Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan—who rocketed to national prominence earlier this year after not obtaining an indictment of a NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner—today announced he is “very seriously considering” running to replace Congressman Michael Grimm, who announced his resignation last night.
Mr. Donovan, who had previously demurred on whether he was interested in representing the Staten Island and southern Brooklyn-based district, said he had received a great deal of support from his constituents since Mr. Grimm, a fellow Republican, declared he would step down. Mr. Grimm pleaded guilty to a single felony tax evasion charged related to his management of a Manhattan restaurant before he was elected to Congress.
State law calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a special election for a vacant congressional seat, which must be held within 70 or 80 days of his proclamation.
“Last night and this morning, with the announcement that a vacancy will exist, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” Mr. Donovan said in a statement. “I am deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support I have received over the last 12 hours, and I am very seriously considering the race. I will make an announcement after the due deliberation such an important decision deserves.”
Staten Island Republican insiders told the Observer yesterday that Mr. Donovan was their preferred candidate, despite the controversy over the Garner case. New York State GOP Chairman Ed Cox has indicated he would prefer to see Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis succeed Mr. Grimm, but he has little influence among the local party leaders who will pick the candidate for the special election.
The top contenders on the Democratic side are Staten Island Assemblyman Michael Cusick and former Congressman Michael McMahon—the Democrat Mr. Grimm defeated in 2010. Both have expressed interest in running for the seat.
Mr. Donovan has won his post as Staten Island prosecutor by overwhelming majorities every four years since 2003, though he lost his 2010 bid to become state attorney general to Democrat Eric Schneiderman.