Lawmakers lobby against Governer
Paterson's special election to replace disgraced ex-Assemblyman
Wednesday, July 29th 2009, 4:00
Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Bronx) circulated a letter to downstate Assembly
members demanding that Seminerio's replacement in the 38th Assembly
District be selected in the November general election.
"We have a few days to get a message to the
governor," said Rivera's legislative director, Guillermo Martinez, who noted Paterson had yet to technically
call for a special election.
Following Seminerio's resignation and
subsequent guilty plea to influence-peddling charges last month, five
candidates filed petitions to get on the general election ballot in the
district, which covers an ethnically diverse swath of southern Queens.
However, Daily News political columnist
Elizabeth Benjamin reported last
week that Paterson had previously notified the city Board of Elections
that he intends to call for a special election.
Paterson's office did not return a call seeking
Benjamin's report cited a letter that Steve
Richman, general counsel for the
state Board of Elections, sent to city elections commissioners. Richman
urged them to be ready to hold a special election on Sept. 15 - the
same day primaries will be held for city elections.
Under state law, Paterson must issue a
proclamation between Aug. 11 and 16 for a special election to be held
on Primary Day.
The Queens Democratic Party wants a partisan special election because it
would allow the party to choose its favored candidate. The other option
- a primary - would likely lead to a messy, four-way battle.
A special election would rely heavily on the
influence of four Democratic district leaders in Seminerio's district -
including the disgraced Seminerio himself.
Rivera thinks Paterson should not interfere in
"Let the Democratic process play itself out,"
Martinez said. "Let the candidates have debates and let the people
Martinez said the letter will likely be signed
by at least six Assembly members and could be sent to Paterson as early
Democratic candidate Albert Baldeo of Ozone Park blasted Paterson's plan, which could lead to a
"The fundamental right to vote is not to be
taken from the people," Baldeo said, calling for a primary.