By Helen Klein
Two Brooklyn Republicans are slamming “law-and-order” Congressional candidate Michael Grimm, saying he used their names in a fund-raising letter without their permission.
With the Brooklyn GOP expected to endorse native son Michael Allegretti in his run against freshman Rep. Mike McMahon (D–Bay Ridge), District Leaders Elaine Guido and Vincent Bocchino assailed Grimm after he wrongly implied that they were backing him.
“We never gave consent for this to take place, nor have we acknowledged public support for either [GOP primary] candidate as of this date,” they wrote. “We are strongly leaning toward Michael Allegretti and this only furthers our inclination to support him.”
Grimm defended his claim that Guido and Bocchino were initially supporters of his, saying that the two district leaders had merely backpedaled after being intimidated by Brooklyn GOP officials who support Allegretti.
“After I released [the district leaders’ names] to the press, I learned that they were called to a meeting by higher level leaders of the Brooklyn Republican Party — where they received a great deal of pressure to take back their support,” Grimm said. “This is wrong and I will not accept it. My opponents have every right to challenge me on ideas and issues, but they do not have the right to threaten my supporters.”
Guido called Grimm’s version of events “totally not true.”
The battle between Grimm and Allegretti may reflect the jockeying for position of party leaders on either side of the Narrows to regain control of the Brooklyn-Staten Island House seat that was held by a Republican for three decades until McMahon snagged it in 2008.
Grimm, a Staten Islander whose conservative creds include being a Gulf War vet as well as a former FBI agent, has the backing of Staten Island Republican powerhouse Guy Molinari, while Allegretti — the scion of the Bayside Fuel Oil family, and a policy adviser for the not-for-profit Climate Group — has received the endorsement of state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), the only party member to represent the borough.
Before McMahon, the seat was held by Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge), who was forced to abandon his re-election campaign after a drunk driving arrest led to revelations that the supposed family man Fossella actually had a second family in Virginia.
Despite Fossella’s fall, Republicans still drool over the seat, which has been in the red column for decades. Registered Democrats do outnumber Republicans in the district by nearly 2–1, but the district remains more conservative than others in the city. After all, John McCain took it from future president Barack Obama, 52-48 percent.
It remains unclear if either GOP hopeful can capitalize on the district’s right-leaning tendencies. Both Grimm and Allegretti are well behind McMahon in the fundraising department. By the end of the first quarter of 2010, McMahon had raised $1,490,302, compared to $497,321 by Grimm and $415,302 by Allegretti.