criminal congressmen
June 25, 2018

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. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 29, 2017

Six months after his release from prison, Don Blankenship, the former CEO of coal company Massey Energy, has apparently decided to run for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia as a Republican, WCHS reported Wednesday. Blankenship stepped down as CEO in 2010 (and reportedly received an "egregious" golden parachute in the process) after 29 miners died in an explosion at a Massey Energy mine in West Virginia earlier that year. In 2016, a West Virginia judge sentenced him to a year in prison in connection with the deaths for conspiring to "willfully violate mandatory mine health and safety standards."

If Blankenship were to win the Republican primary, he would run against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who said in 2014, "I believe that Don has blood on his hands." Blankenship has taken to Twitter several times this year to attack Manchin and proclaim his own innocence. While West Virginia voters would prefer to vote for a Republican Senate candidate than a Democrat, a recent poll showed Manchin ahead of all his potential Republican challengers (although Blankenship was not included in the poll), in a state where President Trump has a 65 percent favorability rating among likely voters.

Blankenship's candidacy may be hampered by the mining catastrophe, but he could also run into some legal restrictions: He can't leave the state of Nevada without permission of his probation officer or a federal judge until the month of May. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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