Rep. Michael Grimm's re-election campaign is ramping up. He held a rally and fundraiser on Saturday, while his Democratic challenger formally jumped into the race on the other side of Staten Island. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Rep. Michael Grimm is gearing up for one tough re-election.
"Know this to my opponent: If you want to get in the arena with Mike Grimm, you better pack a lunch," Grimm said at a rally Saturday.
"Mr. Grimm can be a little pugnacious," said Domenic Recchia, Grimm's Democratic challenger. "Well, starting now, he has to pick on somebody his own size."
Those metaphorical punches were being thrown on Staten Island, just the first round in a congressional race that's sure to draw the attention of party loyalists across the country.
Supporters of Michael Grimm held a re-election rally and fundraiser, attempting to drum up support for the Republican who has faced scandal after scandal, from threatening a NY1 reporter to a federal fundraising investigation that has ensnared two people affiliated with his campaign.
"They only tackle the guy with the ball," Grimm said. "And you know what? We have the ball here on Staten Island."
"Staten Island often doesn't get the attention it deserves. Well sometimes, it doesn't get the congressman it deserves," Recchia said.
Recchia, a former member of the City Council, formally announced his candidacy Saturday, just six miles from Grimm's rally.
"I'm going to be a better Congress member," Recchia said. "I'm going to go to be able to go to Washington and get what the community needs."
"Nobody intelligent can respect Grimm," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
While the congressman's campaign has clearly been surrounded by some controversy, supporters on Saturday said that he does not face an uphill battle.
"I think it's a battle which he's going to win really easily," said John Antoniello, chairman of the Staten Island GOP.
As for the congressman himself, he wasn't interested in engaging with our cameras. Grimm refused to take questions from NY1 following his speech.
"I am not going to do interviews today, but thank you. Appreciate it," he said.
Shortly later, he ducked out.