New York voters to pick 5 new lawmakers in special election

By DAVID KLEPPER

Associated Press

ALBANY (AP) - Voters in communities around New York state get to pick new state lawmakers in five special elections - including three legislative seats left empty following corruption convictions.

While the outcomes of Tuesday’s races are unlikely to shift the balance of power in Albany, the special elections underscore the continuing turmoil caused by corruption investigations.

With no federal or statewide candidates on the ballot turnout is expected to be low. Two Senate and three Assembly races will be decided. On Staten Island, and in Nassau County, voters will choose a new district attorney.



In the Southern Tier, Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar, a Republican, faces Democrat Barbara Fiala, a former county executive and state motor vehicles commissioner. The winner of the special election replaces former Republican Sen. Thomas Libous, who was convicted of lying to the FBI. Republicans have long held the seat.

In a traditionally Democratic Brooklyn district, Democratic Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud and Republican Jeffrey Ferretti are campaigning for the Senate seat formerly held by Democrat John Sampson, also convicted of lying to the FBI.

An upset in either race could have wider implications. The GOP holds 31 seats in the 63-member Senate but it controls the body thanks to the support of six breakaway Democrats.

Voters in Queens will pick a successor to former Assemblyman William Scarborough, a Democrat sentenced this fall to 13 months in jail for raiding his campaign fund for personal use and for submitting false expense vouchers for days he didn’t actually travel to Albany.

Scarborough, Libous and Sampson are among more than 30 state lawmakers who were convicted of crimes or who ended their public service amid ethics allegations since 2000.

Two other Assembly seats are open because their previous occupants resigned. Democrats hold a sizeable majority in the Assembly.

In Brooklyn, Democrat Pamela Harris and Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter are running to replace Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, a Democrat, who stepped down for an undisclosed job in the private sector.

Democrat Pamela Hunter and Republican John Sharon are in contention for a Syracuse-area seat left vacant when Democrat Sam Roberts joined the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Polls close at 9 p.m. The new lawmakers are expected to be sworn into office in time to participate in the 2016 legislation session, which gets underway in January.

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