Of Tuesday, May 5, voters in the 11th Congressional District will select a successor to Congressmember Michael Grimm, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to tax evasion.
On the Democratic side, Brooklyn Councilmember Vincent Gentile has accepted the nomination, with Dan Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, carrying the banner for the GOP.
“Today, with the support of the Staten Island Democratic Party and the Brooklyn Democratic Party, we officially kick off a campaign to ensure that the thousands of hardworking New Yorkers finally get the representation they deserve in Congress,” said Gentile, presently the senior-most member of the City Council, on Thursday, February 26. “Since 1996, when I was first elected to represent Staten Island and Brooklyn in the New York State Senate, I have fought tirelessly for the middle class families that are the backbone of our city.
“As an independent voice who has always put people before politics, I promise to lead the charge against broken Washington, D.C. politics that only benefit the super-rich, and have consistently failed to treat the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Gentile added.
Gentile’s acceptance comes just five days after fellow Dem and Brooklyn pol Assemblymember William Colton pulled out of the race.
Donovan had been the presumed Republican candidate since shortly after the New Year. On March 2, upon filing the papers to make his run official, he noted, “”I’m honored and humbled to be chosen as the Republican Party’s candidate for Congress. I have dedicated my life to serving my community and I will bring that same passion and commitment to Washington. We need leaders who will deliver tax relief, a stronger economy and keep us safe from terrorism. I look forward to spreading this message across the 11th congressional district.”
The seat includes all of Staten Island as well as a broad swathe of southwest Brooklyn from Bay Ridge to Gravesend. With 70 percent of the district in Staten Island, conventional wisdom — and, indeed, election results — favor Staten Islanders in the race.
It also favors Republicans; since the seat was created, it has been held by a Democrat only once, for a single two-year term, when Michael McMahon, a former Staten Island councilmember, won what was a vacant seat after then-Congressmember Vito Fossella declined to run for re-election after he was arrested for DUI and it was discovered that the married pol had a second family in the D.C. suburbs.
Governor Andrew Cuomo set the date for the election three days after Brooklyn-based Judge Jack Weinstein, of federal Eastern District Court, ordered the lagging pol to get a move on replacing Grimm.
Additional reporting contributed by Helen Klein