Eric Garner prosecutor wins congressional seat in special election

Reuters / Eduardo Munoz

Reuters / Eduardo Munoz

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan (R), the prosecutor at the center of the case involving the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of police, defeated his Democratic challenger to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm as a US congressman.

The Associated Press called the election for Donovan just twenty
minutes after the polls closed, showing Donovan with a lead of 60
percent to Democratic City Councilman Vincent Gentile’s 38
percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting.

We’ve helped make Staten Island the safest community and the
safest big city in all of America,”
Donovan told CBS News while casting his ballot at
P.S. 13. “If you look at my opponent’s record as a
legislator, he raised people’s taxes. That’s something that I
don’t want to do.”

The House seat represents New York’s 11th District, which covers
all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. The area is home to
many police officers, fireman and other public servants and
is one of the most pro-police districts in the country
reported The Hill.

Donovan will replace former Congressman Michael Grimm (R), who
was found guilty of one count of federal tax evasion in December
2014. He had just won re-election to the House in November after
serving one term as a congressman.

Rep. Michael Grimm resigns seat after pleading guilty to tax

Grimm was accused of concealing more than $1 million in revenue
and failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in
employee pay at his Manhattan restaurant. He was scheduled to go
to trial in February and faced a 20-count indictment including
charges for paying workers – some undocumented immigrants – off
the books with cash, underpaying his taxes, and committing
perjury when discussing his restaurant dealings with

Grimm reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead
guilty to one count. Under the plea agreement, Grimm could face
up to three years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled
for June 8.

Donovan, a little known politician, gained national attention
after he failed to persuade a grand jury to indict New York
Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the homicide of
Staten Island resident Eric Garner. Garner, an unarmed
African-American, died last summer when a police officer put him
a chokehold after confronting him for allegedly selling loose

READ MORE: Appeal filed requesting details from
Eric Garner grand jury proceedings

Despite a video recording of the incident, Pantaleo was not
indicted. Garner’s case led to national protests both before and
after the grand jury decision, as well as a demand for police

Donovan will be up for re-election again in just 19 months and
could face a stiffer challenge in 2016. The 11th district leans
conservative in non-presidential years but is generally
competitive when the White House is in play.

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