It was Rudy Giuliani Time today on Staten Island’s South Shore, as he swept through in support of Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan. Greeting shoppers at a Hylan Boulevard ShopRite, visiting the NYPD’s 122nd Precinct and stopping at the Arrochar Friendship Club Giuliani was an effective surrogate, drawing attention to Donovan and to the upcoming unusual Spring election on his second visit in five days for Donovan. Our photo gallery of Giuliani’s visit is here.
For Donovan, already well-known on Staten Island, the Giuliani visits have been an effective way to connect with his base. Giuliani remains extraordinarily popular with them and using his star power to draw the base out, rather than attempting to sway non-Donovan voters, is a meaningful boost for Donovan.
Giuliani received an extremely warm reception in all three spots, with a few additional warm wishes shouted from passing cars as he and Donovan walked from the ShopRite to the 122nd Precinct. “Rudy, we need you back” drew an appreciate chuckle.
Does Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan support congressional Republican efforts to block the use of social security retirement taxes to fund social security disability payments? It’s hard to say.
The social security disability fund is projected to be unable to pay it’s full obligations as soon as next year. In the past, social security disability payments have been partly funded with money intended for the bigger and better-funded social security retirement account. Congressional Republicans have begun moving to block such transfers, with a social security disability funding shortfall projected to occur in 2016. Donovan often speaks of the importance of “protecting” social security, but without a detailed discussion of what that would entail. Should he be elected he’ll be part of a House Republican Conference intent on reducing social security benefits, however.
Donovan responded to my question seeking his view on the possible funding transfer by discussing the importance of addressing fraudulent claims. That’s important, but not a solution to the difficult challenge of funding social security disability payments. When pressed, he spoke of the importance of preserving the “trust fund”, suggesting that he would not support diverting retirement account money from the “trust fund” to make disability payments.
Does Staten Island District Attorney and Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan share Rudy Giuliani’s view that Mayor Bill de Blasio bears some responsibility for the murders of NYPD Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu? It’s hard to say, as Donovan avoided directly answering that question on Tuesday. At a Donovan fundraiser Saturday Giuliani asked the crowd “do you think [the killer] would have shown up here when I was mayor?”
Here’s how Donovan responded when I asked him whether he shares Giuliani’s view:
“It’s a Republican.” That was Dan Donovan’s frequent reply as he worked the crowd at the Mount Loretto Friendship Club, a senior center at the southwest corner of Staten Island on Tuesday. Sharing that, at age 58, he’s about have his first child produced excitement, some applause and a bit of befuddlement with many asking the age old question: Boy or girl?
Dan Donovan’s Saturday morning fundraiser featured Rudy Giuliani. Although Giuliani praised Donovan his primary focus was attacking Democrats, especially President Barack Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Here’s a brief excerpt in which Giuliani essentially lays blame for the December murders of NYPD Detectives Ramos and Liu on Bill de Blasio:
Dan Donovan dismissed complaints that he’s participated in too few forums and confirmed that he does not plan to attend any additional candidate forums or debates ahead of the May 5th 11th Congressional District special election. Donovan has participated in three forums/debates, not attending an additional four forums held by various groups. We spoke with Donovan outside of a Chinatown press conference where he received the endorsement of the Lin Sing Association.
Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile and Green Party candidate James Lane participated in a candidate debate Wednesday in Bay Ridge. Republican/Conservative/Independence Parties candidate Dan Donovan was invited but did not attend. Hosted by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center, the debate also included a self-described write-in candidate, Tom Weiss, despite the moderator’s efforts to limit the debate to Gentile and Lane. The candidates face a May 5th special election to fill the 11th Congressional District seat vacated by Michael Grimm.
So said one of the audience members questioning, and complaining about, the inclusion of a slice of southern Brooklyn in the Staten Island-dominated 11th Congressional District. It’s a reverse of the more common refrain from Staten Islanders who often feel politically neglected and marginalized.
Neither Democrat Vincent Gentile nor Green Partier James Lane quite got it right in their response, however. Gentile was reasonably close, noting that the state legislature, not congress, is responsible for drawing district lines. He omitted the fact that the current lines were actually drawn by a court-appointed expert as part of a federal lawsuit in 2012, however, and that the 11th district is a reasonable, coherent district. Lane lamented the process and effects of gerrymandering without appearing to know that it’s not an accurate description of how the current congressional district lines were drawn nor of the composition of the current congressional districts.
Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile has received little outside support so far as he campaigns toward a May 5th special election. The 11th Congressional District seat he’s seeking is widely regarded as likely to stay Republican despite former Rep. Michael Grimm’s guilty plea to federal tax evasion and subsequent resignation. Democrats have had some recent success there, however, with Andrew Cuomo winning the district this past November and Barack Obama winning Staten Island (which comprises most of the district) in his 2012 reelection. Neither has given any visible support to Gentile.
With Cuomo’s significant 2014 margin of victory in the district his support could be meaningful for Gentile. In February, on the day that Cuomo set the election date and before Gentile was selected as the Democratic candidate, Cuomo suggested that he would not get involved in the race and offered kind words about Republican Dan Donovan.
I asked Gentile about the absence of significant outside Democratic support and whether he plans to ask Governor Cuomo for his endorsement. Here’s what he had to say:
Here is our photo gallery from New York’s most recent congressional candidate debate. The Bay Ridge Council On Aging hosted a debate this morning featuring candidates in the 11th Congressional District special election. The May 5th special election will select a successor to former Congressman Michael Grimm in a district which includes all of Staten Island and a crescent shaped slice of southwestern Brooklyn.
The debate, held at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center in Bay Ridge, included Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile and Green Party candidate James Lane. Republican/Conservative/Independence parties candidate Dan Donovan was invited but did not attend. His absence drew considerable condemnation from Gentile and Lane. A self-described write-in candidate, Tom Weiss, was not invited but nonetheless participated despite repeated objections from the moderator.
During an 11th Congressional District candidate debate Tuesday evening, both Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile acknowledged smoking marijuana. The question was posed during a “lightning round” by moderator Errol Louis in which the candidates were asked for yes/no answers (and occurs at about 35:45). As the Staten Island District Attorney Donovan oversees prosecution of marijuana and other drug charges.
After the debate I asked Donovan when and how frequently he had smoked marijuana:
NY1 and the Staten Island Advance hosted an 11th Congressional District candidate debate Tuesday evening between Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile. Held at the College of Staten Island, the debate topics ranged from whether the candidates have ever smoked marijuana to how to deal with Israel, Iran and the deep issues raised by President Obama’s recent executive orders on immigration.
Both candidates spoke with the press following the debate.
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