Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan beat Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile Tuesday night in the special election for 11th congressional district.
Donovan had 60 percent of the vote, while Gentile had only 40. Donovan will replace Michael Grimm, who resigned after pleading guilty to one count of tax fraud.
In his victory speech, Donovan said, “Tonight is not just a victory for my campaign, but a victory for America. The hardworking men and women of the middle class spoke loud and clear. 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, they’re wrong for our city and they’re wrong for the 11th congressional district,” he said.
He went on to discuss lowering taxes, expanding transportation options in his district and reforming FEMA's flood insurance program.
Donovan's office oversaw the grand jury investigation into the death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died last summer while being arrested. On whether the grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who made the arrest should have been part of the campaign, Donovan said it wasn't as important to voters as other issues.
"People believe that there are issues that are important. And they didn't use that as a political football. They didn't use that as a political issue. They realized that Eric's death was a tragedy and not disregarding that, but it wasn't an issue to vote on in a campaign. The other issues about taxes, health care, national security were the issues that concerned voters in the 11th congressional district," he said.
Donovan is expected to be sworn in in Washington next week.
Donovan casted his vote this morning at P.S. 13 on Staten Island. Gentile cast his vote at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge.
In his concession speech, Gentile emphasized that the work that he had been trying to begin was not over.
"We lead the charge on behalf of the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn to hit the reset button and set a new path of representation in the halls of Congress. We set out to break the district's past of underachievement and misrepresentation by ushering in a new future marked by hope and opportunity. Unfortunately, tonight we fell short of that goal," he said.
He cited low voter turnout as one factor in his loss.
Eric Garner's mother spoke to NY1 shortly after learning of Gentile's loss, saying she was hopeful that the seat could go to a Democrat in 2016.
Another seat was up for grabs in the 43rd Assembly district. Diana Richardson won that spot, replacing Karim Camara.
Camara resigned earlier this year to work in Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration.
For more information, visit the city Board of Elections website at vote.nyc.ny.us.