Despite a 20-count federal indictment and a looming trial on tax-fraud charges, Rep. Michael Grimm coasted to re-election Tuesday in New York’s 11th Congressional District.
A Republican, former U.S. Marine and FBI agent, Grimm defeated his Democratic opponent, former New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia, by a 55-42 percent margin to win a third term in Congress representing the Staten-Island-based district, which also includes parts of Brooklyn.
Grimm’s tax-fraud trial, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 1, deals with a Manhattan health-food restaurant he previously co-owned. Prosecutors claim that Grimm and the restaurant hid more than $1 million in gross receipts from state and federal authorities and that Grimm oversaw the establishment’s day-to-day operations between 2007 and 2010.
The indictment charges
that in January 2013, Grimm lied under oath about his role in the restaurant.
After the indictment was announced in April, Grimm was released on a $400,000 bond.
Recchia attempted to raise the issue in this year’s campaign, but never managed to do so in an effective way. Even supporters criticized
his bumbling style on the campaign trail and his insistence on focusing on the Grimm corruption indictment to the exclusion of unemployment and other bread-and-butter economic challenges that 11th District residents face.
The New York Post
termed Recchia an "unprepared dud" as a challenger who made Grimm’s path to re-election relatively easy.
For his part, Grimm made it clear that he was campaigning against federal prosecutors as much as he was against Recchia and the Democrats. And the tactic appeared to work. On Election Day, supposedly nonpartisan poll workers applauded when Grimm arrived at his polling place to vote, and he cruised to a 13-point victory.
In interviews with local reporters, Grimm supporters made clear that their distrust of President Obama and Democratic policies were greater concerns for them than the congressman’s legal troubles.
Others — noting that Grimm has promised to resign if convicted — predicted that a special election to choose a successor would follow in the coming months. If this scenario plays out, then "maybe we’ll have better choices," a hopeful constituent told The New York Times.
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