Governor says he’s considering April 28 for special election to fill 27th vacancy

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2019 at 9:24 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks with WNY media in the Missile Room at Old Fort Niagara on Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is leaning towards setting a special election for April 28 to fill the vacancy for the 27th Congressional seat.

Cuomo said he won’t let the seat go unfilled until the next regular election in November 2020.

“My predisposition in all of these situations is I don’t like to leave the seat open because we lose a voice, we lose a proponent,” he told reporters Wednesday at Fort Niagara, after he announced $49 million in grants for projects in Orleans and Niagara counties. “Whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat, I want somebody fighting for Western New York. If you leave this seat open you have one less person on the team, you have one less person fighting for you. We need help from the federal government. We have a lot of projects going on.”

Chris Collins resigned from Congress on Sept. 30. He pleaded guilty to federal charges on Oct. 1 to participating in a scheme to commit insider trading and to making false statements to federal law enforcement agents when interviewed about his conduct.

Collins was re-elected last November in a close race against Nate McMurray, a Democrat who has announced he will be seeking the position again.

The district covers eight counties, including Orleans. Several Republicans are interested in the position. David Bellavia was viewed as a frontrunner, but he announced he won’t be running for Congress in the upcoming special election.

Cuomo said the April 28 presidential primary would bring a lot of people to the polls. He doesn’t want to have a separate special election outside of April 28 because he said the elections are costly and can be confusing to people when the election isn’t at a usual date in the election calendar.

“Whenever we can group elections together I also think it makes more sense for people,” the governor said. “We want people to vote. But to facilitate voting for people don’t make them come out 10 times to vote. Make them go to the polls once to make all of those decisions.”

Nick Langworthy, the Republican Party chairman in New York, said last week that holding the special election on April 28 would favor the Democratic Party candidate because voter turnout is expected to be much higher for the Democratic presidential primary, where many candidates are vying for the nomination.

Cuomo said he hasn’t made a decision on the date.

“That is the next election that is coming up,” he said about the presidential primary. “It’s in April and we have to hold it anyway. There is a lot of time between now and April so whoever wants to run has plenty of time. That is what we are considering.”

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