That did not take long. Just hours after State Sen. Daniel Squadron announced his resignation, there are already concerns about the process for selecting his successor. One of those raising concerns is Squadron himself.
The Democratic Party will choose a nominee, not in an open primary, but through its county committees in Manhattan and Brooklyn (Squadron’s 26th Senate District snakes through parts of both boroughs). There will then be a general election in November. According to the rules, Brooklyn could be excluded altogether. Today Squadron sent a letter to Keith Wright, chair of the New York County Democratic Committee, and Frank Seddio, chair of the Kings County Democratic Committee.
“Unfortunately, the process for filling a state legislative seat in this case is not what it should be: a nonpartisan special election…,” wrote Squadron. The senator has proposed legislation along these lines, but the bill has not become law. In the interest of fairness, he urged the chairs to, “make this process as democratic as possible” and “to allow a full vote of the County Committee across both Manhattan and Brooklyn, and to be bound by its result.”
Earlier in the day, NY1 reporter Zack Fink says he was told by Wright that he intended to speak with Seddio this evening about coordinating the vote. So Squadron may get his wish.
This afternoon, Crain’s reported the following:
The process to replace (Squadron) involves obscure mechanisms that could empower old allies of Sheldon Silver, whose corruption scandal cost him the Assembly speakership two years ago… Voters do not decide who runs on each political party’s ballot line in such an election. That determination is made by each party’s county committee, a panel of insiders typically elected unopposed and unseen—and in the case of Democrats usually affiliated with a local Democratic club. Their pick will essentially determine Squadron’s successor because the district is heavily Democratic… County committee members from Silver’s Harry Truman Democratic Club will have a say in filling Squadron’s post. However, because the Senate district is larger than the Assembly turf and incorporates parts of Brooklyn, they will not be the only voice.
We’ll be waiting for a formal announcement from the county chairs. One key issue: when the county committees will meet. If they gather before the Democratic Primary on Sept. 12, the makeup of the electors will obviously be different than it would be following the primary.
As we reported earlier, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh has already announced he’s running for Squadron’s seat. This afternoon, we asked Squadron whether he would be making an endorsement. The senator responded by saying that today he is only focused on speaking with constituents throughout his district and explaining his decision to step down.
We’ll have more from our interview with Sen. Squadron tomorrow on The Lo-Down.
UPDATE 8/10: We spoke last night with Paul Newell, a local district leader who ran unsuccessfully for the Lower East Side assembly seat last year. Newell says he’s considering running for state senator, but he will wait to make a formal decision until after party leaders have decided how the selection process will be handled. Newell said he’s confident of support from two political clubs — Downtown Independent Democrats and Lower East Side Democrats. That support will be critical at the county committee.