Rep. Michael Grimm's threat against a NY1 reporter is attracting international attention, and is putting a new focus on his bid for re-election in November, but as a Republican Staten Islander, he is still seen as having the advantage in the matchup. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Dominic Recchia has been busy. The former Brooklyn City Councilman is running for Michael Grimm's congressional seat, and the Republican's threat of a NY1 reporter has the Democrat retooling his uphill bid. He's already sent out a fundraising pitch.
"What kind of a role model, what kind of an example is he setting?" Recchia said. "This is not the kind of Congress member that we need in NY-11."
NY-11 is a district spanning all of Staten Island and a small part of Brooklyn. Grimm first won in 2010, holding on to it again two years later by a narrower margin. The Republican was dogged by accusations of fundraising improprieties.
Grimm hasn't been charged and says he's done nothing wrong. Staten Island political scientist Richard Flanagan says that may be beside the point.
"It brings national attention, and certainly a lot of local attention, to this investigation that's been over his head about campaign finance in his first race for Congress in 2010," Flanagan said. "So it wasn't a good day for him at all."
Does that mean Recchia wins? Not so fast. Grimm's opponent comes from the Brooklyn side of the district. That's seen as disadvantage number one. Disadvantage number two is that Democrats have had extremely limited success in winning this district. In fact, they've only held it for two of the last 33 years.
Republicans are outnumbered on Staten Island, but are seen as more fervent voters, and so far, Republicans are standing with Grimm.
"I found this incident unfortunate, but I'm happy that he did apologize, and let's, hopefully, we can move forward," said City Councilman Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island.
Forward on a political story that could get messier yet. Grimm may face a primary challenge from former Rep. Vito Fossella. Fossella held the seat until 2008, when he didn't run for re-election amid his own scandal. An extramarital relationship was exposed.
Fossella says he's keeping the door open.