The Staten Island Advance was presented with a tough choice in its district's upcoming House race. Michael Grimm, the incumbent, was indicted on federal fraud charges and once threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony. Domenic Recchia, his challenger, seems even dumber than him. Apparently, neither has ever read a book.
Ultimately, the paper endorsed Republican Grimm to represent the district, which also includes traditionally conservative portions of south Brooklyn. Grimm, it argues, "has command of the issues affecting the district, as well as those concerning foreign policy and national affairs," and his opponent "doesn't bring much else to the table" beyond (deserved) character attacks on Grimm.
The position, it admits in its endorsement's opening, is not an easy one to take:
There are, on occasion, electoral races in which both candidates are of high quality and high integrity and conduct a tough but fair campaign about the issues.
Fair-minded voters have a difficult choice, but they can know that, no matter who is elected, they'll be well represented by someone who won't embarrass their community.
The election for the House of Representatives seat in the 11th New York Congressional District is nothing like that.
We know about the 20-count indictment against Grimm, the endorsement continues, but that's nothing compared to Recchia's "astonishing incoherence."
You have to feel for the Advance here, and it makes an impressively strong case that the cartoonish tough guy who once lied about vandalism at his campaign office to make Democrats look bad really is the better pick. But at the end, everything falls apart:
We learned that he spent considerable time in the ladies' room of a Brooklyn tavern with a female friend, who he claimed to be counseling.
That doesn't seem so bad.
We heard he pulled a gun during a melee in a dance club in Manhattan.
We heard him threaten to throw a reporter off a balcony because he didn't like a question posed.
Ah, that old thing.
We know a female friend, said to have had a relationship with Mr. Grimm, pleaded guilty of channeling illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Grimm's campaign — something Mr. Grimm denies all knowledge of.
Right. And then:
As distasteful as this contest may be on a number of levels, we have a choice to make, as do the voters.
On Tuesday, Mr. Grimm is still the best practical choice for Staten Island.