He wins endorsements despite threatening reporter
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm’s recent outburst against NY1 reporter Michael Scotto hasn’t hurt him with his base, if the political endorsements he’s getting are any indication.
Two weeks after Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) faced an avalanche of negative worldwide publicity over his threatening to throw Scotto over the balcony in the Capitol Rotunda, the congressman was endorsed by both the Brooklyn Conservative Party and its Staten Island counterpart on Feb. 10.
Jerry Kassar, chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, said his members were troubled by the Grimm-Scotto incident, but not enough to withhold the endorsement. The party voted unanimously to endorse Grimm for re-election.
“Did we discuss it? Yes, we did. But we discussed a great deal of things. And we feel comfortable with his answers,” Kassar told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Grimm is running for re-election in November. He is facing a challenge from former Coney Island councilman Domenic Recchia. Grimm was first elected to congress in 2010 and is now seeking his third term.
Grimm threatened to throw Scotto, NY1’s political reporter, off the balcony of the Capitol Rotunda when he objected to questions Scotto asked about a federal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in fundraising for his 2010 campaign. Scotto was interviewing Grimm about his reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, which had taken place earlier that evening.
Grimm’s angry outburst was captured on camera and the video soon went viral.
Grimm apologized to Scotto the next day and the reporter accepted the apology.
Kassar said the Conservative Party is standing behind Grimm because of his position on issues. “We look at national defense. We look at his tax policy. We look at his voting record. And we are happy with what we see,” he said.
In addition, Grimm’s district office has a strong record of constituent services, according to Kassar.
“Our unanimous endorsement of Congressman Grimm is a reflection of our organization’s belief that his continued service in congress will be beneficial to the people of Brooklyn and the core values of the Conservative Party,” Kassar said.
Harold Wagner, chairman of the Staten Island Conservative Party, said Grimm’s work on behalf of residents hit hard by Superstorm Sandy has won him a great deal of respect.
“Congressman Grimm's proven track record of delivering for the people of Staten Island, particularly after superstorm Sandy, has been immense, and we need him in congress to continue this important work," Wagner said.
Grimm said he was proud to receive the endorsements. “Our hard work together for the past three years has demonstrated that progress can be made in congress and that real results lead to a stronger economy and quality of life for hard working families here at home,” Grimm said.
“The party's recognition of my dedication to serving our community means the world to me," he said.
On Feb. 16, Grimm got even more good news. He picked up the support of the New York State Conservative Party.
"Congressman Grimm is the clear choice for Staten Island and Brooklyn" Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said.
“Time and time again, the congressman has demonstrated his unwavering dedication to the people in his district, whether it be delivering on Superstorm Sandy relief, fighting to repeal the president's job-killing healthcare law, to constantly advocating for toll reduction for residents and small businesses. We need and we deserve a leader like Michael Grimm in congress, and he has our full support for re-election," Long said.
Article was updated on Feb. 18 to include information on the New York State Conservative Party's endorsement of Grimm.