In the wake of his indictment, Rep. Michael Grimm announced Monday that he was stepping down from the House Financial Services Committee, but Grimm's legal troubles appear unlikely to affect his ballot status this November as he runs for re-election. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
You might think a 20-count federal indictment would doom one's political career, but Michael Grimm’s re-election campaign is full speed ahead.
"I have an election to win," he said.
It has the backing of the Republican party.
"Michael Grimm is definitely on the ticket," said Staten Island GOP Chairman John Antoniello.
While party leaders like Antoniello are standing by Grimm, the fact is, he'd be on the ticket regardless. Because a crucial deadline has passed, there's almost no way of replacing Grimm's name on the ballot, unless he were nominated for another office, like a judgeship, an unlikely scenario.
Antoniello batted away all the speculation.
"I think he's going to beat those charges, and I think he's going to win the election," Antoniello said.
Not everyone is so sure. Monday's indictment is certainly a boost for Domenic Recchia, the Democrat challenging Grimm. On Monday, the Cook Political Report, which monitors congressional races nationwide, changed its outlook on the Grimm race from leans Republican to leans Democratic.
"It fundamentally transforms the focus of the race from any attacks that Republicans would have been able to level at Recchia back to Grimm and his legal troubles, and that puts the race in a very, very unique, and uniquely bad, place for Republicans," said David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is squarely behind Recchia.
"I've felt for a long time that Domenic Recchia was going to win that race. I feel it even more strongly today," de Blasio said.
Grimm, though, said voters won't abandon him, and one observer said Staten Islanders, already suspicious of government, may agree that he's been made a political target.
"I think that people in Staten Island are smart enough to say, 'Hey, wait a minute here. Now, we've been hearing about this. So if you knew about this, why didn't you say it before?'" said Leticia Remauro, a Republican political consultant.
So what happens if Grimm is convicted between now and election day? There's no law prohibiting a felon from holding federal office, so Grimm could still win re-election. He just wouldn't be able to cast a ballot for himself. That's because in New York State, felons are ineligible to vote.