Bay Ridge

Cuomo sets May 5 as date for special election to replace Grimm

Democrats have 12 days to pick a candidate

February 20, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Governor Andrew Cuomo was ordered by a federal judge to set a date for the special election. AP Photo/Seth Wenig/File
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With his back against the wall, Governor Andrew Cuomo has relented to pressure from a federal judge and has named May 5 as the date for a special election in the Brooklyn-Staten Island congressional seat vacated by Republican Michael Grimm, according to a report in the Staten Island Advance.

The Advance also reported on Friday morning that the laws governing special elections in New York State dictate that the political parties have 12 days from the announcement of the date for the special election to select their candidates.

The presumptive Republican candidate is Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who sewed up the nomination quickly.

But as of Feb. 20, Democrats had not yet settled on a candidate.

Grimm, who had served for two terms in the 11th Congressional District and won a third term in November, resigned from congress on Jan. 5 after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

Cuomo set the date after Judge Jack Weinstein ruled on Feb. 17 in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court by eight voters the 11th Congressional District that the governor could not delay setting a date. In his written ruling, Weinstein ordered Cuomo to set a date and warned that if the governor did not obey the court’s ruling, then he, the judge, would set a date.

Attorneys for Cuomo had argued that the governor has the discretion to delay a special election until the next general election in November. But Weinstein said that would be an unjustified delay that would leave the residents of the district disenfranchised.

“The Eleventh District of New York is unique. It is a mixed suburban-urban area, sometimes represented by Republicans, located in the City of New York, which is overwhelmingly represented by Democrats. It has a special voice which should not be silenced on critical issues of taxes, welfare payments, social security, health benefits, war and peace and the myriad of protections and controls of our federal government,” Weinstein wrote in his ruling.

The leading Democratic hopefuls in the congress race are both from the Brooklyn side of the district.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), is rumored to be the frontrunner and the favorite of Staten Island Democratic Party leaders. But Assemblymember Bill Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) has made no secret of his desire to run, boasting that he has the support of seven of the 10 Brooklyn Democratic district leaders as well as support from elected officials such as City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmember Mark Treyger and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.

On Feb. 19, a new candidate emerged.

Amber Adler, a Brooklyn resident and a former chief of staff of the International Center for Autism Research and Education, announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination. 

“I would like to be the Democratic candidate for NY’s Congressional District 11; to bring together the voices of both Brooklyn and Staten Island to Washington D.C. Together we can bring about a New American Dream, making District 11 an example of opportunity, innovation and prosperity for the nation,” Adler said in a statement.



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