The Republican district attorney running to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is crushing his potential Democratic opponent in the race, according to a poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Capital New York obtained a copy of the private DCCC poll, which shows Republican Daniel DonovanDaniel (Dan) Michael DonovanRepublican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose The Hill's Morning Report — Exploding immigration controversy vexes Washington Progressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration MORE leading Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-N.Y.) by 20 percentage points, 48 percent to 28 percent, in the Staten Island district.


The gap narrows slightly after voters were told more about the candidates, but Donovan still led by 16 percentage points.

Cusick is the top pick for Democrats, but he hasn’t committed to running yet. Former Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.) is also considered a top contender among Democrats considering a run for the open seat.

Republicans, meanwhile, have rapidly coalesced around Donovan, who has already announced his candidacy. The Staten Island district attorney came into the national spotlight as the prosecutor in the Eric Garner case.

His handling of the racially charged case could be 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 who died after Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold. 
The decision provoked protests across the country.

The poll found that voters in Staten Island are overwhelmingly familiar with the case, with 87 percent saying they’d seen, read or heard a lot about it. Fifty percent of those polled said they agreed with the grand jury’s decision not to indict.

Democrats are wary of making an issue out of the Garner case because the 11th District is strongly pro-police. The Staten Island district leans conservative during midterm elections. Grimm coasted to reelection there in 2014 despite a 20-count indictment hanging over his head at the time.