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Chairman John Antoniello Backs Daniel Donovan To Replace Michael Grimm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - The Staten Island Republican Party has chosen District Attorney Dan Donovan as the party's candidate for Michael Grimm's empty congressional seat.

The Staten Island Advance reports that party Chairman John Antoniello selected Donovan on Saturday after interviewing him along with executive committee members.

The group interviewed Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis as well.

Donovan was the prosecutor in a case in which a grand jury cleared a police officer in the death of Eric Garner after Garner was placed in an apparent chokehold.

Republican leaders in Brooklyn have expressed support for Malliotakis but the district is mostly on Staten Island. That means Donovan is the all-but-certain Republican nominee.

No date has been set yet for the special election.

Grimm announced his resignation last month following a guilty plea on tax evasion charges.

"After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress," Grimm said in a statement. "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 continued in the statement: "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 percent 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."

The Staten Island congressman pleaded guilty last week to a federal tax evasion charge in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The case stemmed from an investigation of his campaign financing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will declare a special election.

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