The Republican Party avoided disaster on Staten Island Tuesday when convicted tax cheat Michael Grimm (R-NY) lost his bid to return to the seat he resigned in 2015 in the midst of his legal troubles.
Grimm’s successor, Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), handily won the GOP primary, according to projections from the Associated Press and New York Times. Donovan had 64 percent of the vote with 95 percent of the votes counted, as of 9 45 ET.
Donovan is widely expected to hold on to his seat in the November general election. Had Grimm won the GOP nomination, given his troubled past, the seat would have been in jeopardy, Republicans admitted.
Grimm was forced to give up the seat when he was imprisoned for felony tax fraud and who once threatened to throw a reporter off a Capitol Hill balcony.
The vicious, personal race between the two Republicans ended up turning on their purported allegiance to President Trump.
Grimm was banking on his enduring popularity with voters in the NY-11 District, which covers Staten Island and a swath of south Brooklyn, trying to convince voters that he was most aligned with the President in both personality and ideology. But Grimm’s bluster and skill at retail politicking were ultimately not enough to defeat Donovan’s endorsement from the bulk of the New York GOP establishment, and, most critically, Trump himself.
Grimm held a consistent lead in the few polls conducted on the race. Only one Remington Research Group poll released Friday had Donovan in the lead. The group has a “C” in FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rankings and is owned by a consulting firm that worked with the Donovan campaign.