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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signaled Monday he’s still leaning toward an April 19 special election to fill state legislative vacancies – including replacing ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos – but wants to clarify if the New York City Board of Elections can handle legislative races on the same day as the state’s presidential primaries.
Some Democrats – especially Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs – have said the city might have difficulties with separate ballots for presidential primaries and legislative elections. Jacobs also has acknowledged that Republicans might have more presidential contenders still in the race than Democrats and, therefore, might have a better turnout.
Cuomo previously suggested he would call the special legislative elections for April 19 and didn’t back away from that when asked Monday.
“We are working with the [NYC] board of elections to find out what they mean by difficult,” Cuomo said. “If they practically, technically can’t handle the election, that would be a problem. But we haven’t determined that yet.”
The special elections would be called to replace the two men who were New York’s most powerful legislators until convicted last fall on corruption charges: Skelos, from southwest Nassau County, and ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Democrats already have endorsed Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) to run for Skelos’ seat. At least six potential Republican candidates have been discussed: Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman, County Legis. Denise Ford, of Long Beach, and Legis. Howard Kopel, of Lawrence; Hewlett GOP president Jim Vilardi, and Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald.