Bay Ridge

Grimm considering second shot at return to Congress

April 1, 2019 Paula Katinas
Michael Grimm conceding. Photo by Jaime DeJesus

Who says bipartisanship is dead?

In perhaps the only time they will ever be on the same page, Democratic U.S. Rep. Max Rose and Republican Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis both scoffed at reports that former Congressmember Michael Grimm is eyeing a second attempt at a political comeback.

Malliotakis, who has already announced that she is running for Congress and could wind up facing Grimm in a GOP primary in 2020, took a page out of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C. “It doesn’t get any swampier than having a convicted felon run for Congress,” she said.

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Grimm, who resigned from Congress in 2015 after pleading guilty to tax fraud, tried to make a comeback in June 2018, challenging fellow Republican Dan Donovan. Donovan had won Grimm’s seat in a special election. Donovan, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump in the 2018 primary, beat Grimm by 26 points.

But later that year, Donovan went down to defeat in the general election as Rose captured the congressional seat.

Rose said he’s not worried about a possible Grimm resurgence. “Second time’s the charm, I wish him all the best,” the lawmaker said.

Grimm was unavailable for comment by press time.

In an interview last week with Politico, Grimm said that he is strongly considering running again for his old seat next year. Grimm served in the House from 2010 to 2015, representing the 11th Congressional District covering several neighborhoods in Southwest Brooklyn and the entire borough of Staten Island.

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Mallitotakis, a Republican who represents parts of Bay Ridge and Staten Island, has already announced her intention to run and is busy raising money for her campaign. There is also talk that Staten Island Republican Councilmember Joe Borelli might run for the House seat.

Malliotakis, who said support for her candidacy is growing within the GOP, took note of Grimm’s big loss in the primary last year. “He lost 2-1 to Dan,” she said.

Grimm resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to a charge of tax fraud stemming from his ownership of Healthalicious, a health food restaurant in Manhattan he ran before entering politics. He served seven months in a federal prison.

Grimm has stated that he believes the time is right for him to make another attempt at a comeback. “The cloud is gone. It’s over. It’s in the past,” he told Politico, referring his tax fraud scandal.

In that same interview, Grimm called his tax fraud case a witch hunt.

Trump won the 11th CD in the 2016 campaign and remains popular there, particularly in the Staten Island end of the district. The local congressional contest in 2020 will be taking place amid the backdrop of a presidential race.


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