Eating his words! Alex Borgognone bails on bid to unseat Rep. Grimm

‘Novice’ to challenge Rep. Grimm for Ridge seat

A former Bay Ridge cupcake shop owner and self-described “political novice” has folded his lukewarm bid to take on Rep. Michael Grimm in November.

Alex Borgognone, who called Grimm (R-Bay Ridge) out for being a political mouthpiece for Republican party bosses, says he will open up a new restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village instead of running against the freshman legislator.

Borgognone co-owned the Little Cupcake Bakeshop on Third Avenue between 91st and 92nd streets. Since then, the Republican-turned-Democrat has owned and run a chi-chi Italian restaurant in the Bronx.

“New and unexpected business opportunities have arisen — the timing of which has to be acted upon immediately,” Borgognone said. “I cannot pursue these opportunities and devote myself full time to the voters of Brooklyn.”

Borgognone only voted once in his life before seeking to represent the cross harbor district that includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Staten Island. He did keep the door open for a future political run, but couldn’t say when it would be.

The cupcake shop owner never reported how much money he had collected for his campaign — though he claimed to have raised around $30,000 at a fund raiser in October. He could not say how much cash he had on hand when we spoke to him last week.

Grimm, on the other hand, had $629,141 cash on hand at the end of September and raised more than $800,000 last year — nearly $500,000 of which came from political action committees.

Borgognone was the first Democrat to step up to Grimm, who beat Democrat incumbent Michael McMahon in a tight 51-48.5 percent vote in 2010 while riding a Tea Party wave of discontent.

A field of potential candidates that include Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), McMahon, and Mark Murphy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio and son of former Rep. Jack Murphy (D-Staten Island) have expressed an interest in running against Grimm, but none have officially announced. Most are waiting to see what the district will look like after a long awaited redistricting process concludes in a few weeks, political insiders say.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow his tweets at twitter.com/dsmacleod.