The controversial prosecutor at the center of the Eric Garner chokehold case is “seriously considering” a run for Congress. Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan said Tuesday that he had received many supportive calls urging him to make a bid for the seat of Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., who announced his resignation on Monday after pleading guilty to tax evasion.
“Last night and this morning, with the announcement that a vacancy will exist, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” Donovan said in a statement, according to the New York Observer. “I am deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support I have received over the last 12 hours, and I am very seriously considering the race. I will make an announcement after the due deliberation such an important decision deserves.”
Donovan shot to national prominence following a local grand jury’s decision last month to not indict a white police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was videotaped placing the unarmed Garner in a chokehold in July. Garner’s death, along with the subsequent grand jury decision, sparked intense protests around the country. Donovan attracted the ire of many activists for his failure to win an indictment in the case, with Assemblyman Karim Camara, the chair of the New York Legislature's Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, calling it an “outrage,” according to the Huffington Post.
Despite the controversy, the district attorney is making headway as he lays the groundwork for a possible congressional bid. “Dan Donovan is emerging as a frontrunner,” said one Republican official quoted by the New York Daily News Monday night. “He is lining up the support of the party heads. It seems pretty clear he may emerge as the nominee.” Staten Island Republican insiders also told the Observer that Donovan was the party’s preferred candidate. The district also extends into Brooklyn.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be required by state law to call a special election to fill Grimm’s seat within 70 to 80 days, according to the Daily News. The short notice means that both parties will be rushing to field candidates to prepare for the upcoming election. Donovan lost a 2010 bid to become state attorney general to Democrat Eric Schneiderman, but he has won his Staten Island district attorney position with overwhelming majorities in every election since he assumed the post in 2004.