Republican Congressman Dan Donovan defeated predecessor and challenger Michael Grimm in a bitter GOP primary, trumping Grimm’s professed allegiance to Donald Trump and Trump-like personality with an endorsement from Trump. Donovan was first elected in a special election in 2015 prompted by Grimm’s resignation after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud charges and being sentenced to federal prison. Grimm returned seeking his old seat this year, in a Trump era battle in which the candidates sought to most closely align themselves with the president.
Rep. Dan Donovan kicked off his reelection campaign with a show of multi-party support Saturday. The Staten Island Republican hosted the state chairmen of the Republican and Conservative parties, the Staten Island chairman of the Reform Party and the Brooklyn chairman of the Conservative Party. (The Staten Island Republican chairman did not attend, but sent a message that he was home with the flu.) Rep. Peter King, NYS Senator Marty Golden, NYS Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis, NYC Council Member Joe Borelli and former Rep. Vito Fossella attended and spoke at the rally. Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo and NYC Council Member Steve Matteo did not attend, but sent messages of support.
Donovan faces a jumbled and contentious primary against his predecessor, former Rep. Michael Grimm. Grimm resigned in early 2015 after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion, and served seven months in federal prison. Donovan was selected by Republican leaders as the party’s nominee in the resulting May 2015 special election, defeating Democratic Council Member Vinnie Gentile, and was elected to a full term in November 2016. Continue reading Donovan Reelection Kickoff
Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis had little to say about fellow Staten Island Republican Michael Grimm’s return to politics Sunday. Speaking just before marching in the Pulaski Day Parade, Malliotakis offered that “I’m focused on my own election which is five weeks away” when asked for any reaction or expression of support for either Grimm or incumbent Congressman Dan Donovan.
Grimm is a former congressman who resigned in 2014 after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud. He held a Staten Island rally Sunday to declare his intention to seek election to his former congressional seat. The current congressman, Dan Donovan, was elected in a 2015 special election. Malliotakis, a member of the New York State Assembly, had sought the Republican nomination in that election but party leaders selected Donovan. (Party nominees are selected by party leaders, not via a primary, in such special elections.) There is speculation in Staten Island political circles that Malliotakis may be interested in running for this congressional seat, should she not win her current mayoral race.
Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference today to kickoff her general election campaign. Speaking outside St. Mary Gate of Heaven church in Ozone Park Malliotakis laid out her broad campaign themes and parried repeated questions focused on the many electoral challenges she faces. Malliotakis became the undisputed Republican and Conservative nominee several weeks ago, without having to face any opponents in a primary, but with the Democratic primary yesterday formally establishing Mayor Bill de Blasio as the Democratic nominee the general election season informally began today.
Malliotakis sought to turn Mayor de Blasio’s own campaign rhetoric on him, saying de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” is alive but is now a tale of “one city for [de Blasio’s] donors and friends and another city for everybody else.” Somewhat awkwardly saying that she’s running “to give voice to the everybody else” Malliotakis catalogued New Yorkers who she expects will support her, including those paying higher property taxes, victims of sex crimes, transit riders enduring increased delays, homeless not sufficiently helped by the City, families whose children are insufficiently educated in City schools and families whose children are on charter school waiting lists.
She paired the laundry list of concerns she sees as burdening New Yorkers with a promise to focus on them, saying she’s “not in this race to fight an ideological war” or to “raise a national profile to run for president.”
Here is the full press conference:
11th Congressional District voters chose Republican/Conservative/Independence candidate Dan Donovan in Tuesdays’s special election. Will Congressman Donovan remain the “nice guy” that many of his voters chose or adopt the Tea Party Zeitgeist of his new colleagues?
Donovan’s been in politics for 20 years, running and winning three elections for Staten Island District Attorney. He’s well known on Staten Island, especially to Republican voters who generally like him and regard him as a nice guy. I saw that view frequently in covering the campaign. In one instance, as I waited for a Donovan campaign appearance outside of a Staten Island grocery store, a 40-something woman headed to her car asked why I was there, cameras at the ready. Told that Donovan was expected shortly she paused and said “he knew my father. He came to my father’s wake, he’s really nice” before closing her car door and driving away.
That nice guy persona will be tested as Donovan joins a Tea Party-driven House of Representatives. The majority of his Republican conference colleagues hold many harsher views than those expressed by Donovan throughout the campaign. Will Donovan bend and vote with the Republican majority or proceed as a Republican outlier? Continue reading No More Mr. Nice Guy? (Updated)
Republican/Conservative/Independence Parties candidate Dan Donovan and Democratic/Working Families Parties candidate Vincent Gentile each voted this morning, with the press in attendance. Each spoke with the press after voting and we have their full press gaggles. Green Party candidate James Lane does not live in the district and is therefor not able to vote in today’s election.
Donovan was joined by his fiancé, Serena Stonick, in the Rosebank section of Staten Island. Among Donovan’s comments: he voted for himself (but did not reveal which line), he’s “very optimistic”, low turnout is due to the unusual May date and not the circumstances around Michael Grimm’s resignation, he’s been “very blessed” by the voters of Staten Island and his campaign was “uplifting”.
Gentile voted at his alma mater, Fort Hamilton High School. Among Gentile’s comments: Donovan would be part of an “anti-New York City agenda” as part of the House Republican conference, Gentile knows Staten Island well from representing part of the borough during his three terms in the state senate and this is a “homecoming on Staten Island, not an introduction”, he’s a “Brooklynite” but considers himself an “adopted son” of Staten Island, the Garner case showed Dan Donovan to be “not upright” and “not an advocate” who “took a back seat” and he’s satisfied with the support he’s received from other Democratic elected officials.
The 11th Congressional District special election tomorrow has posed a fundamental challenge for the candidates – getting voters attention and making them aware of the occurrence of the election. With the campaign ending, I asked Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile about the level of awareness among voters he’s encountered. We spoke as Gentile campaigned outside a grocery store in Graniteville.
With Dan Donovan widely regarded as likely to win the 11th Congressional District special election tomorrow, supporters of Democrat Vincent Gentile fear that each vote for Green Party candidate James Lane is a lost, and wasted, potential Gentile vote. Here’s Lane’s view of that notion. We spoke as Lane campaigned outside the Whitehall ferry terminal.
Republican candidate and three term Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan today described his three general election campaigns as similar to this congressional special election. Donovan’s point was based on the calendar: his DA races have been in off-years (2003, 2007 and 2011) when there have been no other races to draw voters’ attention or induce them to vote. We spoke as he knocked on doors in Dyker Heights today.
We asked Republican congressional candidate and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan about the reported arrest of New York State Senate Temporary President & Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos and what it says about the party or state government. We spoke as Donovan campaigned outside a Staten Island grocery store.