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 Hill, Ozone Park, Glendale, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Middle Village - 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.


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