Mike Grimm Trounces Establishment’s Choice in 13th Congressional Primary
Vito Fossella, the Brooklyn GOP and the Staten Island GOP all have one big thing in common.
None of them could hand Michael Allegretti the gold medal in the 13th Congressional District’s Republican primary.
I’m happy to report that my candidate, Mike Grimm, won the election in a landslide–so much so, the establishments of both boroughs of the district must be licking their wounds in shame right about now.
Congratulations are in order for Team Grimm, which ran a remarkable campaign and led the charge against the establishment-backed candidate.
Here are the final results.
Here’s the story from SILive.com:
BY TOM WROBLESKI and JUDY L. RANDALL
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Michael Grimm easily swept to victory in the GOP congressional party primary last night, setting up a November showdown with Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and dealing a crushing blow to the borough Republican Party organization.
“I am overwhelmed right now,” Grimm told a cheering throng at the Renaissance, Grant City, after opponent Michael Allegretti called him to concede the race.
With 100 percent of the vote counted, it was Grimm with 8,391 votes, or 69 percent, to Allegretti’s 3,832, or 31 percent. Grimm won each side of the congressional district decisively.
On Staten Island, it was Grimm, 6,797 votes, or 73 percent, and Allegretti, 2,573 votes, or 27 percent.
In Allegretti’s native borough of Brooklyn, Grimm won 1,594 votes or 56 percent, to Allegretti’s 1,259 votes, or 44 percent.
Grimm’s victory was a slap to former GOP Rep. Vito Fossella and members of the Island Republican Party, including state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Lou Tobacco (R-South Shore), who backed Allegretti.
“The whole bunch of them got wiped out,” said former Borough President Guy Molinari, a Grimm supporter, who said that Grimm won the balloting in the home election districts of Fossella, Lanza and Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Golden, another Allegretti ally.
“They’re not even smart enough to know what happened to them,” said Molinari, who was ailing and did not attend Grimm’s victory party.
In a nod to his Tea Party supporters and with an eye on other races last night, including Tea Party favorite Carl Paladino’s big victory over Rick Lazio in the GOP gubernatorial primary, Grimm told the crowd, “This is not about Michael Grimm’s victory. It’s much bigger than that. This is about a movement.”
The House race was a heated one, with Allegretti and Grimm trading accusations of negative campaigning. Allegretti hit at Grimm, a Marine Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent, for wearing military ribbons he hadn’t earned.
But Grimm, who has also been backed by the Conservative Party, last night said that the attacks had boosted him.
“The smear campaign turned it,” Grimm told the Advance. “The more negative they went, the better our numbers became. It backfired on them.”
But McMahon’s campaign spokeswoman, Lauren Amendolara, said Grimm “has not answered the personal character issues raised by his opponent during the primary.”
“Congressman McMahon has the utmost faith in the voters who have put their trust in him and looks forward to winning that confidence again on November 2,” she said in a statement issued by the McMahon campaign.
City Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore) bucked the party and endorsed Grimm. He said last night’s result “should send a message to anyone watching this race.”
“Many people did not like the fact that I endorsed Michael Grimm,” he said. “I thought he was the best candidate. Seventy percent of the voters agreed with me.”
Grimm entered the Renaissance ballroom to cheers along with Ignizio, County Clerk Stephen Fiala, Molinari Republican Club President Robert Scamardella and Brooklyn Conservative chairman Jerry Kassar.
Speaking to the crowd, Grimm touted the endorsements he’d received from Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Sarah Palin.
“I will not waver,” Grimm said. “I will not falter. Together, we will continue this success and take it all the way to November.”
New voting machines being used in the city for the first time caused delays in tabulating the vote. Allegretti called Grimm to concede around 10:15 p.m.
Speaking to supporters at his Dongan Hills campaign headquarters, Allegretti quipped, “I’m sorry I was late. I was out campaigning, but the poll sites were already closed.”
Speaking of Grimm, Allegretti said, “We should all applaud him on a job well done.”
The mood in the headquarters was somber, with supporters watching a New York Yankees game on television at one point during the night.
“Don’t be so quiet,” Allegretti said. “This was not in vain; it is the beginning of a walk down a path to take back this district.”
But Lanza and Tobacco would not say they would endorse Grimm.
“We’ll see what happens going forward, as the next couple of weeks unfold,” said Lanza.
Said Tobacco, “Tonight is about Michael Allegretti.”
Fossella was not in attendance, but his father, Vito Sr., was there for a time.
Aside from briefly introducing Allegretti, borough GOP chairman John Friscia made no formal remarks and left the headquarters without speaking to the Advance.
Alluding to the dissension that engulfed the Island party after Fossella left the House amid scandal in 2008, one veteran Republican blamed Allegretti’s loss on “the chaos of the past two years.
Looking toward a potential battle for the party leadership next year, Molinari said, “If they cared at all about the party, they would step aside. When you take a loss like this, you don’t show leadership.”
SILive continues their extensive and well-appointed coverage of this race.
We shall have further commentary and analysis in the coming hours, as well as what this means for the Brooklyn GOP establishment.