Tag Archives: AD65

April 19 special election set for Assembly seat

The governor has called for a special election on April 19 to fill the Assembly seat vacated by Sheldon Silver upon his criminal conviction last year.

Democratic and Republican insiders will select nominees to appear on the ballot at upcoming party conventions. With the district’s high percentage of Democratic voters, it is expected that whomever is chosen by the Democratic County Committee will fill the seat for the remainder of Silver’s term. A handful of candidates are already jockeying for support and raising money; others were waiting until the governor set the election date.

One thing that could inject some drama into the public side of this campaign is that April 19 is the same day as the presidential primary, with all the unusual politics of that race. The Working Families Party has endorsed Bernie Sanders, and is likely to campaign heavily for him in the WFP’s home city; could a candidate for Assembly get an outsider’s boost on the WFP line? (And who will Donald Trump endorse?)

Anyone who wins in April will be up for election again this fall for a full 2-year term. A regular party primary in September will precede the November election.

Fate of Silver’s Assembly seat still unknown

Two news reports this week lay out the politics taking shape around the race to succeed Sheldon Silver, and the timing and logistics of succession.

First, Zack Fink from Capitol Tonight sketches out the possible dates that voters may get a chance to weigh in:

  • An April 18 special election would need to be called by Gov. Cuomo within the next couple weeks. Cuomo originally announced that date to coincide with the presidential primary, so that polling places could do double-duty and save some money, but apparently New York City’s Board of Elections may be unprepared to run a federal and state election on the same day.
  • A special election could be held on another date that polls will already be open, June 28, which is the primary for Congressional seats, though by then the legislative session will be over.
  • There could be no special election, in which case the seat will remain empty all year.

In the case of a special election, party officials will select their respective nominees. (As noted here last year, many of those party insiders are part of Grand Street’s establishment.)

Whether there is a special election or not, the Assembly seat will be up again during the regular fall cycle, with a primary in September and election day this year on November 8.

As for possible contenders, the Lo-Down reports on a “growing field of candidates … maneuvering to replace Sheldon Silver in Albany,” including Paul Newell, who ran an unsuccessful primary against Silver in 2008; Jenifer Rajkumar, who unsucessfully challenged city council member Margaret Chin in 2013; Gigi Li, the CB3 chairperson who unsuccessfully challenged Rajkumar for district leader in 2015; and John Bal, who lost to Silver in a 1986 primary.

Click through to the Lo-Down for more information about these and other potential candidates.