A slew of prominent Staten Island Republicans are openly endorsing their borough’s district attorney for Congress today, a striking show of confidence for a candidate who has not definitively declared his intention to run.
Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, Assemblyman Joseph Borelli and Council members Vincent Ignizio and Steven Matteo all expressed support for Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s potential bid to replace Congressman Michael Grimm. The praise for Mr. Donovan, made over Twitter, could be a sign that the GOP establishment will reject other contenders for the soon-to-be-open seat, like Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
“Dan Donovan is the most competent & qualified candidate we could ask for, and I am actively encouraging him to run for Congress,” Mr. Ignizio, the City Council minority leader, tweeted today.
In a second tweet, he said Mr. Donovan, who courted controversy after he did not obtain an indictment in the Eric Garner case, “has an exemplary record of public service for Staten Island & NYC spanning 4 decades, and is a proven Island-wide vote getter.”
Mr. Matteo concurred.
“There is no question that Dan Donovan would be the right choice for Congress. He is experienced and effective,” the freshman lawmaker tweeted.
Though Mr. Oddo was not quite as effusive in his support of Mr. Donovan, he assumed the district attorney would win the GOP nomination and take on a Democratic front-runner, Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “For all the hits Staten Island has taken recently Donovan v Cusick could show rest of country races can be run & won with dignity #perhaps,” Mr. Oddo tweeted.
Mr. Borelli, who works alongside Ms. Malliotakis in the Assembly, also tweeted that if Mr. Donovan runs “for the
#gop in #NY11 I’d be proud to support him. I know many folks on #statenisland feel the same way.”
In addition to Ms. Malliotakis, State Senator Andrew Lanza is said to be interested in running for the Staten Island and Brooklyn-based seat, which Mr. Grimm will vacate on January 5 after pleading guilty to a tax evasion charge. Mr. Grimm’s resignation will mean the borough’s Democratic and Republican organizations will nominate a candidate to run against each other once Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls a special election.
Mr. Donovan said this morning he is “seriously considering” a run for Congress and Republican sources say he is a favorite to be picked as the nominee. Though Mr. Donovan’s inability to secure an indictment of a NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man, sparked protests nationwide, the otherwise low-key prosecutor is popular on Staten Island.
In 2010, Mr. Donovan ran for state attorney general and lost to Democrat Eric Schneiderman.