By Charles F. Otey, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C, Brooklyn-Staten Island) maintains his innocence in the face of 20 federal charges contained in his indictment and claims he is a “political” target because he is the only Republican member of Congress in New York City.
“I know I’m a moral man, a man of integrity,” he told one news outlet. “And I also know I have a lot more service and leadership to provide this country, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”
Many of those who have watched his performance over the past four years believe that Grimm will stick it out and still have a fair chance of getting re-elected in November in the very heated race with Democrat Domenic Recchia.
Meanwhile, Bay Ridge-Staten Island Republican-Conservative Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis says she will not enter the race (if Grimm leaves the ballot) “because we already have a congressman.”
And she means it.
Nationally, and in Washington, most Republicans are keeping their distance from the challenged representative. The National Republican Committee has shut Grimm out of funding, for the time being.
But the national ultra-negative perception of Michael Grimm and his alleged misdeeds differs substantially from what Staten Island and Brooklyn observers see.
Staten Island, which makes up two-thirds of the district, resents the idea of a politician from Brooklyn, in this case Recchia, representing its interests in Washington.
Recchia is a good candidate with solid support from key Brooklyn Democrats. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supposedly will rain down hundreds of thousands of dollars onto his campaign.
Angry Grimm backers note — correctly, it would seem — that the federal indictments could have come down anytime over the past year, but were not issued until after the deadline for another Republican-Conservative nominee to replace Grimm on the November ballot.
Some say the U.S. Attorney’s Office is above politics and would never time an indictment based on political considerations.
Could Malliotakis Change Her Mind and Run?
There remains the outside possibility that the very photogenic Assemblywoman Malliotakis, a far more attractive candidate than S.I. State Sen. Andrew Lanza, could be a congressional nominee in November.
She’s smart, personable, with a good sense of humor, and she isn’t afraid of challenging her critics when she feels she’s not being fairly treated. To win her first term, she had to defeat very talented incumbent Democrat Janele Hyer-Spencer, who had every bit of support possible from Democratic Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver.
This congressional district hasn’t had a female representative in Washington since the days of U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari, who was so well-liked that she was able to receive a Conservative Party endorsement even though her views on abortion were certainly not rigidly “pro-life.”