In New York, A Disgraced Felon Appears Likely To Win A Republican Primary
Former New York congressman Michael Grimm isn’t letting a little felony fraud conviction stand in the way of reclaiming his old seat in the U.S. House, and he looks to be poised to overtake Rep. Daniel Donovan in the upcoming Republican primary.
Donovan, who initially won the seat in the special election following Grimm’s exit and then went on to win a full term, is trailing his disgraced opponent by 10 percentage points, according to recent polling.
Grimm is at 49% and Donovan at 39% among GOP voters, according to a poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which hopes to flip the seat.
Grimm's ex-GOP constituents on Staten Island are especially willing to overlook his criminal record — they favor him over Donovan by 11 points, the Democrats' poll says.
The poll is "consistent with our own internal analysis," Grimm said.
Announcing his candidacy last year, Grimm began to make name for himself as like-minded with President Donald Trump and forging a relationship with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon:
“Our president needs help draining the swamp,” Mr. Grimm shouted at his announcement on Sunday. At another point he said, “Let’s hear it for our president, Donald J. Trump.”
And that rhetoric appears to be working; the poll also showed that Republicans in his former district approve:
Republican voters like his message, the Democrats' poll shows. A whopping 67% of voters approve of Grimm's job performance as congressman, and just 18% disapprove, the poll found.
That's better than Donovan, of whom 47% of Republican voters approve and 27% disapprove.
Prior to his conviction in 2015, Grimm had made a name for himself after footage surfaced of the former representative threatening a reporter:
While on Capital Hill, NY1 political reporter, Michael Scotto asked former Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) about the investigations that he was facing at the time. This upset Grimm, who then threatened Scotto as the cameras were rolling.
"Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this fucking balcony. If you ever do that to me again...no.no. you're not man enough. I'll break you in half like a boy."