Normally I have a good sense of which way an election will sway with less than a month to go, but with Republican Rep. Michael Grimm against Democratic Challenger Domenic Recchia, it is simple to close to call.
Under federal indictment and abandoned by his national party, Conventional Wisdom says Grimm should not have a chance at all in the Staten Island-Southern Brooklyn Race, but polling indicates he still has a good shot.
Still, when its said and done, you have to give the clear edge to Recchia. The district may be Republican, but Recchia has the ground operation advantage coming from unions, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee buying ads.
Bottom line, as is always the case, whoever turns out their base, whoever’s base is the most energized will win.
Grimm has proven to be smart playing to the base, hammering Ricchia as too liberal for New York City’s most conservative district.
Grimm has also tied Recchia to Mayor de Blasio and the Rev. Al Sharpton in a TV ad. Staten Island was the only borough de Blasio lost in last year’s general election. Even Democrats know this race is not a walk in the park.
DCCC Chairman, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) was quoted in Newsday: “The DNA of that district will never make it a slam-dunk Democratic district,”
Democrats have cast Grimm’s character as the issue, and that was on full display as I was in the District Friday.
“People can’t wait until I’m elected, so they can be proud of their congressman, not embarrassed,” Recchia told me. That was a message echoed by a Recchia supporter standing at his side outside a local Firehouse , Democratic State Senator Diane Savino. (You can see the interview by clicking here)
Democrats have expanded the base in the district to give them a fighting chance,but they just can’t seem to escape Grimm’s image as a street fighter, like fiercely fighting for Staten Island during Hurricane Sandy.
Advantage goes to Recchia, but don’t be surprised if Grimm does not pull it out. Of course, then his federal trial would begin in December
Meanwhile the two candidates debate each other October 28th at the College of Staten Island. At 7 p.m. in the Williamson Theater in the Center for the Arts in New Springville.