observer today following at unrelated Bronx press conference.
Mr. Recchia, a former Brooklyn councilman, trailed Mr. Grimm, who is under indictment, by four points — equal to the margin of error — in a NY1 News/Capital New York/Siena College Research Institute released this week.
“The poll says, to me, something very simple, which is when an incumbent is essentially neck-and-neck with a challenger, it means the challenger is surging and the challenger has a very good chance of winning,” Mr. de Blasio said today.
The mayor isn’t alone in interpreting the poll results as a good sign for Mr. Recchia’s chances of winning the seat representing Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn. State Senator Diane Savino, a strong supporter of Mr. Recchia, called the poll “great news” on her Facebook page earlier this week and added: “We are winning this race. a statistical dead heat is a bad sign for an incumbent.”
Mr. Recchia campaigned with Ms. Savino today at a roundtable with labor officials on Staten Island, but has not appeared at an event with the mayor since the two attended a closed-door Democratic Party dinner on Staten Island in March.
“I’ll certainly campaign for Domenic,” Mr. de Blasio told the Observer today. “I’ll do anything that would be helpful to him, because I believe very much that he should be the next congressman.”
Of course, Mr. de Blasio campaigning for Mr. Recchia may not be entirely helpful in Staten Island, where the mayor’s approval rating was a dismal 25 percent according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll. The mayor also lost the borough to Joe Lhota in the general election last year.
In a statement to the Observer, Mr. Grimm practically dared Mr. de Blasio to campaign for his opponent, and tossed in a swipe at Mr. Recchia’s support for a congestion pricing plan that would have tolled East River bridges.
“I welcome and challenge the Mayor to come to Staten Island and campaign for my opponent. He’ll be happy his pal Recchia didn’t get his way to add an $8 toll on the Brooklyn Bridge on top of the $15 dollars he’ll pay crossing the Verrazano,” Mr. Grimm said.
Mr. Recchia, a Brooklynite, trails Mr. Grimm by 8 points among Staten Island voters, but maintains a 7-point lead in the Brooklyn portion of the district, according to the Siena Poll.
Whether he campaigns in the race or not, the mayor — who once deemed Mr. Grimm’s indictment on wire fraud and tax charges unsurprising — praised Mr. Recchia’s work on the City Council, where they served together, and deemed him a “very effective public servant.”
“He’s a very down to earth guy who understands what people are going through in that district. He is a public school parent, he was a school board member, he really understands the lives of people who are struggling and need help from Washington,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Mr. Grimm is part of a Republican majority in the House that has not addressed the problems of this city or this country, so it’s absolutely time for a change.”
Mr. Grimm’s spokesman, Nick Iacono, seemed plenty happy for Mr. Recchia to be tied to what he called Mr. de Blasio’s “unpopular progressive agenda.”
“De Blasio and Recchia voted together over 99 percent of the time in the City Council and teamed up to raise almost every middle class tax on Staten Islanders and Brooklynites they could get their hands on. From fumbling Sandy recovery, to raising taxes, to bowing to Al Sharpton against our NYPD, it’s no surprise that de Blasio wants his ultra-liberal puppet Dom Recchia to help advance his unpopular progressive agenda, like bringing more low-income housing development to Staten Island,” Mr. Iacono said in a statement to the Observer.
This story has been updated with comment from Mr. Grimm and his spokesman.