From the Capital Tonight morning memo:
Assembly Democrats plan to introduce a bill in the near future that would set the primary date permanently to June — a move that could reignite the debate in Albany over when intraparty contests should be held to determine nominees.
Last year, Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats could not agree on when a primary date should be held.
Traditionally, New York has held them in September as it was the case this year.
But a new federal law that requires timely access to absentee ballots for military voters changed things.
The MOVE Act and Albany’s inability to determine when and how to accomodate it led a federal judge to set the primary date for Congressional elections to June.
Republicans at nearly every level of government in New York had been pushing for an August date in order to better prepare and circulate petitions, according to briefs filed with the court.
Ultimately, the June date won out. But that was only for primaries for House seats and the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
The disagreement in the Legislature led to the very expensive consequence of New York having three primary races last year: The presidential primary, the Congressional primary and the September primary for state and local elections.
And while Democrats in Albany wanted a unified primary date, the trio of primaries actually had a beneficial impact on some of their memembers running for Congress. Consider Sen. Adriano Espalliat, a Democrat from Manhattan who appeared to have the best chance in decades at knocking off Rep. Charlie Rangel.
In the end, Espalliat narrowly lost the primary to Rangel.
But Espalliat was still able to run for re-election to the state Senate, where he still sits. This coming election cycle, Senate Republicans could benefit from a dual primary season yet again.
Sen. Lee Zeldin is running for the First Congressional District, a seat that’s held by potentially vulnerable incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop. Zeldin, a two-term Suffolk County lawmaker, is likely to face former SEC prosecutor George Demos, who is self-funding with $1 million.
Should Zeldin lose (at this point he has the support of the Republican establishment in this state), he could conceivably still run of his old job in the Senate.
Unlike Espalliat’s seat, there’s a lot more at stake this time around, especially considering the Democratic enrollment advantage in the third Senate District, which Zeldin represents and the narrow divide in the chamber. Obviously, a number of dominoes need to fall for this scenario to play out.
So far, Senate Republicans aren’t saying what their position is on a unified primary date and, fair enough, there’s no bill yet. Nevertheless, the primary date debate is another issue that is due to be in the mix in what’s expected to be another charged election year.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on October 10, 2013 at 10:41 am, and is filed under State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|