Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, we have four special elections for the New York Assembly.
Democrats and the Weprin family are trying to hold a seat in Queens, as NY1 reports :
David Weprin is trying to keep the streak alive. For almost 40 years, the state Assembly seat in Queens' 24th Assembly District has been held by a family member -- first, his father, Saul Weprin then his brother, Mark Weprin. Now, David Weprin, is hoping to uphold the family tradition and win the seat in a special election Tuesday.
Standing in his way is civic activist Bob Friedrich, longtime president of the Glen Oaks Village co-op, who says voters are ready for change.
Republicans and Democrats both are defending seats on Long Island, as the Long Island Press notes:
In the 15th Assembly District that covers Nassau County's North Shore, Republican Rob Walker left the seat he held since 2005 to become chief deputy Nassau County executive. Republicans have named Glen-Cove based attorney Michael Montesano and Democrats have endorsed Matthew T. Meng, who owns and operates a chain of specialty auto repair shops. Montesano also has the Independence and Conservative parties' endorsements.
To the east, the 3rd Assembly District seat covering part of Suffolk County is open because Patricia Eddington, in office since 2001, was elected to be the Brookhaven town clerk in November. For her seat, Democrat Lauren Thoden, who worked on Eddington's staff, faces Republican Dean Murray, who owns a Long Island advertising agency. Murray also has the Conservative Party line and the School Tax Relief line, while Thoden also has the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines.
Finally, Democrats hope to hold a seat in Westchester County, as the Journal News reports:
Democrat Peter Harckham, a county legislator just starting his second term, will try to help his party retain an Assembly seat the Democrats have held for many years.
Republican Robert Castelli, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College, hopes to win the same spot he ran for in 2004.
The victor will finish out the term of Adam Bradley, who left in January to become White Plains' mayor.
I can't vouch for the competitiveness of these races, although in each case both parties' nominees seem to have decent credentials. Democrats have a massive majority in the New York Assembly, so these races won't affect the balance of power.
New York has seen a disproportionate share of competitive elections over the last year, with mixed results. Democrats won two congressional special elections in upstate New York last year. Republicans knocked off the incumbent county executives in Nassau County and Westchester County. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had quite a scare.
Perhaps today's special elections will give us a little more clarity as to where New Yorkers stand. That would be helpful because the state will have plenty of additional competitive races in November, highlighted by the critical battle for control of the New York Senate.
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