Speed Reads

criminal congressmen

Here's why a felon could still win a New York congressional race

Michael Grimm is getting close to becoming Staten Island's congressional representative.

It's not as though Grimm hasn't been elected before; he represented the very same district until 2015. So his momentum shouldn't be that surprising — if Grimm didn't resign from the same job in January 2015, and go to jail for felony tax evasion in the meantime.

Grimm will face the New York 11th District's incumbent representative, Rep. Dan Donovan, in Tuesday's Republican primary, and a Siena College poll taken earlier this month gives the felon a 10-point lead.

CNN's Harry Enten suggests several reasons for why voters seem to be ignoring Grimm's criminal past. For one, supporters were thrilled with how Grimm secured $51 billion in aid after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the district. New York's 11th District also went for President Trump in 2016, and although Donovan has Trump's endorsement, the incumbent doesn't side with the president very often. Overall, 46 percent of those surveyed by Siena say Grimm represented their district better, while 34 percent opted for Donovan.

If Grimm wins, it could be bad news for Republicans in the general election. The Siena poll suggests 45 percent of Donovan voters might jump to another candidate if Grimm wins the primary, leaving this seat a toss-up for Republicans fighting to retain House control.

The poll surveyed 513 likely Republican voters in New York's 11th District from May 29-31, with a 4.3 percent margin of error. See more results here.