May special election set to pick Grimm successor
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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThree National Guardsmen killed after military plane crash in New York New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues Pence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden MORE (D) on Friday set a special election to replace former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

The special election will take place on May 5, giving Democrats just over two months to find and rally behind a candidate in the conservative-leaning Staten Island district.

The declaration on Friday by Cuomo ends weeks of questions as to what he would do about the open seat.

There was some speculation that the New York governor would try to keep the seat open until the next general election in 2016.


But on Tuesday, a federal judge ruled 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 judge gave Cuomo until Friday to set the date for the special election under threat that the court would do it for him.

In addition to the lawsuit, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) has expressed frustration with Cuomo for taking his time, and local publications have frequently pointed out that some 750,000 New Yorkers are presently without representation.

The delay 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, state Assemblyman Michael Cusick, said he wouldn’t run. A poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee 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 (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.