NY Special Election To Fill Congressional, Assembly Seats


voteNew York is holding a special election on May 5, to fill a congressional vacancy as well as one in the state Assembly:


The 11th Congressional District, which covers Staten Island and a small part of southern Brooklyn, is vacant due to the resignation of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm. He had pleaded guilty in December to federal tax evasion.

The Republican candidate looking to replace him is Dan Donovan, Staten Island’s district attorney. The Democratic candidate is Vincent Gentile, a member of the New York City Council and a former state senator.

Donovan led the grand jury investigation into the death of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man killed by a police chokehold that resulted in no charges for the officer and led to mass protests. The case has been a theme in the race, with a protester saying “I can’t breathe,” a reference to Garner’s last words, at the only televised debate between the two men.

Donovan, who has said state law keeps him from releasing grand jury testimony, said at the debate he wouldn’t do anything differently. Gentile questioned whether Donovan’s reluctance was really about trying to avoid criticism.

The district is the most conservative one in New York City, as it includes Republican-heavy Staten Island. Grimm had won re-election in November even as he was under federal indictment.


The 43rd state Assembly District seat is vacant because Assemblyman Karim Camera stepped down to become the executive director of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services. The Brooklyn district covers neighborhoods including Crown Heights and East Flatbush.

The race is notable for an anomaly – there’s no candidate on the Democratic line. The candidate put forward by the county Democratic party failed to file the required paperwork before the deadline.

Instead, Democrats are running on other parties’ lines. The Working Families Party candidate is Diane Richardson, while Shirley Patterson is running on the Independence Party line. Geoffrey Davis is running on another line. On the Republican side, Menachem Raitport is running on both the Republican and Conservative lines.