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Metro&Beyond: And the Winner Is…

Jacob Kornbluh

Who will be New York City’s lone Republican congressman?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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A s the GOP seeks to maintain its majority in the US House of Representatives, the Republican primary in New York’s 11th Congressional District — between incumbent Dan Donovan and his predecessor Michael Grimm —promises to be highly contested. Grimm, who held the seat from 2011 to 2015, was convicted in 2014 of tax fraud and resigned from office. The 11th District includes all of Staten Island and a section of southern Brooklyn.

“I know that my leadership is still sorely needed right here in Staten Island, in Brooklyn, and in Washington, where the swamp still needs to be drained,” Grimm told a crowd of supporters last October.

Whoever wins the primary is not expected to face a highly competitive race in the fall, as the district is considered safely Republican. The question now becomes whom the voters will chose as their Republican representative.

“I have always prided myself on doing what’s best for the people I represent,” Donovan said at his kickoff event, referencing his record in Congress. On the other hand, said Donavan, who has held the seat since a 2015 special election, Grimm is “trying to satisfy his own ambition with smoke and mirrors.”

“My primary opponent in this race wants you to forget about his liberal voting record backing [Barack] Obama’s amnesty program, voting to fund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood eight times, and his silence during President Trump’s election,” Donovan charged. “[House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi is desperate for my opponent to win. He put this seat at risk of going into Democratic hands once before. We can’t let him do it again.”

Grimm, a Trump supporter who couldn’t vote in the 2016 election because of his eight-month prison term, immediately shot back. “The Republicans of Staten Island and Brooklyn are strong supporters of President Trump and his America First agenda. We deserve a Republican congressman who strongly supports our president, too. Instead, DC Dan Donovan failed to represent the interests of his constituents and obstructed the president’s agenda every time it truly mattered.” Last year, Donovan voted against the new tax reform plan and the failed health care bill, alleging it would hurt his constituents.

Along with it being the most conservative district in the city, the 11th also contains a large bloc of Jewish voters. An estimated 18% of the general population is Jewish, according to data based on the 2010 census. Donovan, who ran for attorney general in 2010, received an overwhelming majority of the Jewish vote from 48th Assembly District, represented by Dov Hikind, at that time. Both Donovan and Grimm have strong relationships with the Jewish community in New York.

The primary will be held on June 26.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 694)

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