A federal judge has ruled that New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo accuser blasts governor's 'Trumpian gaslighting' over harassment allegations Cuomo defends himself, pushes back amid harassment probe Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief MORE (D) has until Friday to set the date for a special election to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), or the court will do it for him.


Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled on Tuesday in favor of a group that sued Cuomo in an attempt to force him to call for the vote in New York’s 11th District.

"The right to representation in government is the central pillar of democracy in this country," Weinstein wrote. "Unjustified delay in filling a vacancy cannot be countenanced. Unless the Governor announces the date for a special election on or before noon on Friday, February 20, 2015, or justifies a further delay at a hearing to be conducted by this court at that time and date, this court will fix the date for a special election as promptly as the law will allow."

In addition to the lawsuit, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) has expressed frustration with Cuomo for not moving to fill the seat yet, and local publications have frequently pointed out that some 750,000 New Yorkers are presently without representation.

The slow-walk by Cuomo has benefitted Democrats, who have struggled to find a candidate to run in the special election.

New York Democrats suffered a loss last month when their top pick for the special election, Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-N.Y.), said he wouldn’t run. A poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and released by Capital New York last week showed him trailing Republican 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 by 20 percentage points in the district.

The second pick among Democrats, former Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.), has also apparently backed away.

Republicans, meanwhile, have rapidly coalesced around Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney who came into the national spotlight as the prosecutor in the Eric Garner case.

The Staten Island district leans conservative, though in presidential years, it can tilt Democratic. 

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