The latest entry in the NY1’s Political Unit’s "Fight For the House" series looks at the battle for Staten Island's congressional seat between Rep. Michael Grimm and Mark Murphy. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Staten Islanders en route to the ferry were greeted by an unfamiliar face this week: Mark Murphy, who is running for Congress.
"I am everywhere in Brooklyn and Staten Island," Murphy said. "And Michael Grimm, he complains because he is scared."
Murphy, a Democrat and former actor, is challenging one-term Rep. Michael Grimm, an ex-Marine and FBI agent. They are fighting to represent a district that covers all of Staten Island and a slice of Brooklyn.
Typically seen as GOP territory, scandals surrounding the congressman meant some Democrats, like Murphy, saw an opening.
"I think we draw a very clear contrast between someone who wants honest leadership, effective leadership and somebody who clearly does not stand for those things," Murphy said.
During his first term in office, a Grimm fundraiser was charged with immigration fraud, charges that are part of a larger ongoing federal investigation into Grimm's campaign. Murphy is trying to capitalize on it.
Grimm has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. He says he will be fully exonerated.
"I guarantee this is going to reverse on them and that the people are going to see the work I am doing, they are going to pay attention and they are going to vote for me even more," Grimm said in February.
So far, that's the case. Grimm remains popular as Murphy struggles to gain traction.
Grimm says Murphy is just mudslinging.
"There should be some respect, some level of decency that my opponent does not have," Grimm said on Oct. 15.
It's no secret that Murphy has an uphill battle here on Staten Island. A recent poll put Grimm 10 points ahead. And while Murphy has he has been spending his time fundraising, Grimm is in the lead there too. Grimm has raised nearly three times more than Murphy this year.
While some Democrats have come to Murphy's side, it's unclear if it's working so far.