Cuomo Calls Special Election in 65th Assembly District For April 19

65th assembly district

Governor Cuomo today set an April 19 special election for the 65th Assembly District in Lower Manhattan. The seat has been vacant since Sheldon Silver was found guilty of federal corruption charges Nov. 30.

Here’s the announcement from Cuomo’s office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a proclamation setting an April 19th special election date for the 59th, 62nd and 65th Assembly Districts, as well as the 9th Senate District. This date – which coincides with the presidential primary election in New York State – was chosen in order to both maximize voter turnout and minimize the cost to taxpayers.

Democratic County Committee members in the 65th Assembly District will choose their nominee at an upcoming meeting. That candidate is almost assured of victory in the special election since the downtown district is overwhelmingly Democratic. The victor, however, will face a regular Primary Election next fall.

Just yesterday, the Daily News urged the governor to leave the seat open until the fall, rather than allowing a small number of party insiders connected to four downtown political clubs to hand pick Silver’s successor. The editorial board wrote:

The governor has 43,597 reasons to stand aside and let the contest be in the fall and just 100 to act and set it in April — 43,597 being the number of Democratic voters who would get a say in the fall and 100 being the rough number of party insiders who otherwise will be empowered to, in essence, anoint Silver’s successor in the spring… He should accept a delay in filling the post for a few months after April (a span over which the Legislature will be largely inactive) so as to empower primary voters to choose among a healthy field of at least five serious candidates. The victor of a boss-picked special election would unfairly have an advantage in a primary. The governor should also be mindful that the Board of Elections, paragon of inefficiency, may not be capable of combining a special election in Silver’s district with the presidential voting. Cuomo can take a stand both for democracy and for a workable electoral process by letting Silver’s seat be up for a fair vote in the fall.

Several candidates are already competing for the job. They include: Paul Newell, Jenifer Rajkumar, Don Lee, Yuh-Line Niou, Alice Cancel, Gigi Li and John Bal. Christopher Marte is running as an independent.