Candidates set for April 19 special election to fill Sheldon Silver’s shoes

65th assembly districtSince the moment Sheldon Silver was convicted of federal corruption charges in December, we’ve been without a representative in the New York Assembly. On April 19, voters of the 65th assembly district will go to the polls to elect someone to fill out Silver’s term — and now we know who the candidates are going to be:

  • Democrats this past weekend designated long-time party official and neighborhood activist Alice Cancel to be their candidate.
  • The Working Families party is putting forward Yuh-Line Niou, an assembly staffer who was also vying for the Democratic endorsement but withdrew her name from consideration shortly before the committee vote on Sunday.
  • And Republicans have selected a businessman and U.S. Navy Reservist named Lester Chang.
Yuh-Line Niou
Yuh-Line Niou
Alice Cancel
Alice Cancel
Sunday’s Democratic committee meeting was not without some drama. Based on party rules, about 180 party insiders — some elected, some appointed — had the responsibility to choose a nominee for the special election. There were five candidates, three of whom, including Cancel, are elected district leaders for the 65th assembly district.

Niou came into the meeting on the wings of the Working Families nod and endorsements from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and former Comptroller John Liu. But during her short speech before the vote, Niou withdrew from consideration citing the undemocratic nature of the selection process. She remains on the ballot in April on the Working Families line.

Paul Newell, who ran an unsuccessful primary against Sheldon Silver in 2008, had a spirited presence at the committee meeting, with supporters and volunteers waving signs. But he was battling for support within his own Democratic club, Downtown Independent Democrats, with his fellow district leader, Jennifer Rajkumar, also a candidate. Rajkumar ran an unsuccessful primary against City Councilwoman Margaret Chin in 2013. Chin, meanwhile, endorsed CB3 chair Gigi Li, who received a total of zero votes on Sunday.

After April’s special election, everyone who wants will get a chance to run for a full term in September’s regular primary and November’s general election.

DailyNews_2-8-2016Here are some notable links to news on the race: