The first special election for Congress of 2015 is already set. Congressman Michael Grimm of New York’s Staten Island gave into enormous pressure from fellow Republicans and announced he will resign on January 5, one day before the new Congress is sworn in.
Grimm’s career cratered last month after he won a landslide reelection for his seat in November despite a 20-count federal indictment on tax and ethics charges. A few weeks after the election, Grimm pleaded guilty to a single count of paying employees of his restaurant in cash in order to avoid taxes.
At that point his Grimm’s Fairy Tale of innocence collapsed. Grimm gamely tried to claim he could remain in Congress, but having a felon be the only Republican to hold a House seat in the media capital of New York City was untenable to the House GOP.
It appears Grimm’s successor is likely to be Daniel Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney who failed to get an indictment against police officers in the case of bootleg cigarette salesman Eric Garner. Staten Island is the home of many New York City police officers and Donovan’s role in the Garner case won’t cost him any votes. No party primaries will be held — party leaders in Staten Island and Brooklyn will select the Democratic and Republican party nominees. Donovan is a popular prosecutor and performed credibly as the GOP nominee for state attorney general in 2010. The district leans Republican, having narrowly voted for John McCain in 2008 before handing Barack Obama a small majority in 2012.