After seriously considering a run for city comptroller and flirting with the idea of running for Brooklyn borough president, southwest Brooklyn City Councilmember Domenic Recchia has announced that he will run in 2014 for Congress, with the aim of challenging incumbent Republican Congressmember Michael Grimm in the 11th Congressional District, that covers portions of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, and all of Staten Island.
In a statement released on Sunday, February 17, Recchia – who is currently the Council’s Finance Committee chair – explained, “I am running because I believe we need leadership in Washington that gets results, leadership that can be trusted, and leadership that is willing to stand up and fight for a better future for the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn.
“The challenges facing our country are daunting, and in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the challenges facing the 11th District, in particular, are arduous,” Recchia said. “The current leadership in Congress has shown time and again that it is more interested in finding who to blame for problems, rather than sitting down to solve them.
“I’m not interested in that kind of politics,” he went on. “I’m running to make a difference and now, more than ever, the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn need a representative in Washington who knows how to get results. I have a record of doing just that—tackling big issues and working across party lines to get big results for the people of New York.”
But, to make it to the 2014 general election, Recchia may first have to come out on top in a primary battle, with some insiders saying that former Congressmember Michael McMahon, who was defeated by Grimm in 2010, is seriously considering trying to take back his old seat.
McMahon, who represented portions of Staten Island in the City Council before running for Congress, was in attendance at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City address on February 14, fueling speculation that he is considering a comeback.
But, local political pundit Ralph Perfetto, who served as a Democratic district leader for 18 years, doesn’t think McMahon will be throwing his hat into the ring. “I think that after he lost, he made peace with himself,” Perfetto said, adding that he believes Recchia to be the kind of candidate who would appeal to Democratic activists and organizations.
“He has a progressive agenda, he’s young, he’s done a great job in the Council, and he has a way of reaching people,” Perfetto stressed, noting, however, that coming from Brooklyn could be a bit of a disadvantage since the borough represents only about 30 percent of the district, with Staten Island representing by far the larger percentage of the district.
“Staten Islanders are comfortable with one of their own,” Perfetto said, “but someone like Domenic Recchia would be the kind of person who could break that.”
Grimm is the only Republican congressmember in the New York City delegation, and one of only a handful of Republicans – State Senator Marty Golden, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and City Councilmember James Oddo being the others – who represent Brooklyn. Like Grimm, the majority of Malliotakis’ and Oddo’s districts are in Staten Island. State Senator Simcha Felder is a Democrat who is caucusing with the Republicans in Albany.