Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Much Confusion Over Setting Date For 38th AD Special Election by John Toscano - | Queens Gazette

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No new date for a special election to fill the seat vacated by Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio has been announced by Governor David Paterson. Paterson announced a date for an election last Friday, but then canceled it some four hours later.

Reports that the governor's bizarre actions were sparked by two Queens lawmakers, Congressmember Gregory Meeks (D- Southeast Queens) and state Senator Malcolm Smith (D- Jamaica) have been circulating since the announcement was rescinded.

Meeks and Smith reportedly were acting on behalf of Albert Baldeo, an Ozone Park attorney who wants to run for the seat vacated by Seminerio, but as of now would not qualify to run because he does not live within the district's boundaries.

Baldeo presently resides in Ozone Park. The 38th AD includes areas of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Glendale.

On August 7, the governor had set September 15 as the day for the special election. Primary elections will be held throughout the city on that date, which had already been set by the Board of Elections more than a month ago when nominating petitions began to be circulated by anyone seeking to run in the primaries.

Baldeo and three other persons submitted petitions to run for the 38th AD seat to the Board of Elections. The other three seeking to run for the seat are listed in the board's records as Nick Comaianni of Woodhaven; Michael G. Miller of Glendale, and Farouk Samaron of Richmond Hill.

One of those three reportedly has the backing of the Queens Democratic Party. However, calls to party headquarters in Forest Hills were not returned so the party's designee could not be confirmed.

However, the Queens organization, headed by Congressmember Joseph Crowley, reportedly wants to go ahead with the election on September 15. Meeks and Smith's opposition led to the governor canceling the special election for that day.

Jumping into the act, the Queens Republican Party said through a spokesman that it is "reviewing our legal options" to go into court and compel the governor to enforce the September 15 date he originally set for the special election because the GOP may want to put up a candidate to run for the seat.

The Queens Democrats might also go to court to get a ruling saying the governor can't change the date since he officially set it.