A month and a day after Michael Grimm resigned his seat in congress, Democrats on Staten Island say they have narrowed their field of candidates for a special election to replace him down to five, but that special election still hasn't been called and the governor is under new pressure to do just that.
Former Rep. Michael McMahon is out. Same with state Assemblyman Michael Cusick. So now, Democrats on Staten Island have whittled down their field of candidates to five, five people willing to take on District Attorney Daniel Donovan in a special election for Congress.
One, Lorie Honor, is a wine store owner.
"I think the middle-class values that I sort of represent are more mirrored by me than the other candidates," she said.
Another, Robert Holst, is a Staten Island electrician and union member.
"The government takes money in the form of taxes from us in good faith that they'll run a government and prop up the services that we need. The least they can do is, they can spend that money in this country," he said.
The two elected officials willing to throw their hat in are from Brooklyn, City Councilman Vincent Gentile and Assemblyman Bill Colton. In a district where 70 percent of the voters are from Staten Island, those Brooklyn roots could be too reminiscent of the failed candidacy of Domenic Recchia.
Staten Island Democrats are considering one other candidate, but officials would not disclose who that is. They are planning to interview all of them next week and then move forward with a final decision, a decision that may require more haste.
"The governor has a constitutional mandate to call this election. He's failed to do so," said Attorney Ronald Castorina Jr.
A lawsuit was filed this week to force Governor Andrew Cuomo to immediately call the special election. It's a decision that is his alone, and it's not something he has seen as particularly urgent, at least publicly.
Q: Governor, when will you recognize the vacancy in the 11th congressional district and allow a special election?
Cuomo: We are looking at it now.
"This is not a political issue," Castorina said. "And it's a palpable injustice."
The sooner the election is called, the more it may benefit Donovan, who is already assembling a campaign. We should note that the attorney who filed the suit is also a Republican.