Yesterday's General Election
September 16th, 2009
In the one election Tuesday in
which everyone - not just registered Democrats or Republicans -
could vote, Democrat Michael Miller defeated Republican Donna Marie
Caltabiano to win the State Assembly seat from the 38th district in Queens.
The post - representing Woodhaven, Richmond
Maspeth, Ridgewood and Middle
became vacant when State Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio pleaded
guilty to bribery charges.
Gov. David Paterson paved the
way for Miller's victory when he called a special election for Sept.
15. Under New York laws,
that ruled out a primary, letting the party leaders - not
voters - pick the nominees. Originally five Democrats, including
Miller, had been preparing for a primary.
With the primary off and with
Democrats having an edge in the city - an edge increased yesterday
because, with three citywide primaries in their party, Democrats were
more likely to vote than Republicans - Miller had a decisive
advantage. He will go into future elections as an incumbent, if the
usual pattern holds, he can look forward to a long tenure in Albany.
Miller's road to the capital is
nothing unusual. According to figures compiled in 2007 by Citizens
Union Foundation (which publishes Gotham Gazette), 32 percent of the
current members of the State Assembly and 29 percent of state senators
first won their seats in a special election.
Candidate slams election process
Farouk Samaroo, who had hoped to run
against Miller in the 38th Assembly seat election, vented his
frustrations over being one of four Democratic candidates who was
thrown off the ballot prior to the Sept. 15 voting date.
Said the U.S. Army combat veteran:
"Yesterday was supposed to have been a Democratic primary. However,
because of the political machinations that is usual to Albany style
politics, we ended up with four candidates that were tossed off the
ballot by the Board of Elections.
"We had an opportunity to have a real
vote yesterday," he added. "Instead, the party bosses got together and
two Democrats picked the next assembly member for this district and
30,000 Democrats got to sit and watch."
Samaroo continued: "The Democratic
nominee of this district was picked by two votes out of 30,000. I think
that was wrong ... I think the beneficiary of this corrupt Albany style
politics deserves to explain to the community why he believes he had
the right to be the only Democrat."
Miller declined to reply.