New York Rep. Dan Donovan fended off a Republican primary challenge Tuesday in the 11th District from convicted felon and former Rep. Michael G. Grimm, likely easing GOP fears of losing the Staten Island-based seat in November.
With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Donovan led Grimm, 64 percent to 36 percent, when The Associated Press called the race.
Grimm, who served seven months in prison for tax evasion, tried to position himself as a strong ally of President Donald Trump. But it was Donovan, a former prosecutor, who earned the president’s endorsement. Donald Trump Jr. and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani both recorded robocalls for the incumbent in the final days of the race. Donovan also had the backing of groups including Defending Main Street, the political arm of Republican Main Street Partnership.
Some Republicans were worried a win for Grimm could make the seat more competitive in November, given his time in prison. But Democrats still believe they have a shot at the district that Trump carried by 10 points in 2016, even with Donovan on the ballot.
That’s largely because Democrats view their nominee as a strong challenger: Army veteran Max Rose ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election Likely Republican.
ICYMI: Can a Felon Make a Congressional Comeback? What to Watch in New York’s 11th District Primary