Alice Cancel Wins Special Election to Succeed Sheldon Silver

Alice Cancel declares victory as supporters, including City Council member Rosie Mendez looks on.

Longtime district leader Alice Cancel won a special election tonight to replace former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver in Albany.

Unofficial results show her with 39.21% (7284 votes) in the 65th Assembly District contest. Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat running on the Working Families Party line, has 33.64% (6250 votes). Lester Chang, the Republican candidate, attracted 18.94% (3520 votes). Green Party candidate Dennis Levy came in fourth with 3.56% (661 votes).

Cancel awaited results with supporters at the Knickerbocker Village headquarters of Lower East Side Democrats, her political club. She thanked community members for working hard to overcome Niou’s well-financed campaign. Cancel ran her operation on a budget of just $5,000.

While Cancel won the Democratic nomination at a County Committee meeting in February, Niou denounced the process as undemocratic. The Working Families Party provided her with a lot of ground support, and Niou racked up many key endorsements. Cancel was portrayed as a disciple of Sheldon Silver, who will soon be headed to prison for federal corruption crimes. City Council member Rosie Mendez, standing by Cancel’s side, said last night that she had been subjected to unfair attacks.

Cancel will not have long to celebrate. She will face several challengers, including Niou, in a September Democratic Primary. We’ll have a more detailed report tomorrow, including reaction from Cancel, Niou and Chang.