Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile separately spoke with the press following the 11th Congressional District candidate debate Tuesday night.
Many of the questions for Donovan, the Staten Island District Attorney, focused on domestic violence conviction statistics for his office. During the debate Gentile was critical of what he described as poor results by Donovan’s office. Donovan dismissed that criticism as misguided and proceeded to discuss some of the many challenges inherent in prosecuting domestic violence cases. I asked Donovan about Senate Republican delays on acting on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General. As the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Lynch’s area of jurisdiction includes Staten Island. Donovan express unambiguous support for Lynch’s nomination. A final question addressed Sandy recovery issues.
Question topics for Gentile included his criticisms of Donovan on domestic violence prosecutions and, in several iterations, how he would produce any meaningful results in a Republican-dominated House.
The race to succeed Michael Grimm moved into a higher gear Tuesday evening as three candidates met for a sharp, sometimes raucous debate. Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile, Green Party candidate James Lane and Republican/Conservative/Independence parties candidate Dan Donovan faced off in Bay Ridge in front of a crowd of more than 100 people.
After opening statements the evening consisted entirely of questions asked by the audience. Many were solid, meaningful questions even if they often made clear the questioner’s view on the answer. Among the exceptions was this question, which generated the most raucous few minutes of an energetic gathering:
Here’s an additional clip from shortly after the episode shown in the clip above. The woman featured in the clip above moved to the back of the room, shouting and heckling the next questioner and the candidates. As this clip begins Green Party candidate James Lane is responding to the question in the prior clip.
Congressional candidates Dan Donovan and Vincent Gentile separately answered questions at a Staten Island candidate forum Monday evening. With a little editing we present their head-to-head answers on a few select questions.
The forum, sponsored by “The Middle Class Action Project“, featured the candidates in sequential appearances. Both candidates were asked an identical set of questions, heavily focused on manufacturing, international trade, unions and workers rights. The forum also had a candidate dispute over the format, with Gentile asserting that it was originally intended as a debate and was changed at Donovan’s insistence to separate, sequential appearances. Donovan’s staff insisted that was not true.
The following video excerpts combine Donovan’s and Gentile’s respective answers to specific questions.
Fast Track Trade Agreements & TPP:
The candidates were asked if they “support fast track trade authority”, both generally and specifically concerning the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both opposed fast track trade authority. Donovan expressed general discomfort, saying that “we shouldn’t fast track anything.” Gentile focused on the usurpation of congressional authority inherent in such fast tracking. Both expressed opposition to the TPP, although Donovan seemed less familiar with it, ending with a general statement that “all agreements … should be fair to America.” Gentile, who has sought to make the TPP a campaign issue, went through a list of reasons he opposes it.
Eric Massa, Christopher Lee, Anthony Weiner and Michael Grimm – which of these names is unlike the others? What do their similarities and differences portend for the 11th Congressional District special election?
With close to 20 aspiring presidential candidates Republicans have a wide range of personalities, experience and ideology to choose from as their presidential selection process moves forward. With such a wide range of options, a presidential selection can provide a worthwhile window into a voter’s views.
“I’ve never met any of the possible candidates” replied Republican congressional hopeful Dan Donovan when I asked whether he favors any of the many candidates. When I asked if that included former New York governor George Pataki Donovan modified his answer, pointing out (correctly) that Pataki says he’s not yet a candidate despite repeated recent visits to New Hampshire and Iowa. (Pataki has said that he’s “likely to become a candidate.”)
Here’s what Donovan had to say:
We spoke at a press conference Wednesday at which Donovan received the endorsement of the MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association.
Electoral opponents Republican Dan Donovan and Democrat Vincent Gentile are elected officials who serve neighboring districts, Donovan as Staten Island district attorney and Gentile as a council member who’s district includes the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. As a state senator Gentile represented part of Staten Island, albeit before Donovan was elected to office.
What’s the nature of their pre-campaign relationship? Here’s what Donovan had to say. We spoke at a press conference today where Donovan received the endorsement of the MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association.
The NYPD’s Captains Endowment Association and Lieutenants Benevolent Association endorsed Republican Dan Donovan in the 11th Congressional District special election scheduled for May 5th. Donovan, as the Staten Island District Attorney, is well known to both unions.
Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association, cited Donovan’s personal integrity and a long-term reduction (which began before Donovan became DA) in crime on Staten Island. Both Richter and Lieutenants Benevolent Association president Lou Turco cited September 11th, both with respect to funding for ongoing security and the continuing effort to pass a reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Two main programs under the Zadroga Act expire in 2015.
Donovan’s remarks included a moment of silence commemorating the 12th anniversary of the murders of NYPD Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews (killed on Staten Island), the 22nd anniversary of the death of Detective Luis Lopez (killed during a buy-and-bust operation in Manhattan) and the 29th anniversary of the death of Donovan’s father. He spoke harshly of the actions of “our government” in telling World Trade Center emergency responders that “it was safe to go there, that the air quality was ok” and now “telling them that we’re not going to fund the healthcare for those brave people,” pledging to push the Zadroga Act reauthorization.
Here are selected excerpts from their statements:
The Q&A included the following:
The two union leaders spoke well of Donovan’s opponent, Democratic Council Member Vincent Gentile, noting that they have endorsed him in his council races.
At a press conference today the Captains Endowment Association and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association endorsed Republican candidate, and Staten Island District Attorney, Dan Donovan over Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile in the 11th congressional district special election. Both CEA and LBA had endorsed Gentile in his races for City Council.
Here’s how CEA President Roy Richter and LBA President Lou Turco responded when I asked for their view on Gentile.
When I asked for his view on the letter Donovan replied with a suggestion of disagreement, saying “I think our government has to get on the same page” and “I think sometimes politics gets in the way of governing”, but did not offer any clear statement on the letter. When I asked if his initial response meant that he “think[s] it was a bad idea to send that letter” Donovan replied “I just said what I said.” Donovan spoke at a press conference where he received the endorsement of the NYPD’s Captains Endowment Association and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association.
Governor Andrew Cuomo had kind words for the expected Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election. That election will select a successor to Michael Grimm, who resigned on January 5th after pleading guilty to a federal crime. Republican county leaders in Brooklyn and Staten Island, who select their party’s candidate in this special election, have settled on Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan.
I asked Cuomo about his relationship with Donovan, whose tenure as DA overlapped with Cuomo’s term as attorney general, and what he thinks of Donovan as a candidate. Cuomo spoke highly of Donovan, adding that “I don’t know that I’ll be taking a position in the race.” Cuomo’s endorsement could be influential as he won this district with 60,973 votes in November over Republican Rob Astorino’s 44,385, and an absence of Cuomo support for the Democratic candidate would be a victory for the Republican candidate. Donovan’s professional biography includes running in 2010 as the Republican candidate for New York State Attorney General, hoping to succeed Cuomo. Donovan lost to Democrat Eric Schneiderman.
Cuomo issued a proclamation this morning setting this special election for May 5th.