Earlier today, the influential AFL-CIO rolled out its endorsements of Democratic congressional candidates across the state, only skipping three districts out of twenty seven. Two of those districts feature safe Democratic and Republican incumbents, Gregory Meeks and Peter King respectively, but one of them stands out: Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm, a top target of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“I think there’s support for both candidates,” Ryan Delgado, AFL-CIO’s public policy director, told us, explaining that they have “to be respectful of both candidates” when their membership is split.
“I’m terribly sorry that I have to be here today not talking about the issues that are so, so important to our community,” Mark Murphy said at a press conference outside of his congressional campaign headquarters earlier this afternoon. “The issues of protecting Medicare, protecting Social Security, the issues of making sure the middle class gets their tax cuts, making sure that our children have a chance at a better future.”
Instead, Mr. Murphy said, he was drawn out to speak on the issue of Ofer Biton’s arrest for immigration fraud. Mr. Biton reportedly helped Mr. Grimm raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his initial campaign and was a key figure in the original New York Times allegations that Mr. Grimm extorted money from a rabbi’s congregation.
“I’m here today because I’ve been walking our district in Brooklyn and in Staten Island and I’ve been talking to thousands of people,” Mark Murphy, the Democratic candidate against GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, declared at a perss conference earlier today. “I hear so many people ask me so many of the same questions — this is Democrats, this is Republicans, this is Conservatives, this is Independents — ‘Can’t we have honest leadership? Don’t we deserve honest leadership?’”
He added, “I say to them, ‘Yeah, you do.’”
in the clear?
Earlier today, the Staten Island Advance reported that the House Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously to clear GOP Congressman Michael Grimm of any ethics violations while in office. Mr. Grimm, who has been facing serious fundraising allegations and an FBI inquiry, was understandably happy and touted the results.
“I welcome the unanimous recommendation of the Office of Congressional Ethics to dismiss this matter, and respect the system in place to uphold the highest ethical standards for those who serve in Congress,” Mr. Grimm said in a statement. “I continue to remain focused on working tirelessly for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn by fighting for the issues that matter most to them, whether it’s toll relief, creating local jobs, or protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”
You've Got Mail
Republican Congressman Michael Grimm got a mail-oriented boost to his reelection campaign today with endorsements from the New York State Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. Mr. Grimm is looking to thwart Democrat Mark Murphy this November and has been steadily accumulating smaller unions in his efforts to do so.
And, in his statement announcing the backing, Mr. Grimm made sure to point to the fact that he has personally spent time with postal workers, having featured the profession in one of his “On the Job” events.
GOP Congressman Michael Grimm lost the Independence Party’s ballot line when he did not turn in enough valid signatures from voters in the district, but he appealed the decision arguing that a systemic problem with the Board of Elections unfairly placed obstacles in his signature-gathering efforts. However, this afternoon, the judge ruled against Mr. Grimm and he will remain off that section of the ballot, according to two Democratic tipsters closely following the race.
“We feel we have strong, strong grounds,” former borough president Guy Molinari, a top adviser to Mr. Grimm’s campaign, initially told the Staten Island Advance. “We’re talking about something very serious.”
A couple weeks ago, The Politicker reported GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s petitions for the Independence Party line on the ballot were being challenged by lawyers working for his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy. And, earlier this afternoon, the Board of Elections unanimously sided with Mr. Murphy and officially booted Mr. Grimm off the line, which will now be blank in November.
It’s fairly uncommon for sitting incumbents to lose third party lines as they tend to have the resources and the operations to easily gather a sufficient number of signatures. Indeed, Mr. Grimm’s campaign expressed a lot of confidence when the general objection to his signatures first emerged, suggesting the story was the product of “a slow news day.”
Last night, candidates for federal office submitted their petitions to be on the primary and general election ballots. Rival campaigns, through proxies, now have the chance to object to their signatures and see if enough can be ruled invalid to disqualify them from the party line.
This is exactly what has already happened with GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s bid to be nominated by the Independence Party, which he declared was a “game changer” when he initially announced their backing. However, the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, is questioning whether he turned in enough valid signatures to bring that endorsement into effect.
On Inside City Hall last night, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney debated GOP Congressman Michael Grimm over taxes and the budget, and while Ms. Maloney contended the current tax system unfairly benefits the wealthy, Mr. Grimm agreed the system is unfair, but went in the opposite direction, saying, “47% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes. To me, that’s unfair.” He added later that the tax system needs to “broaden the base” to help address the country’s revenue problem.
“The top 1% already pay 40% of all federal taxes, the top 10% pay already pay two thirds,” Mr. Grimm explained, contending efforts to raise taxes on the rich constitutes class warfare. “That’s more than any other industrialized nation in the world. So to say they’re not paying their fair share is just not true.”
In a statement today, however, Mr. Grimm’s Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, took issue with Mr. Grimm’s tax plan, suggesting the Staten Island Republican is more interested in the economic well-being of “people who buy $1,000 bottles of champagne and lap dances at Scores” than hardworking New Yorkers.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had some fun PhotoShopping Republican Rep. Michael Grimm in a press release today.
The DCCC used the presidential primary coming to New York later this month to highlight a possible fallout between Mitt Romney and Mr. Grimm following allegations of illegal fundraising to create a poster similar to the movie He’s Just Not That Into You.