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Six Candidates File For Democratic Primary in 65th AD

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65ad candidates
(Clockwise from upper left) Alice Cancel, Don Lee, Gigi Li, Jenifer Rajkumar, Yuh-Line Niou, Paul Newell.

It’s time for the second act.

In April, Alice Cancel won a special election and is now serving out the remainder of former Lower East Side Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s term in Albany. Now comes the regularly scheduled election cycle to replace Silver, who was convicted last year on federal corruption charges.

In the past week, six candidates submitted petition signatures for the Democratic Primary ballot. The election takes place Sept. 13. Challenge notices were filed against Gigi Li and Don Lee. It remains to be seen whether those challenges will actually materialize.

The candidates who filed with the Board of Elections for the race in the 65th Assembly District include: Alice Cancel (the incumbent), community activist Don Lee, former Community Board 3 Chairperson Gigi Li, local District Leader Paul Newell, Yuh-Line Niou (former chief of staff to Assemblyman Ron Kim) and District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar. It will take some time before the certification process is finished and the Board of Elections finalizes the ballot.

Also last week, there was a deadline to file campaign finance reports. Here’s a rundown of the filings in the 65th AD. The report covers the period from January of this year through mid-July.

Alice Cancel
“No activity statement filed”

Don Lee
Contributions: $156,150
(Including two payments from the candidate himself totaling $50,000)
Expenses: $113,000
Balance: $42,621

Gigi Li
Contributions: $105,670
Expenses: $25,510
Balance: $70,159

Jenifer Rajkumar
Contributions: $137,402
Expenses: $17,600
Balance: $204,146

Yuh-Line Niou
Contributions: $52,415
Expenses: $105,000
(Including an $83,000 payment to the Working Families Party)
Balance: $73,351

Paul Newell
Contributions: $91,513
Expenses: $65,647
Balance: $94,586

One note concerning these numbers. The fact that Alice Cancel did not file a finance report is raising a few eyebrows amongst her rivals. As the incumbent, she has certain built-in advantages. In the special election, she overcame a spirited challenge from Yuh-Line Niou, who boasted a much larger campaign account. This time around, in a six-way race, financial resources will likely matter a lot more. John Quinn, Cancel’s husband, told us this week that several fundraisers are scheduled. He’s confident they’ll have the money to stay competitive.


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