It started out small: Rumors swirled in March that disgraced former Rep. Michael Grimm was considering a political comeback by running for Staten Island borough president.
But now he’s thinking bigger: Grimm wants to win back New York’s 11th District seat, according to local media reports.
To execute the plan, he’ll have to challenge and defeat incumbent Dan Donovan, a tall order given Donovan’s popularity on Staten Island and among some big political spenders.
“Dan will have labor and donor support I imagine,” a source told The New York Daily News. “But a lot of voters still like the guy.”
Grimm resigned from office in 2015 after being indicted for tax evasion, hiring undocumented workers, and perjury under oath.
Those charges led to a seven-month stay in federal prison for tax fraud after Grimm admitted he had hidden more than $900,000 in receipts at his Manhattan restaurant, Healthalicious. He was released in May 2016.
Grimm, still just 47 years old, has demurred when asked about his intentions to rejoin the political fray — either as borough president or as a House member.
But he told a New York News 1 reporter Wednesday that some people want to see him run for public office and that he plans to run again some day, though he has been noncommittal to any race so far.
Former Rep. Guy Molinari, a Staten Island GOP power broker who has served as Grimm’s mentor for years, has been making calls on Grimm’s behalf to gauge support and interest among key supporters, sources told the Daily News.
Molinari has not publicly commented on Grimm.
Likewise, Donovan’s office has not publicly commented on a potential primary challenge from Grimm.
Five Democrats plan to run against Donovan, including a former NYPD officer and lawyer; a bond tradesman; a retired boxer; and a U.S. Army veteran.