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Embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) will resign from Congress after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion, setting in motion a competitive House special election to replace him. 

“After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress effective January 5th, 2015. This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply,” Grimm said in a statement late Monday night. 

Grimm rejected calls for his resignation after he entered his plea last week. The New York Republican was hit with a 20-count indictment earlier this year. Despite the indictment, Grimm won reelection and vowed he would stay in office. 

But Monday evening, Grimm was sounding a different note, admitting he could no longer be an effective representative of the 11th District. 

“The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the Office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life,” Grimm’s statement continued. 

According to the New York Daily News, which first reported Grimm’s impending resignation, the New York congressman backed off his pledge to continue serving after talking with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday and plans to announce his resignation on either Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Boehner’s office would not confirm that the two spoke, but one Republican source told The Hill that Grimm and Boehner spoke earlier Monday and that the New York congressman was forthcoming. 

Before reaching the plea deal, Grimm was facing a February trial. However, in a document to the court, he also admitted to all the charges before him, including committing perjury and hiring illegal immigrants at his health food restaurant. 

Grimm, a former FBI agent first elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, has often attracted headlines in the House. In January following President Obama’s State of the Union, Grimm was caught on camera threatening to throw a local reporter off a balcony and break him in half “like a boy” after the reported asked him about campaign finance allegations. 

Now, Grimm’s resignation will set in motion a highly competitive House special election in the Staten Island district that narrowly went for President Obama in 2012. 

One possible contender is Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.), who held the seat for a single term before losing to Grimm in 2010; he indicated last week he was looking into a run. Democratic Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D), who has close ties to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), has also said he’d consider running.

Republican candidates, according to the Daily News, could include Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who is under fire over the lack of an indictment against police officers in the death of Eric Garner. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and state Sen. Andrew Lanza were also mentioned for the GOP. 

Upon Grimm’s expected resignation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will declare a special election be held to fill the seat. Party leaders will then caucus to determine who they want on the ballot, and state law requires voting for the special election take place between 70 and 80 days after the governor’s announcement.

Scott Wong and Jonathan Easley contributed to this report.

Updated at 12:14 a.m. on Dec. 30.

Tags Boehner Charles Schumer John Boehner Michael Grimm

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