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Special Races Do Not Alter Party Tallies in New York Legislature

On an Election Day in which three of the five State Legislature seats in New York being contested were left vacant by Albany lawmakers who ran afoul of corruption laws, it would seem reasonable to expect their misdeeds — and the ethical state of the capital they worked in — to play a large role in the races to replace them.

But even in a week when the former speaker of the State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, went on trial on corruption charges, the outcomes of special elections on Tuesday appeared to boil down to party-line votes, reflecting less the voters’ professed disgust with Albany than their party affiliations. Democrats replaced Democrats. Republicans replaced Republicans.

Democrats had originally hoped to pick up a State Senate seat in Binghamton, where the previous occupant, Thomas W. Libous, once the second-highest-ranking Republican senator, was convicted in July of lying to federal investigators in a corruption investigation. But despite a personal pledge of support from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate, Barbara Fiala, a former Broome County executive and state commissioner of motor vehicles, was left a resounding 55 points behind on election night with 84 percent of precincts reporting.

She lost to Fred Akshar, a county undersheriff who was little known before the race but quickly came to dominate it, thanks in large part to a heavy dose of financial support from state Republicans.

Fred Akshar Credit Andrew Thayer/Press & Sun-Bulletin, via Associated Press
Fred Akshar Credit Andrew Thayer/Press & Sun-Bulletin, via Associated Press

Democratic leaders have suggested voters’ loathing of state government will work to their advantage next year, when they will seek to win a governing majority in the Senate, where Republicans have power. (Though they technically fill less than half of the chamber, Republicans currently hold a de facto majority because one senator was elected as a Democrat but caucuses with Republicans. A breakaway faction of five Democrats often aligns with the Republicans.)

But the taint of Albany was an unpredictable factor in the races on Tuesday, with some candidates, like Mr. Akshar, casting themselves as political outsiders and others focusing on local issues.

Republican party leaders said voters, especially ones upstate, cared primarily about bread-and-butter issues.

“People are really concerned about jobs and the economy, and on that, the Republican Party has the high ground,” Edward F. Cox, the party’s state chairman, said in an interview. He added that those issues “are going to dominate” next year, “assuming that there are no additional indictments.”

Democrats held on to the Brooklyn Senate seat previously occupied by John L. Sampson, who was convicted on charges relating to an embezzlement investigation in July, and to the Queens Assembly seat of William Scarborough, who was recently sentenced to 13 months in prison for submitting at least $40,000 in false expense vouchers for days he did not travel to Albany.

Roxanne Persaud
Roxanne Persaud

In the Brooklyn race, Roxanne Persaud, the member of the Assembly from the area, beat Jeffrey Ferretti, the Republican, by 77 points with 95 percent of precincts reporting. In southeast Queens, Alicia Hyndman, a former president of the local community educational council, defeated Scherie Murray, the first Republican to run for the seat in nearly 30 years, by 83 points.

Two other slots were left vacant when legislators resigned.

In an Assembly district covering parts of south Brooklyn, Pamela Harris, a Democrat, won the race to replace Alec Brook-Krasny, a Democrat who stepped down to take a job in the private sector. Ms. Harris, a retired corrections officer who leads a Coney Island nonprofit organization, defeated the Republican candidate, Lucretia Regina-Potter, who had run and lost in several previous elections, by 25 points.

In the Assembly district that includes Syracuse, Pamela Hunter, a city councilor and a Democrat, defeated John Sharon, a Republican, by 17 points.

Source: nytimes.com

Special Races Do Not Alter Party Tallies in New York Legislature обновлено: Ноябрь 4, 2015 автором: L.A.Newsman
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