Staten Island congressman, challenger spar in 2nd debate
NEW YORK (AP) — There was more mudslinging in the second debate Thursday between U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan and Republican challenger Michael Grimm, who held the seat before pleading guilty to tax fraud in 2014 and later resigning from office.
“My opponent lied to our community, asked us to vote for him, and then used our vote to cut a deal with the Justice Department to get a sweeter deal and we didn’t have a voice in Washington for over five months during Barack Obama’s last term in office.”
Grimm, a former FBI agent and Marine, said he was “running because over the last three years my opponent hasn’t just been sleeping in his office, he’s been sleeping on the job.”
During the hourlong debate the two sparred mostly on tactics, including various votes on former President Obama’s health care law and funding for so-called sanctuary cities. They stressed their support for President Donald Trump’s agenda, while touting their loyalties to their district first. The 11th Congressional District covers conservative Staten Island as well as parts of Brooklyn. The primary is June 26.
“I support the president’s national goals, I think everything he ran on makes a lot of sense and that’s why he’ll have my support, but the district will always come first,” Grimm said while bringing up Donovan’s vote against the tax reform bill.
Donovan said he wants tax cuts, but voted against the tax bill because it was “harmful” to the people he represents.
“That’s why I tell people I voted with the president 90 percent of the time. I voted with the people that I represent 100 percent of the time,” he added.
Trump endorsed Donovan in a tweet last month.
On some points, Donovan and Grimm were in sync. Both said they were against legalizing marijuana and banning plastic bags. They also said they did not think Russia should be reinstated to the group of leading industrial nations.