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, the Staten Island prosecutor at the center of the investigation into the death of Eric Garner, will run in the special election to replace Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

In a statement released late Friday, Donovan said his phone has been ringing off the hook with “expressions of enthusiastic support from elected officials, party leaders, and residents of Staten Island and Brooklyn.”

“The enthusiasm for my candidacy has only broadened and intensified, with expressions of support also from beyond the two boroughs,” Donovan said. “Accordingly, please consider this my formal announcement that I will be seeking the endorsements of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties in the upcoming Special Election for the 11th Congressional District of New York.”

The Republican establishment in New York City has rapidly coalesced around Donovan. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and John Antoniello, the chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party, have pushed Donovan to run, as have other influential GOP leaders in Staten Island.

Staten Island Republican leaders will meet Saturday morning for a nonbinding straw poll on who they want to see run to replace Grimm, Capital New York is reporting.

Nicole Malliotakis, an assemblywoman representing parts of Brooklyn, is also a top candidate who is considering a run.

The Conservative Party of New York has told The Hill it could back either Donovan or Malliotakis, removing the danger of a split that’s wreaked havoc on past Empire State special elections.

The Staten Island district is conservative-leaning and considered at the moment to be a safe hold for Republicans.

Grimm coasted to reelection in 2014 by double digits despite a 20-count indictment hanging over his head. He has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and resigned from his House seat earlier this week.

Donovan, the Richmond County district attorney, is wildly popular there. He won a third term in 2012 by taking nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Still, Democrats could try to make his handling of the racially charged Garner case, which has provoked protests across the country and attracted a media frenzy, an issue in the special election.

Donovan has faced criticism because a grand jury decided not to indict a New York police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, in the death of Garner, an unarmed black man.

But strategists interviewed by The Hill say Staten Island is among the most pro-police districts in New York, and that any attacks by Democrats against him over the Garner case could backfire.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Friday sought to frame Donovan’s announcement against the backdrop of the Republican majority in an unpopular Congress — but didn't mention the Garner case.

DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in a statement that Donovan would join the GOP in the fight to “protect the ultra-wealthy and corporate special interests at the expense of the middle class.”
“The competition for Republican candidates in this district is already about one thing and one thing only: which candidate do Speaker Boehner and his Republicans in Congress like more,” she said. “If Republicans in Congress like the candidate, it’s pretty clear to voters in Staten Island and Brooklyn that they’ll get the same broken special interest politics that sells out the middle class.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-N.Y.) is currently the top choice among Democrats in the state to run for the open seat. Former Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.) is also considering a run.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) will likely declare a special election in the near future. The election would take place between 70 to 80 days later, possibly as soon as March or April.