Grimm resignation fires up speculation on replacement
In the wake of U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm’s decision to resign from congress, speculation about who will replace him is reaching a fever pitch. Political insiders, who had begun handicappping the odds for various candidates to succeed Grimm after the congress member pleaded guilty last week to a count of federal income tax evasion, are now fully engaged in the guessing game.
Governor Andrew Cuomo will have to set a date for a special election to fill the remainder of Grimm’s term. Grimm handily won re-election in November, despite the fact that he had been hit with a 20-count federal indictment in April.
Grimm announced his decision to resign late Monday night.
There would be no primary before the special election to fill Grimm’s seat, according to Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic district leader of the 64th Assembly District (Bay Ridge-parts of Staten Island).
“The party leadership would select the candidate for their party,” he told the Eagle.
Among the names being mentioned in political circles: Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan on the Republican side.
Malliotakis confirmed to the Brooklyn Eagle that she is interested in running. “I am taking a serious look at the seat. As someone who currently represents both Brooklyn and Staten Island, I have a thorough understanding of the needs of the district. I will be discussing it with my party leaders, county committee members, my supporters and my family and will make a decision shortly,” she wrote in an email on Dec. 30.
On the Democratic side, former congressman Michael McMahon, the man whom Grimm defeated in 2010 to win the congressional seat, and Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island) have been touted as possible candidates.
“Cusick wouldn’t have to give up his assembly seat to run,” Carroll said.
Add one more name to the list: Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Scuissura, who lives in Bay Ridge, told the New York Daily News last week that if a vacancy developed, he would look at running for the congressional seat.
A Staten Islander would have the edge, however, according to experts.
“I would be shocked if it’s not a Staten Islander,” Carroll said. “Given the make-up of the district, I think the Staten Island party leaders will get to pick the candidates since they control the most votes.”
The 11th Congressional District, which Grimm represented for four years, covers the entire borough of Staten Island and then crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to include Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, as well as parts of Bensonhurst and Gravesend. Staten Island takes up nearly two-thirds of the district, meaning that the vast majority of the voters live in that borough.
Grimm, who pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court on Dec. 23, will be sentenced on June 8.
The congressman was hit with a 20-count indictment on charges of fraud and income tax evasion in April.
The federal indictment announced by U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch back in April charged Grimm with filing false tax returns, mail fraud, wire fraud and other offenses. The charges stemmed from Grimm’s ownership of a Manhattan health food restaurant in 2007, three years before his election to congress.
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