While it's a not a regular election year, the State Assembly has three open seats that will be filled in special elections this fall. But in an odd mix of complicated election laws and strategically-timed resignations by the candidates, only a Syracuse seat will have a contested primary next month, while party bosses are picking the nominees in New York City. NY1’s Zack Fink explains.
With the resignation of Alec Brook-Krasny, residents in Coney Island and Bay Ridge will be heading to the polls to pick his replacement later this year. But because of the timing of his move, there will be no Democratic primary next month in the 46th Assembly District, only a general election contest in November.
"Petitions had to be filed with the board of elections on July 9. So, with his resignation taking place at midnight on July, no one was going to be able to collect signatures on a day's notice," said Democratic Assembly Candidate Kate Cucco.
Cucco served as Brook-Krasny's Chief of Staff, and observers say she has the inside track to get the endorsement from the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee.
Some believe the late resignation was a way for Brooklyn Democratic boss Frank Seddio, who was unavailable for comment, to control who gets the nod.
In Southeast Queens, the 29th Assembly District also has an open seat after William Scarborough resigned last May over a corruption scandal. In this case, the County Committee has already chosen Alicia Hyndman, who will be on the ballot for next month's primary but will face no other Democratic opponents.
"There were other people that were vying for the seat also. I've been fortunate. I have the support and the endorsements. So, it's been good," Hyndman said.
In Brooklyn, critics say the process is particularly complex. The roughly 100 County Committee members will select a candidate, but it's not one person, one vote. The weight of each vote is based on an arcane formula that includes how many votes Governor Cuomo got last year in each election district.
Both the Brooklyn and Queens districts are strongly Democratic, with the party's nominees heavily favored in general elections.
Critics say few people are aware of the the upcoming primary.
"They are absolutely paying less attention, and they are going to be paying even less attention because it's on a Thursday. We haven't seen that since 9/11. So people are not accustomed to that," said communications consultant Lupe Todd.
The third open seat is the one vacated by Sam Roberts in Syracuse. However, Roberts resigned in enough time for there to be an actual primary. Three candidates are vying to take the seat. The primary is September 10.