Republicans are likely to hold onto the House seat of Michael Grimm, who is slated to resign Monday, says GOP pollster John McLaughlin.
Appearing Sunday on "The Cats Roundtable" on AM 970
in New York, McLaughlin said also warned it would be a "huge mistake" for Democrats to try to nationalize the special election in the aftermath of the Eric Garner grand jury decision.
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Grimm's district encompasses Staten Island, where the Garner case took place, as well as parts of Brooklyn.
McLaughlin predicted the Staten Island special election will be much like the 2011 special congressional election in Brooklyn won by Republican Bob Turner, who, "in a three-to-one Democrat district, won a big upset."
"This election is a lot like that," McLauglin told host John Catsimatidis. "Some of the election districts in Brooklyn [now in Grimm’s district] were part of Bob Turner’s [original] district."
But the pollster predicted the special election will "have a national focus because of the Eric Garner case."
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who empanelled the Garner grand jury, is considered the GOP frontrunner.
"It was a terrible accident, but it really wasn’t racially motivated," McLaughlin said. "But it’s been politicized by the president and the attorney general, and that’s the sad part of this."
The district supports the police, he said, adding that if Democrats try to nationalize the race based on the Garner case, he doesn't even need to take a poll to know, "It would be a huge mistake and it would be a terribly divisive thing."
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been vocal in protests since the grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in Garner's death during an arrest last year, is "really unpopular" in the district, McLaughlin said.
Grimm won re-election in November despite facing charges of tax evasion. He unexpectedly pleaded guilty in late December
, but vowed to stay in Congress as long as possible. A meeting with House Speaker John Boehner persuaded him to change his mind
, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans a special election to replace Grimm.
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