Kolb Doesn’t Want Long Delay For Assembly Special Elections

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Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should quickly call special elections for the four Assembly seats that will be open when the Legislature returns to Albany in January.

Three Assembly members — Democrat Mark Schroeder of Buffalo, Democrat Mike Spano of Yonkers and Republican Marcus Molinaro — all won local elections earlier this month and will resign their Assembly seats as of Dec. 31.

A fourth open seat arose Monday with the death of Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan, R-Newburgh.

Voters “need to have a voice in Albany,” Kolb, R-Canadaigua, Ontario County, said about calling special elections for the two Republican seats. “It’s really about the districts that they live in and making sure that they have voice here in the budget process and the legislative session that’s going to take place in 2012.”

With the vacant posts in January, Republicans would hold 49 seats in the 150-seat Assembly — one less than needed to block an override attempt of a governor’s veto.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto declined comment on when a special election for the four seats could be called. The governor decides if and when to call a special election for a vacant legislative seat, and he can’t call it until the lawmakers officially resign.

The calendar and redistricting next year complicates matters. The village elections will be held in mid-March and the presidential primary will be held in New York on April 24. Also, the state has yet to decide when it will hold its primaries for state and congressional seats — it could be either June or August, or even September if the state wins a federal court fight.

And because district lines for all 212 legislative seats will be redrawn for the November elections, candidates running in a special election might not be assured what their seats would look like in 2012. They would have to win election in a special contest, then run again in November for a full, two-year term.

“All of that complicates this decision” for the governor, said Molinaro, who was elected Dutchess County executive.

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