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.
During a candidate debate hosted by NY1 and the Staten Island Advance Republican Dan Donovan appeared to not know the federal minimum wage. His Democratic opponent, Vincent Gentile, asked him that question during a “cross examination” portion of the debate (at about 31:00). When asked about it during a post-debate Q&A with reporters, Donovan denied hearing the question as posed.
Gentile: Here’s what Gentile had to say about his minimum wage question and Donovan’s response when speaking with reporters after the debate.
The race to succeed Michael Grimm moved ahead 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.
The evening began with opening statements and then moved entirely to questions asked by the audience. Many were solid, meaningful questions even if they often made clear the questioner’s view on the answer.
Here are a few observations on the candidates and the race, with video of the complete debate at the bottom of this post.
Offering a position contrary to most of his party, Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan expressed support for President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General of the United States. A vote on Lynch’s nomination has been blocked by Senate Republicans. Although only the Senate votes on such nominations, Donovan has a worthwhile perspective. He’s the Staten Island District Attorney and his jurisdiction of Richmond County falls within Lynch’s jurisdiction as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
I asked Donovan about the the Lynch nomination following an 11th Congressional District candidate debate in Bay Ridge. Here’s what he had to say.
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.
Should Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile win the upcoming 11th congressional district special election he will join a lopsided minority in the House of Representatives. With a current division of 245 Republicans and 188 Democrats (and 2 vacancies) Democrats are decidedly out-of-power in the House and Gentile would face significant challenges in accomplishing any of his legislative goals. I asked Gentile about this, with a followup question on his view of Nancy Pelosi. We spoke at a forum Monday evening hosted by the Middle Class Action Project.
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.