WASHINGTON - Potential candidates eyed a New York congressional seat Tuesday as Republican Rep. Michael Grimm announced his resignation, following a guilty plea on tax-evasion charges.
Among possible candidates is a Staten Island prosecutor who oversaw a case in which a white police officer was cleared in the death of a black man in an apparent chokehold.
House Speaker John A. Boehner called Grimm's resignation "honorable," saying Grimm made his decision "with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind."
Grimm had vowed to stay in Congress as long as he could, even after his guilty plea last week. But he said Monday night that he planned to resign effective next week.
Grimm said he did not believe he could be fully effective in the new Congress and needed to start the next chapter of his life.
"The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters," Grimm said. "However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100 percent effective in the next Congress."
Grimm, 44, pleaded guilty last week to aiding in the filing of a false tax return related to a Manhattan restaurant he ran before being elected to Congress.
He made national headlines last year after he was captured on camera threatening to throw a reporter off a Capitol balcony following President Obama's State of the Union address. The threat came after the reporter asked Grimm about an FBI probe into his campaign finances.
The new Congress is to convene Jan. 6.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will set the date of the special election and must give between 70 and 80 days' notice. Candidates would be chosen without a primary by the political parties or by petition.
At least two prominent Republicans said Tuesday they were considering the race. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan and State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis were among potential GOP candidates, with Donovan considered the front-runner. He was the prosecutor in a case in which a grand jury cleared a white New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man, after being placed in an apparent chokehold.
Donovan said in a statement Tuesday that he was "deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support" he has received since Grimm announced his intention to resign, adding that he was "very seriously considering the race."
Possible Democratic candidates include Assemblyman Michael Cusick and former Rep. Michael McMahon, who lost to Grimm in 2010. Domenic Recchia, who lost to Grimm last month, is unlikely to run.
Grimm's sentencing is June 8. Prosecutors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be appropriate.