Cuomo Not Keen on Special Elections for Vacant Seats

ALBANY -

At least five seats in the legislature will be vacant on Jan. 1, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not appear to have plans of calling for a special election to fill them, Politicker reported Sunday.

There are 63 seats in the state senate, but Sen. Eric Adams was elected earlier this month as Brooklyn borough president. And out of 150 Assembly members, four of them jumped to the New York city council. And that number is expected to grow as Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will continue the mayoral tradition of raiding the state legislature to fill out his own administration.

“We don’t have any plans right now to call special elections,” Cuomo said. “It’s a balance of the cost and the hardship of the election versus the community’s right to representation. But we don’t have any plans as of now.”

The Senate seat occupied by Adams, as well as the seats in the Assembly controlled by Vanessa Gibson, Inez Barron, Alan Maisel and Rafael Espinal, can only be replaced by a special election called by the governor. Following such a declaration, local party organizations would select the candidates without the need for a primary.

However, Cuomo has previously expressed his disdain for that system, which is rife with patronage and corruption, and places a lot of power into the hands of party executives. For example, in May, five top county officials were arrested for accepting a bribe from a legislator eager to be appointed to an electoral slot.