By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
There was no summer vacation for Republican-Conservative U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm or his Democratic opponent Domenic Recchia. In fact, things are just starting to heat up in this race as Labor Day approaches.
On Aug. 20, Recchia unveiled his first television commercial, a spot called “Saturday.” In it, the former Brooklyn councilmember appears to be offering the voters a look at his life as a husband and father as he goes about his business in both the Brooklyn and Staten Island ends of the district.
"This ad showcases why I got involved in this race nearly two years ago," Recchia said. "I believe that this district deserves new leadership that can be trusted to fight for working families each and every day. As a husband, father, and small business owner, I understand what it’s like for middle class families in this district, whether it’s traffic on your way home from work or to a baseball game or having to include tolls in our family budget. I’m going to be a voice for them and I won’t ever give up."
The 11th Congressional District, which Grimm has represented since 2010, is made up largely of Staten Island (that borough takes up two-thirds of the district) and includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Gravesend in Brooklyn.
Grimm is in legal hot water. The incumbent was indicted in April on fraud, tax evasion and other charges stemming from alleged wrongdoing when he own a health food restaurant prior to his years in congress. Grimm allegedly paid his workers off the books and kept two sets of business records.
Bensonhurstbean.com reported that the “Saturday” ad appears to be an attempt by Recchia to bolster his credibility in the Staten Island portion of the congressional district.
Recchia also touted his latest endorsement. Earlier this week, the New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) endorsed him. The endorsement took place at the state federation’s 2014 Committee on Political Education Convention
Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said that Recchia was “a fearless and effective voice for New York’s working families” during his years in the City Council. "He will bring that same leadership to Washington, fighting for good jobs, investment in our transportation infrastructure, and strong public services,” Cilento said.
“I’m thrilled to have the support of the New York State AFL-CIO. For decades, these hard-working New Yorkers have been advocating on behalf of working families for crucial issues facing the middle-class, such as American manufacturing, mass transit and infrastructure and education. I’m honored to receive their endorsement, and I look forward to having them by my side on the campaign.” Recchia said.
Grimm, fighting for his political life, claimed in a recent interview on the Fox Business Network show “CAVUTO” that he, not Recchia, is leading in the polls and that he will win on Election Day in November.
“We're leading, there's no question that we're leading. And that's why the Democrats are spending so much money now,” he told news anchor Neil Cavuto in the interview, which aired on Aug 13.
As for his legal troubles, Grimm said in the Fox Business Network interview that he is confident they won’t hold him back.
“I'm hanging in there. You know, I'm campaigning every day. And I have to tell you, what you don't see out there in the media is just how much support we have. Staten Islanders, Brooklynites have rallied around me. And that's really what gets me through the day. They keep, they come up to me in the street, shake my hand, hang in there, congressman, you're our guy, we're with you 100 percent. So we're campaigning hard and our numbers actually look a lot better,” the incumbent said.
Grimm also told Cavuto that he believes voters view his upcoming trial as a distraction.
“I think the people in my district see this as a distraction. And what they care about is the fact that I was there for them during Sandy, that I delivered a flood insurance bill when congress is broken and the president signed it. And that keeps people in their homes. Or that I passed legislation that actually created jobs, hundreds of jobs. So I think that they care about what I'm doing,” Grimm said.