‘Where’s Vinny?’ National GOP Launches First Attack Against Vincent Gentile

Councilman Vincent Gentile (Photo: Will Bredderman/New York Observer).
Councilman Vincent Gentile (Photo: Will Bredderman/New York Observer). (Photo: Will Bredderman for Observer)

The GOP is done ignoring Vincent Gentile.

The National Republican Campaign Committee attacked Mr. Gentile, a Democratic councilman challenging Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan for an open House seat, in an email this afternoon, taking aim at the veteran lawmaker for skipping a City Council hearing.

“Hey, does anyone know where Vinny Gentile is today? Perhaps he was snowed in? Maybe he’s at the airport to welcome Brandon Marshall to New York? Or was he just too busy campaigning for another job?” asked Ian Prior, a spokesman for the NRCC.

“Well, wherever he is, Vinny was NOT at today’s budget hearing being held by the NYC Council’s Committee on Consumer affairs, of which he is a member,” Mr. Prior added.

Mr. Prior cited a tweet from Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max: “‘I was hoping that Vincent Gentile would be here’ says a military veteran now testifying at consumer affairs cmte budget hearing.”

A source at the meeting said Mr. Gentile was not the only council member missing from the five-member consumer affairs committee. Only the chairman of the committee, Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal, and Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras were present–Council members Rory Lancman and Karen Koslowitz, in addition to Mr. Gentile, did not attend the preliminary budget hearing. With the large amount of committees in the Council, it is not uncommon for council members to be missing from certain hearings.

Mr. Gentile and Mr. Donovan, a Republican, have been fund-raising in Washington, D.C. this week, but it’s not immediately clear where Mr. Gentile was today. A spokesman for Mr. Gentile did not reveal his whereabouts.

“It is telling that on the same week Dan Donovan was publicly criticized for his allegiance to the national Republican party, their national press secretary begins to start doing his dirty work for him,” said the spokesman. “His newfound partisan pit bull should keep barking in Washington because New Yorkers want results not rhetoric.”

The jab from the NRCC is notable because it represents the first time any Republican has chosen to target Mr. Gentile, an underdog in the race for the 11th Congressional District. Mr. Donovan, a Staten Island resident in the Staten Island-based district, is expected to win the low turnout special election; Brooklyn lawmakers have historically struggled to win the seat.

But Mr. Gentile is running an energetic race so far while Mr. Donovan mostly ignores him. Both candidates have remained off the campaign trail to focus on fund-raising.

The special election is set for May 5.

Updated with comment from Mr. Gentile. ‘Where’s Vinny?’ National GOP Launches First Attack Against Vincent Gentile