While hosting a "Taking Back America" rally in Staten Island, Michael Grimm, GOP Congressional hopeful in New York's 13th District, charged his supporters on Saturday to get out the vote for the final 72 hours of the race.
Grimm, a Gulf War Marine and former FBI special agent, is running to dethrone the one-term democrat incumbent Michael McMahon in a race that's gained attention for its heated debates and negative campaign tactics. This includes a recent stunt where McMahon's campaign seated Grimm's ex-wife in front of him at a debate in an apparent attempt to startle the Republican candidate.
But on Saturday, Grimm's main message was to propel the campaign's momentum in its final few days to "take back America."
"Me and you and you and everyone in this room and in Staten Island and Brooklyn are going to be at the forefront of taking back the House of Representatives, taking back Congress, taking back America, firing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and telling President Obama, 'This is our country. And we want it back'," Grimm said.
Grimm thanked his supporters and called the event the "exclamation point" of his campaign.
But what, as his rally suggests, is he taking the country back from?
"The people of the United States have said enough to big government, overspending, overtaxing, over-borrowing and over-regulation," he said. "And now it's time, since Washington doesn't seem to be able to do it, that we the people get up and do it ourselves."
Other speakers included former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, a long-time supporter of Grimm, and Joaquin "Jack" Garcia, a former FBI Agent who served with him. State Senator Marty Golden, City Council Minority Leader James Oddo and City Council Member Vincent Ignizio also gave speeches.
Former Congresswoman Susan Molinari was the mistress of ceremonies and at one point told a joke: "What does almost everyone in this room have in common with the bald eagle?" she asked, holding up a TIME Magazine cover from May 2009, which claimed Republicans were losing steam. "We were once considered an endangered species."
She credited the Tea Party movement with igniting people on the right and getting them energized for the 2010 elections.
The crowd, numbering in the hundreds, seemed optimistic about a win for Grimm, a newcomer to politics who's been slammed by opponents for only voting in five elections.
"He's what this country needs," said John Tell, a retired fireman from Staten Island. "We need somebody fresh and new and invigorating. Someone who is not a politician."
Tell has been out on the streets campaigning for Grimm and says he's seen a shift in who's leading the race, saying that Grimm seems to be gaining speed.
"I see it in my own family. People that were leaning towards McMahon are now leading towards Grimm. And if I can get a couple of more days to work on them, I can get them on the Grimm team," Tell said.
Kristen Sorge, a Staten Island schoolteacher, said she's worried about future generations and that the "Taking Back America" message resonates with her.
"What's going on in this country is not right, and we need to end it. We need to put the right people back in Congress to support us," Sorge said. "I think we're going to pull off a victory on Nov. 2."
"Our numbers are good," the first-term congressman told the Advance. "Our support is good. We have a strong field operation. But I run every election like we're behind, and that's what we'll keep doing. It's not up to me; it's up to the voters. I feel my record as someone who does what he thinks is right for the district, in Washington and before that in the City Council, will stand me in good stead."