As of Tuesday, July 7, there were seven hopefuls vying for the position vacated by disgraced Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio, who formally resigned on Monday, June 22; two days later he pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal courtroom to taking illicit payments. The state Board of Elections (BOE)certified that the seat was vacant that day.
Unless Governor David Paterson decides to call for a special, non-partisan election to fill the seat, a successor will be elected on the regular November ballot.
As reported in The Courier Sun, running, as of last week, were: attorney Albert Baldeo, who considers himself the front- runner for the Democratic nod; Nick Comaianni, 41, also a Democrat and a member of Community Board 9; Paul Gagliardotto, 23, who entered the race via an email to the media on Tuesday night, June 30; Democrat Michael Miller, endorsed by The Queens Conservative Party; and Republican Donna Marie Caltabiano, who received the GOP endorsement.
Lourdes Ventura, who is currently the Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs for State Senator Malcolm Smith, told The Courier Sun that she is “strongly considering” a run, and has submitted her paperwork to the Queens Board of Elections (BOE).
The Richmond Hill resident, who hopes to get a Democratic endorsement, also said that she is “putting together a campaign committee to explore further” and that she is “in the process of raising money.”
An assistant attorney general and former Queens prosecutor, Ventura, who was recognized by The Courier last year as a “Rising Star,” said, “I’ve been in government for a while.”
In a press release to the media on Monday, July 6, Farouk Samaroo also announced, “I am running for the Assembly.” This new addition to the race is a soldier who served in Afghanistan and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for “military merit,” as well as six other decorations.
The “Friends of Samaroo” will seek the Democratic Party nomination, according to the press release. They are also getting petitions.
A Richmond Hill resident, Samaroo said, “Our assemblymember resigned in disgrace, the State Legislature is failing us, and our country needs the service of committed young men and women to lead at all levels of government. I promise to serve this district well and with honor.”
Before his Army service, Samaroo served as a Community Liaison in the New York State Assembly, and on the boards of local non-profits.
According to the BOE, as of this April, there were 32,282 Democrats and only 9,328 Republicans registered to vote in the district. As a result, any Democrat needs 500 valid petition signatures to get on the ballot; any Republican would need only 467.
The deadline to file with the BOE is July 16.