Potential candidates eye open Assembly seats

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY – As we await special elections to fill nearly a dozen vacant state legislative seats, a number of potential candidates may already be eying two seats locally.

But who will replace former 102nd district Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R)and former 107th district Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R), assuming special elections are called, is anybody’s guess. When Capitol Confidential (a news feature in the Times Union) started reaching out to county chairs, who for special elections get to pick their preferred candidate, and potential candidates in those districts, the rumor mill flung out a number of names.

Of those in the 107th who spoke with Capitol Confidential, Republican Kandi Terry, a former Senate staffer from East Greenbush who now works as regulatory and government affairs manager for Just Energy, confirmed that she is exploring a run and has spoken with some district political leaders. The 107th covers most of Rensselaer County and parts of Washington and Columbia counties.

Rensselaer County Legislator Jake Ashby of Castleton and Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello both said they have been approached about running.

Capitol Confidential heard a number of Democratic names, though county Chairman Michael Monescalchi said he and Columbia County Chairman Keith Kanaga are finalizing a “fair and open” candidate process and will soon take resumes.

Of those who responded to requests for comment, Rensselaer County Legislator Cynthia Doran of Troy said people have asked her about a bid and she is open-minded but has not made a decision. Similarly, Michael Hickey, the Hoosick Falls resident who raised the alarm about water contamination in the village, said he has considered a run but would speak more with his family and Democratic officials before deciding. Former Troy City Council President Democrat Rodney Wiltshire said he also has thought about running.

On the Republican side in the 102nd — a seven-county district that includes parts or all of Schoharie, Albany, Columbia and Greene counties — Town of Schoharie Supervisor and county GOP Chairman Chris Tague and former Ulster County Legislature candidate Santos Lopez are vying for the nomination. Santos Lopez is of no relation to the former assemblyman. The voting process among county committees has begun but neither has wrapped up the requisite support needed yet.

Mr. Lopez could not be reached for comment, but Mr. Tague said he urges Governor Cuomo to set a special election date as soon as possible.

Albany County Democratic Chairman Jack Flynn said county chairs will meet with potential candidates next week and would select their pick after that.

According to Virginia Martin, the Democratic Commissioner for the county Board of Elections, the governor has not called a special election yet and can wait until next November leaving the seats vacant until January 2019. If he does call a special election he is likely to select the date of another election during the year, like the May school district budget elections or the June federal primary day, according to Ms. Martin. –Emilia Teasdale

To contact reporter Matthew Hamilton email

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