The Working Families Party has endorsed Yuh-Line Niou to fill the Assembly seat vacated by former Speaker Sheldon Silver who was convicted of federal corruption last year and forced to resign. In a statement, WFP’s Bill Lipton said,

Yuh-Line Niou’s story is the story of New York. While this was a tough decision, a majority of WFP leaders decided this morning that she is the right choice to provide the strong, progressive leadership the working families of the 65th district need. New Yorkers can count on Yuh-Line to be a strong advocate for affordable housing, for immigrants and seniors, and for efforts to clean up our corrupt campaign finance system.We proudly support her.

Tomorrow the 180 or so members of the New York County Democratic Committee for the 65th Assembly District  will gather on East Broadway to pick their candidate for the April 19 special election called by Governor Cuomo last Saturday.

That basically gave the interested candidates 8 days to run one of the shortest campaigns in recent memory to succeed Silver who held the seat since 1977. Not the most democratic of processes, most people would seem to agree. The main candidates are Niou who is Chief of Staff to Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar, Chair of Community Board 3 Gigi Lee, District Leader Paul Newell and Shelly hanger-on Alice Cancel.

Because the district is heavily Democratic, whoever gets selected by the Committee tomorrow is likely to win the special. However, there will be a normal September primary no matter what, which means Democrats who lose out tomorrow could get another crack at it in 7 months. According to one prominent Democrat,

The district has changed, but most of the County Committee hasn’t. WFP will be very important in September so their endorsement is crucial now.

This week, insiders began a whisper campaign that Alice Cancel had the most votes from the committee going into tomorrow’s (S)election process in which new votes are taken over and over again until a candidate reaches 50%. But it’s not one committee member one vote ( which would make too much sense ). The vote is weighted to favor Committee members who hail from Assembly Districts that had the highest vote turnout for Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014 ( I’m actually not kidding ). So, Cancel was the choice of the vestiges of the old Shelly machine on the Lower East Side. People like Rosa Silver ( Shelly’s wife ) and Judy Rapfogel ( shelly’s former Chief of Staff ) still have votes, and more importantly, control votes within the Lower East Side portion of the district. The 65th also includes Chinatown, Battery Park and the Financial District.

So, a deal needed to be cut between the Shelly people and the current reform minded elected officials. The person they appear to have settled on is Niou, who lives in the Financial District, even though some say may have a residency issue. How anybody could want to deal with Silver’s faction at this point is anybody’s guess, but this is politics after all. And sometimes people hold their noses to make deals for what they consider the greater good. I should also note that the vote is still tomorrow, so nothing is final. I have covered enough of these (S)elections to know that anything can happen when the consummate back-room-deal-people all end up in the same room together. So, we shall see. The good news is that Yuh-Line does seem to be a solid candidate who is young, energetic and committed to moving a district forward that has been ruled by an iron fist for longer than she has been alive.