The numbers are in.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan sailed to victory over opponent Councilman Vincent Gentile in last night’s special election. Republican Donovan took 60 percent of the vote while Gentile, the Democratic candidate, won just 39 percent, according to preliminary results.
The DA, who will be New York City’s only Republican member of the House, thanked his future constituents on Facebook for voting for him:
I want to thank you, the voters, for placing your faith me in me to serve as your Congressman! It’s a true honor, and I’m deeply humbled.
I truly believe our nation is at a crossroads, but with that comes great opportunity. I have never forgotten the sacrifices my parents made to give me a better life, and I want to be able to say that we did the same thing for our kids. Together, we will create a better tomorrow.
In his acceptance speech, he had harsher words for the president — and New York City’s mayor.
“You sent a message to President Obama, to Nancy Pelosi and, yes, even to Bill de Blasio, that their policies are wrong for our nation,” Donovan said last night. “They’re wrong for our city and they’re wrong for the community of the 11th Congressional District.”
The House seat has been vacant since Congressman Michael Grimm resigned in January after pleading guilty to one count of tax fraud.
Donovan raised more than three times as much money as the Brooklyn councilman for his campaign, approximately $615,000 compared to Gentile’s $196,000, reports the Staten Island Advance. Donovan also received support from the National Republican Congressional Committee, while Gentile’s campaign didn’t see any help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — though the organization spent $5 million on the failed campaign of Domenic Recchia when he ran against Grimm in November.
One thing that did not surface much during the race was the Staten Island prosecutor’s failure to get a grand jury indictment of the officer caught on camera placing Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, which sparked weeks of protests across the city earlier this year. The New York Times notes that Gentile was likely considering Staten Island’s conservative-leaning base — which includes a high percentage of the city’s law enforcement veterans. Instead the councilman focused on issues like inequality and immigration, and attacking the Republican party’s record.
The 11th district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn, has been without representation in the House for 121 days. Donovan will be sworn in as the new representative in the next few days.