Rep. Grimm, Recchia Meet In Final Debate

NEW YORK (AP) -

The candidates in a tight House race to represent Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn faced off in a final contentious debate Tuesday night, sparring over who would be more effective in Congress.

Republican Rep. Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia revisited past criticisms, with Recchia repeatedly bringing up a federal tax evasion indictment facing Grimm, while Grimm said he would continue to work hard for the Republican-leaning district’s residents.

Grimm’s “priority is going to be staying out of jail,” Recchia said. He also said Grimm would be “in a minority of one” as Republican leaders would keep their distance.

Asked again about a January incident in which he threatened a reporter who asked a question he didn’t appreciate, Grimm said that he had apologized but that he is “tenacious.”

“If we want to get someone that’s passive and going to go along to get along then, sure, vote for my opponent,” Grimm said.

The race is one of the more competitive in the country, a chance for Democrats to take a seat in Congress in a year when Republicans overall are expected to increase their majority in the House. The national Democratic Party has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race.

However, polls show Grimm, a former FBI agent and Marine, is favored to win against Recchia, a former councilman.