National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenRepublicans are working to close the digital divide Fauci gives Congress COVID-19 warning Fauci: We need more testing, not less MORE (Ore.) on Thursday called on New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDomestic violence is a public health problem that governors should address Reopening schools seen as vital step in pandemic recovery Chicago mayor issues emergency travel advisory for those coming from states with coronavirus surges MORE (D) to declare a special election to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

“I have great personal sympathy for what Gov. Cuomo has gone through with the loss of his father, and of course being reelected and sworn in, but I do call on him to now focus on realizing there is a vacancy on Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York [district] 11,” Walden said at the Republican retreat in Hershey, Pa.


“Three-quarters of a million of New Yorkers have no representation in Congress and he needs to declare the vacancy and begin the process of calling the special election,” Walden said.

Grimm resigned before the new Congress began after pleading guilty to one county of tax evasion. He coasted to reelection in 2014 by double digits despite a 20-count indictment hanging over his head.

The Staten Island district leans conservative, and Republicans have rallied around Daniel DonovanDaniel (Dan) Michael DonovanRepublican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose The Hill's Morning Report — Exploding immigration controversy vexes Washington Progressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration MORE, the Staten Island prosecutor at the center of the investigation into the death of Eric Garner, as their candidate.

“I think it’s exceedingly important in this district because it’s the only district that has been represented by a Republican in New York City and likely it will be represented by a Republican going forward,” Walden said. “So given that a Republicans are in the majority of House and Senate in Congress, big decisions are beginning to be made, it’s important that residents of New York City have at least one Republican in the House who can speak up for them as a representative.”

Cuomo can leave the seat vacant until the next election, if he prefers, but if he calls a special election to fill the seat, it would take place 70 to 80 days later. He hasn’t given an indication yet of what he plans to do.