The Staten Island prosecutor at the center of the investigation into the death of Eric Garner picked up key endorsements from Republicans Friday for a potential run in the special election to replace Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

Capital New York reported Friday that former New York Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter Trump legal team launches impeachment defense MORE and John Antoniello, the chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party, are urging Daniel DonovanDaniel (Dan) Michael DonovanThe Hill's Morning Report — Exploding immigration controversy vexes Washington Progressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration NY GOP House hopeful: No nude photos MORE to run for office.

“It is my personal opinion that Dan Donovan's experience, integrity and his decades of public service to the people of this City make him the most qualified," Antoniello said in a statement to Capital that was also signed by Giuliani. "I am proud to support him and encourage him to make the run."

Staten Island Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Lisa Grey, Vice Chairman Bill D’Ambrosio, and Staten Island borough President James Oddo also signed the letter, according to Capital. 
Grimm easily won a third term in office in November but announced last week he would resign before the new Congress after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Earlier this year, prosecutors brought a 20-count federal indictment against Grimm.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) is likely to call a special election, which could come as soon as March or April. The candidates will be chosen by the state parties, and Donovan, who says he is “very seriously considering the race,” has emerged as the GOP front-runner.

The Richmond County district attorney is wildly popular at home. He won a third term in 2012, taking nearly 70 percent of the vote. Still, his handling of the racially charged Garner case, which has provoked protests across the country and attracted a media frenzy, could be an issue.

Donovan has faced criticism because a grand jury decided not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo, in the death of Garner, an unarmed black man. Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold for allegedly resisting arrest after he was approached for selling loose cigarettes.

But Staten Island is home to many police officers and firefighters, and some political analysts say any candidate who tries to use the Garner case against Donovan can expect a backlash from voters.

Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), an assemblywoman representing parts of Brooklyn, is also weighing a potential run. Only 34 and a child of Greek and Cuban immigrants, the assemblywoman is viewed as a rising star in New York City’s conservative circles.

The Conservative Party of New York has told The Hill it would be happy with either candidate, removing the danger of a split that’s wreaked havoc on past Empire State special elections. 

Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-N.Y.) is the preferred choice among Democrats in the state right now. He’s seen in the party as a strong candidate, but any Democrat running in the conservative district will have his or her work cut out for them.