Rep. Dan Donovan launched his re-election campaign Saturday by taking direct aim at his Republican primary opponent.
"He is trying to satisfy his own ambition with smoke and mirrors."
"The goal here is to drain the swamp, not add to it."
Donovan is facing off against his predecessor, former Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned in 2015 and then served federal prison time for tax evasion. It's a fact Donovan plans to capitalize on.
"As someone who didn't pay their federal taxes shouldn't be talking about a federal tax bill," Donovan said.
"Again he just has to keep coming up with the one thing he has, the witch hunt, Loretta Lynch and the witch hunt that took me down," Grimm said.
There is no question Grimm is trying to orchestrate a unprecedented political comeback.
NY1 met him at a Staten Island diner Saturday to get his take on Donovan's re-election kickoff.
Grimm is trying to tie Donovan to the left, arguing the congressman is not backing up the president.
"All he's done is go against his campaign promises. He promised to repeal Obamacare. He voted against that," Grimm said. "He votes against the president on the tax bill. He's deflecting his own abhorrent record. He has voted with the liberal democrats on the main issues than he has with our president, so of course he is going to make personal attacks."
Last year, Donovan voted against the GOP tax plan and its health care bill, arguing it would hurt his constituents.
"My opponent didn't have the right to vote because he lost that because of his federal conviction of a felony. He didnt lose the right to First Amendment. But he said nothing about President Trump during the election. Now, he is trying to cloak himself around the president. I think that shows the character of my opponent," Donovan said.
The primary is not until June so these candidates have months to clash on the campaign trail.