‘Novice’ to challenge Rep. Grimm for Ridge seat

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A political nobody who has only voted once in his life came out swinging against freshman Rep. Michael Grimm, announcing last Thursday his candidacy to represent Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and calling the incumbent a “mouthpiece” for the Republican elite.

Alex Borgognone, 30, of Staten Island, said that he’s challenging Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) because the Tea Party favorite has failed to create any jobs, and because he backed a controversial GOP budget plan that would have all but ended Social Security and Medicare.

“Michael Grimm hasn’t provided any leadership for the community,” Borgognone said. “He’s got the wrong priorities — he’s got an agenda to end Medicare and Social Security.”

Grimm has had a high-profile first year in Congress. He co-sponsored 19 bills and has been a constant presence on cable talk shows, and a critic of the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill.

He also has fought to keep the Army Corps of Engineers at its home in Fort Hamilton, tacking language onto an appropriations bill to make it illegal for the fort’s biggest tenants to pull up stakes for tonier digs in Manhattan.

But Borgognone blasted the incumbent, calling him out for spending more time on TV than he does creating jobs.

“People are looking for common-sense solutions,” said Borgognone. “We don’t need a mouthpiece for the party bosses in Washington anymore.”

Borgognone, who was born in Bensonhurst and has lived on Staten Island for the past 21 years, co-owned the Little Cupcake Bakeshop on Third Avenue between 91st and 92nd streets. Since then, the former Republican — who admitted to only ever voting once in his life and referred to himself as a “novice” several times in the course of a 20-minute phone interview — has owned and run a chi-chi Italian restaurant in the Bronx.

“I have no political experience. I am a total novice,” he said. “My only experience is in business, and I think that’s where I would be helpful. What we do best in business is solve problems.”

But Borgognone would not say how he planned to create jobs and declined to comment on his stance on social issues, saying he would roll out his plan later.

Democratic donors appear to be taking the same “wait and see” approach.

Borgognone has not reported his campaign funds — though he claims to have raised around $30,000 at a fundraiser earlier this month. Meanwhile, Grimm had $629,141 cash on hand as of the end of September and raised more than $800,000 in the last year — nearly $500,000 of it from political action committees.

The announcement broke the silence among Democrats over who would stand up to Grimm — though several party hacks said that they had never heard of this newcomer, and doubted his chances.

Democrats — including Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and Mark Murphy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio — have been waiting to see if former Rep. Mike McMahon will run.

Grimm won McMahon’s seat in a tight 51-48.5 vote last year, riding a Tea Party wave of discontent.

McMahon, now a corporate and governmental affairs lawyer in Manhattan — who still has $27,000 in campaign treasury — declined to comment on his plans for the future.

But Borgognone is not waiting for his turn.

“I don’t think [McMahon] has dibbs whatsoever,” said Bob Olivari, Borgognone’s campaign adviser. “Waiting any longer than this puts you behind the eight-ball. If everyone sits around for McMahon and he decides not to run, we have no candidate.”

Grimm didn’t return a call, but issued a statement to rebuff Borgognone’s line of attack.

“These typical Democratic scare tactics may work in the Bronx, but they will not work on the seniors here in Brooklyn,” the statement said. “My constituents already know that I am fighting everyday to preserve Medicare and Social Security, so that current and future seniors will never be without these important benefits.”

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

You voted once in your life and now you are asking thousends of people to vote for you when you admit your only experience is in bussiness!!!

Well thats not all you need budy! I can see you lost your hair but you must have lost your brain too.

Get out of Staten Island and stick to the bronx!!
Oct. 25, 2011, 8:07 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
"...because the Tea Party favorite has failed to create any jobs ..." Maybe because Grimm's only been in office for less than 10 months and has to contend with a Congress full of left-wingers who think everyone should move to DC and work for the federal government. You can't create a job in Bay Ridge by hiring people in Washington, DC.

"and because he backed a controversial GOP budget plan that would have all but ended Social Security and Medicare." Typical Democract scare tactic. Nobody's is trying to end Social Security or Medicare (they'd just have to be replaced by expanding Welfare and Medicaid), but they can't stay on the current path without bankrupting the country.

Go back to baking cupcakes...and try knowing your facts before participating in the election process.
Oct. 25, 2011, 8:44 am
Ray from Dyker Heights says:
How did Borgognone get a taxpayer sponsored mortgage from NYS for his restaurant! This is unbelievable! A rich guy who owns three businesses and lives in Silver Lake can't afford a private mortgage? Who did he payoff to get taxpayer subsidy for a mortgage?
Oct. 25, 2011, 9:03 am
Tony from Bath Beach says:
Is that the same Alex Borgognone who starred in "Naked Boys Singing", the hit off-Broadway's musical comedy? The resemblance is uncanny!
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:46 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Oh my. I hope they find someone better to run. I don't know if I could vote for someone who has only voted once.

Of course, Mr. Mike from Bay Ridge up there is so full of hot hair that I would probably have to hold my nose and vote. Any Democrat who wouldn't vote to end Medicare is better than Republicans like Grimm who voted to do so. And any voter holding his nose and voting for a novice is better than Mike from Bay Ridge who is either misinformed or a liar.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:34 pm
Bob from Sheepshead Bay says:
Fortunately, Mike from Williamsburg can't vote in Grimm's district and will no doubt continue to vote for the Democrat representing Williamsburg, where jobs are plentiful and Medicare and FICA taxes are low.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:49 pm
OWS from Zuccoti Park says:
Good bless Mike from Williamsburg. We need NYC represented by more Democrats in DC so hold your nose and vote for whoever the boys in the smoke-filled room nominate. Who else will tax and spend us into prosperity? We desperately need more income redistribution in order to teach those people who dare to actuall work hard that OWS is in charge here.

Lets all support Borgobegone otherwise Brooklyn doesn't stand a chance of turning into a shining city on the hill, like Newark or Detroit or at least Flint, Michigan.
Oct. 25, 2011, 1:01 pm
Bob from Sheepshead Bay says:
Here's the perfect solution: raise taxes, but only on Democrats. You'll collect more money and reduce the number of Democrats because the more you tax something the less of it you get!
Oct. 25, 2011, 1:26 pm
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
I can count on one hand the times I've voted Republican in my lifetime. I did not vote for McMahon because of his gutless viewpoint on Healthcare Reform. I will not ever vote for Grimm.

I hope we get a better qualified Democratic but if this guy WAS it "Naked Boys Singing" I'll definitely vote for him. Could he be WORSE that the clowns in DC already?
Oct. 25, 2011, 2:03 pm
Vincent from Dyker Heights says:
I'm not sure what "...a better qualified Democratic... is, Barak Obama? If he's the new standard to go by then the city, state and country are all doomed.

Some people in this town seem to think it's better to vote for ANY Democrat, no matter how unqualified he is, than vote for a Republican who wants to keep America America instead of letting it go the way of Greece. Talk about self-defeating. It must be true then: people get the government they deserve.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:17 pm
Ace Rothstein from Morris Park says:
I am from the Bronx where Borgo has his restaurant. Take it from me, if Alex Borgognone is elected we will have a politician who never pays his vendors or bills in office. We will have a man (and I use the term loosely) who hides from people, and runs from people so he won't have to pay money that is owed to them. I have been trying to get him to pay me money that is owed from a job for almost a year now. I have given up ever getting it.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:48 pm
Ace Rothstein from Morris Park says:
I am from the Bronx where Borgo has his restaurant. Take it from me, if Alex Borgognone is elected we will have a politician who never pays his vendors or bills in office. We will have a man (and I use the term loosely) who hides from people, and runs from people so he won't have to pay money that is owed to them. I have been trying to get him to pay me money that is owed from a job for almost a year now. I have given up ever getting it.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:49 pm
Ace Rothstein from Morris Park says:
His restaurant and pizzeria are also filthy:


Violation points: 13

Inspection Date: 02/21/2008

Violations were cited in the following area(s) and those requiring immediate action were addressed.

Sanitary Violations
1.) Single service item reused, improperly stored, dispensed; not used when required.
2.) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.
3.) Lighting inadequate. Bulb not shielded or shatterproof.
4.) Toilet facility not maintained and provided with toilet paper, waste receptacle and self-closing door.
5.) Food contact surface not properly maintained.


Violation points: 22

Inspection Date: 02/12/2008

Violations were cited in the following area(s) and those requiring immediate action were addressed.

Sanitary Violations
1.) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.
2.) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
3.) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:51 pm
F. Rosenthal from Great Kills says:
That's nothing, remember Grimm's place.

Address: 1594 2 AVENUE, NY 10028
Phone: 212-988-8700

Violation Points: 30
Inspection Date: Oct 27, 2008
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:59 pm
Arnaldo from Bensonhurst says:
I am Italian and take one look at this guy and I see a stoop ginny trying to be something he's not.

Go back to baking cupcakes. The last thing we need is someone who will make everyone else think that Italians are all greaseball pizzaboys.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:59 pm
Arnaldo from Bensonhurst says:
So in other words, Grimm had less violations so he ran a better business! Thanks "F"!
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:01 pm
F. Rosenthal from Great Kills says:
Arnaldo, Grimm had 30 violations in a single visit; Borgo had less.
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:03 pm
Yossi from Borough Park says:
For a guy who doesn't like Republicans, it seems that Borgognone is friends with every single one them in the Bronx!

But then again this is the same guy who once was a Republican who planned to run against Democrat Jimmy Vacca. But wait, he said he only moved to the Bronx to supervise the construction of his restaurant. What gives?
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:05 pm
Yossi from Borough Park says:
Mr. Rosenthal, is that really a reason to replace a wonderful war veteran, FBI hero and a friend to Israel with this Jersey shore wannebe?
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:06 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
It IS better to vote for any Democrat in federal congressional elections. Do you want your backbencher to end social security and medicare or do you want your backbencher to defend it?

If you are against social security and medicare, then it would be better for you to vote for any Republican over any Democrat. But don't flatter yourself that you're independent-minded and vote for the person. That's not how this works.
Oct. 25, 2011, 5:30 pm
Kevin Carol's Pajamas says:
Is that Alex Borgognone or is that Evan Handler as Harry Goldenblatt from Sex And The City??
Oct. 25, 2011, 10:29 pm
Judahspechal from Bed-stuy says:
Just wondering, how much do attack bloggers get paid these days? Me and my homie need a j.o.b. We good writers! For real!
Oct. 26, 2011, 10:19 am
eddie from B Ridge says:
Hmmmmmmm ... Why the over-the-top anti-Borgognone overkill?
Grimm has problems.
Oct. 26, 2011, 11:09 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Judahspechal from Bed-stuy: less than the Occupy Wall Street attackers. I understand some of them get "donations" from unions and "sympathizers."
Oct. 26, 2011, 11:11 am
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
Mike Grimm has done nothing but whine about how Obama and the Democrats suck and only want to raise taxes.

Myth 1: Taxes and over regulation under this administration is a job killer.

Truth 1: Taxes are lower under the Obama Administration than ever before. The average income tax rate under Reagan in 1983 was 11.06 percent. Under Clinton in 1992, it was 9.18 percent. And under Obama in 2010, it was 4.68 percent. Historic Lows

Myth 2: Spending under the Obama Administration is higher than ever before.

Truth 2: Bush spent $5.07 trillion on new expenditures from fiscal years 2002-2009. Obama will have spent only $1.44 trillion through 2017, including saving $126 billion through spending cuts.

People need to do their homework and actually read reports that might take more than 30 seconds to read. The public is so dumb. Unless it can be said in 3 seconds like '9-9-9" or made in 3D for the big screen they don't wish to hear about it. People —— that pieces of legislation are 1000 pages long yet they fail to comprehend that when you enact changes or create new laws, like elected official do for a living, every change needs to me adjusted to the old law and that takes up pages.

What has Mike Grimm accomplished since being elected to Congress? I ask any of his supporters? Aside from saying No, No, No to everything and not come up with positive solutions what has he done? Aside from go on TV every day so he can look at himself what has he done? How are we better off now than we were before he became Congressman? And don't say "Change doesn't happen overnight. Give him time". You hypocrites haven't given this President time. Yet this President has had some sick accomplishments.

Obama Accomplishments in no particular order:

He saved the economy from ruin with a stimulus that was as large as possible given the political realities, presided over a stock market that fairly quickly recouped many of its losses, presided over almost consecutive monthly increases in private sector job growth albeit small, enacted the only meaningful healthcare reform ever in our history, passed financial reform, saved the auto industry (which Romney is on record opposing), fired the first salvo of the Arab Spring with his address in Cairo, drawn down our footprint in Iraq in a responsible way, stopped numerous terrorist attacks in this country, stopped torture as policy, repealed DADT, joined the international community in a measured and responsible way to bring down an odious tyrant in Qaddafi, and killed a whole generation of al Qaeda leaders. And taking out Osama bin Laden the way he did will go down as one of the bravest military actions in American history.

Yea this post was long. I hope some of you knuckleheads actually spent the time reading it.
Oct. 26, 2011, 12:10 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Pete, I read it, and I'm not impressed. Check out my list:

Obama will have an uphill battle in his bid for a second term when faced with these Top 10 Bad Signs:

1. Jobless rate: The unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at around 9%, with no sign of abating. Obama is reduced to running around the country touting his phony jobs bill and blaming others (President Bush, Japanese tsunami, Arab Spring, European debt, Tea Party) for the sad state of affairs.

2. Fast and Furious: The gunrunning saga is playing out as a classic Washington scandal that keeps getting bigger as “who-knew-what-when” is unraveled. With pit bull Rep. Darrell Issa putting Eric Holder on the hot seat, and possible tentacles into the White House, expect this one to heat up during the President’s reelection campaign.

3. Solyndra: The bankrupt solar-panel firm, which wasted half-a-billion dollars of taxpayer money while the White House was obsessed with a photo-op, is another scandal exploding at the worst time for Obama. Not only does it raise questions about the President steering federal funds to political supporters, it makes Obama’s promise of a green-jobs revolution look hopelessly naïve.

4. Poll numbers: Obama’s approval rating just keeps dropping, scraping the low-40s in poll after poll. Less than 20% of the population believes the country is on the right track. His base is depressed, he seemingly has lost the independent vote, and the enthusiasm of 2008 is gone for young voters.

5. Maxine Waters: It is cause for concern when the congresswoman from South Central Los Angeles goes on the attack against the first black President. His speech to the Congressional Black Caucus telling members to put on their slippers riled Waters, who complained that the President needs to understand the “pain and misery” the economy is causing. Also disillusioned are black voters who live in areas with high unemployment. Even a slightly depressed turnout in black areas will be a disaster on Election Day for Obama.

6. Herman Cain: The rise of support for Herman Cain from Republicans takes away one of Obama’s campaign cards—that the Tea Party is filled with racists. Should Cain get the GOP nomination, Obama will be matched against a skilled orator who would likely get a chunk of the black vote.

7. ObamaCare: The Supreme Court will likely rule on ObamaCare next year, reminding voters of the unpopular legislation just as the presidential campaign is in the homestretch. No matter how the court rules, reigniting the debate over health care will not be a winning issue for Obama.

8. Occupy Wall Street: Obama and Democrats hope the anticapitalism rally on Wall Street will spur the progressive version of the Tea Party, reenergizing the liberal base. But the Woodstock crowd could easily descend toward anarchy and make the Democratic convention next year in Charlotte, N.C., look the 1968 convention in Chicago, where Yippie-led riots ultimately aided Richard Nixon’s election.

9. Attack Watch: The Obama campaign outsmarted itself when it rolled out the AttackWatch website that asked citizens to send in examples of smears against the President. The venture quickly became an Internet joke, with a massive Twitter response that mocked the site. A typical tweet: “There's a new Twitter account making President Obama look like a creepy, authoritarian nut-job,”

10. Collapsing presidency: It is never good for an incumbent seeking reelection to have stories that speculate about his mental health. But stories in the media are questioning whether the President has lost interest in the job. The New York Post recently wrote that Obama is becoming increasingly isolated: “President Obama has become a lone wolf, a stranger to his own government … an isolated man trapped in a collapsing presidency."
Oct. 26, 2011, 12:41 pm
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
Mike I have no idea what your post has to do with mine. You are giving a political analysis on recent events, movements and individuals. That's fine. Bit it has nothing to do with what I posted. What I posted is indisputable and doesn't require political analysis or spin. Both Truths are fact. Yet people, and media outlets claim otherwise.
Oct. 26, 2011, 1 pm
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
BTW Mike,

You failed to answer any questions I had about what Grimm as accomplished and why he deserves to be reelected.
Oct. 26, 2011, 1:12 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
@Pete: It's a lot easier to cut and paste right wing talking points than actually think for yourself. He will answer your questions when his overlords tell him what to say.
Oct. 26, 2011, 1:30 pm
Bob from Sheepshead Bay says:
As I understand it, Grimm has been in Congress for less than 10 months and hasn't done anything to hurt the country so he doesn't deserve to be re-elected, while Obama has been in the White House for 34 months, is trying to wreck the country with his neo-Socialist, social-justice, collective-salvation BS that would make FDR and LBJ blush, and he deserves to be re-elected.

I'll take the right wing talking points to the left wing quest for Utopia any day.
Oct. 26, 2011, 2:03 pm
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
Again.... Bob throws hate bombs rather than provide factual evident to back up his claims.

Not one person can tell me why Grimm deserves to be re-elected or provide with me one ounce of what Grimm has accomplished since taking office.

The only jobs bill Mike Grimm supports is the one that gives dogs to Veterans to be their pets. I guess hes trying to lock up the K-9 vote.

What a joke. And Bob- you are better than that post man.
Oct. 26, 2011, 2:08 pm
Bob from Sheepshead Bay says:
Pete, I get the feeling you wouldn't vote for Grimm if he found a cure for cancer between now and his re-election and Mike wouldn't vote for Borgo if he could turn lead into gold between now and then. You two are symptomatic of how polarized the country is.

My money's on Grimm and whoever the GOP nominates getting the White House next time because Obama gives too many people the feeling that he's hoping to change America too much in a way they didn't elect him to last time.
Oct. 26, 2011, 2:59 pm
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
Again Bob. Can you answer my questions? All you do is play politics.

Give me a reason to vote for Mike Grimm. Not against his Democratic Challenger or against our President.

As a member of his district (something I think you are not, being in sheepshead bay) why should I vote for him? What has he done to earn my vote?

Forget Obama or Pelosi or Democrats. We are talking about Mike Grimm.

Why should I vote for him?
Oct. 26, 2011, 3:14 pm
Lacy from Fort Hamilton says:
It seems that you need only common sense to recognize that a 30 year old pizza chef from the Bronx is much less well suited to be our Congressman than the one we have, who is a decorated veteran and an accomplished FBI agent, and also a lawyer and an accountant.
Oct. 26, 2011, 8:44 pm
Pete from Bay ridge says:
I am not saying I would vote for cupcake boy. I am asking why mike Grimm deserves my vote. A guy who was in the FBI and is a marine vet is all fine and dandy but doesn't mean he'd be a good congresman.

Why should I vote for him? What has he accomplished? I think that's a very fair question.

Apparently his supporters dont have an answer.
Oct. 27, 2011, 7:29 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Pete, Grimm's website shows 19 bills he's sponsored and 100 bills he's co-sponsored (119 more than Borgo): Grimm Michael)

Not too shabby for someone in office less than a year.

However, I have a feeling--if you look at the lists at all--you'll come back and belittle each one and claim they're not sufficient to get your vote, not unless and until Grimm is able to support your agenda.
Oct. 27, 2011, 9:21 am
Pete from Bay Ridge says:
It doesn't take much to sign on to someone else's legislation. I bet if we pull up every member of congress theyd all have a ton of pieces of legislation they signed on to.

Big deal. Many do this purposely just to beef up their legislative record.

Again, I have yet to hear why he deserves my vote and why he should be reelected. You say he has 19 bills and 100 bills co sponsored. OK.

and lastly, I never said I would vote for Cupcake boy. In fact, I dont see myself voting for him either. Unless over the course of the campaign he gives me a reason to vote for him.
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:35 am

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