The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee commissioned a poll this month testing potential Democratic candidates to replace Rep. Michael Grimm, along with voters' opinions on the Eric Garner case....So Donovan still wins in a rout. And that's no surprise: Of the poll respondents, 50% agreed with the decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the Garner case; 34% disapproved (16% said "don't know" or refused to answer the question). Oh, and:
Republicans have all but nominated Staten Island district attorney Dan Donovan, despite some concerns that Donovan's candidacy could focus attention on his role in the grand jury process that declined to indict a police officer in the death of Garner.
In a potential head-to-head matchup, the poll found 28 percent of voters would support [Democratic state assemblyman Michael] Cusick, compared to 48 percent for Donovan.
After hearing information about both candidates, support for Cusick jumped to 33 percent while Donovan stayed nearly the same, at 49 percent.
The poll also found Mayor Bill de Blasio with a 26-68 percent favorable-unfavorable rating in the district. One Democratic operative characterized those as “toxic” for any potential Democratic candidate, if Republicans can successfully make the special election a referendum on the mayor.Well, what do you expect? According to Ballotpedia, this district is 73% white, and culturally it's never been urban or liberal.
Politico told us a couple of weeks ago that national GOP leaders were fretting over this election:
National Republicans fear they’ve got a problem on their hands in an upcoming New York City special congressional election....Yes, but in a district that agrees with the decision not to indict Pantaleo, will the Democrats even bother to raise the subject? The DCCC poll tests several lines of attack against Donovan that have nothing to do with this case. (Example: "Dan Donovan was caught accepting $1,500 from a mob-connected waste management company that received millions of dollars in government contracts under his watch." I'm trying to resist the temptation to say: Yeah, but on Staten Island, who hasn't?) What this tells me is that Democrats are going to say little or nothing about the Garner case. And so Donovan will slide.
Daniel Donovan, a Staten Island prosecutor and veteran political figure, is locking up the support of local GOP power brokers who will decide who runs in the election. But on Capitol Hill, party strategists are nervously taking stock of Donovan....
Washington Republicans, who are more focused than their local counterparts on how the party is perceived nationally, worry that Donovan’s candidacy would create a national spectacle and turn the election into a referendum on his handling of the racially fraught case....
Whenever it comes (Governor Cuomo still has to schedule the special election), Donovan's victory will be one more small bit of evidence that the GOP is the party of white people exclusively. The election is unlikely to attract national headlines, so I'm not sure how much harm this does to the party. But it does some.