- Dan Donovan, the prosecutor in the Eric Garner case, is the Staten Island GOP's pick for Michael Grimm's seat
- The seat is a top Democratic target now that Grimm has resigned
- Some national Republicans are concerned Donovan's involvement in the Garner case could be problematic
Party Chairman John Antoniello chose Donovan after interviewing both him and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who has also expressed interest in the seat. Antoniello said, however, the 31-member executive committee showed their support "overwhelmingly in favor of Dan" in an informal poll.
"At the end of the day, we felt, the committee felt, overwhelmingly that Dan Donovan would make a better candidate," he said, according to the Staten Island Advance
Though the Brooklyn Republican Party has yet to endorse a candidate and has informally expressed support for Malliotakis, Staten Island makes up the vast majority of the district's population, and the SIGOP's endorsement all but ensures Donovan will win the GOP primary outright.
The endorsement, which came as no surprise, was issued Saturday, the day after Donovan officially launched his bid for the seat.
National Republicans have privately expressed some concerns over Donovan's involvement in the case concerning Eric Garner, the African American man who died at the hands of a white police officer following a banned chokehold. Donovan was prosecutor in the case in which the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer, a decision that fueled further anger and protests from Americans nationwide frustrated by what they see as the unfair treatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Grimm won a decisive victory despite the cloud of controversy hanging over him after he was indicted last spring on 20 counts, including the tax fraud charge to which he ultimately pleaded guilty, which could result in jail time.
The swing district has long been a top target for Democrats, but their hopes for an early pickup this cycle grew when Grimm announced his plans to resign
from the seat after entering his guilty plea shortly before the start of the new Congress.