Vincent Gentile, a candidate for Congress, has experience representing the people of Staten Island, but do residents even remember it? NY1's Courtney Gross asked constituents and filed the following report.
City Councilman Vincent Gentile argues that he knows Staten Island enough to represent the borough in Congress.
"We Brooklynites and we Staten Islanders are all from the same neck of the woods," he said as he received the backing of the borough's Democratic party to run in a special election to replace disgraced Rep. Michael Grimm.
The councilman said he has served Staten Islanders in the past, in the State Senate about 13 years ago. So we visited his old constituents on the island, stopping by three different neighborhoods, asking whether they remembered thes Brooklyn lawmaker.
Gross: Do you recognize this guy?
Constituent: Vincent Ignizio? Matthew Titone? Andrew Lanza? No, not Andrew Lanza...Give me a first letter and I will know it.
OK, so maybe it's been a while. After all Gentile is just making it back on their radar.
Second Constituent: Yeah, it's that new gentleman running for Congress.
Gross: So you do remember him?
Third constituent: Yeah.
Fourth constituent: Just by TV, that's all.
Gross: Do you know his name?
Fourth constituent: No.
Fifth constituent: I've heard the name, yes.
Gross: Do you recognize this gentleman?
Sixth constituent: Vincent Gentile.
So he has some name recognition in this sliver of Staten Island. But the councilman has a whole other hurdle: Staten Island voters have not, in recent history, elected someone from across the bridge to go to Washington.
"The whole world comes from Brooklyn to Staten Island, as far as I am concerned," said one constituent.
"They probably don't know the needs of Staten Islanders," said another constituent.
I guess he may want to jog their memory first.
"He look very familiar, though," said one constituent.
Clearly, we are not polling all of Gentile's former constituents to see if they remember his days in the state Senate, but one can imagine the councilman will be trying to remind them between now and the special election on May 5.