Surprises May Be Brewing In Two Vacant Assembly Seats
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
I’ve been trying to stay apace of, while keeping you informed about the candidates in the upcoming election season. With the Presidential Primary past, the court mandating Congressional Primaries to be held June 26 and the legislature just changing Assembly and Senate primaries from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13, it is confusing and conceivable that turnout will be depressed.
As stated last week, for a redistricting year, there are few incumbents facing real challenges.
The vacant seats – and they are few – may offer some of the most exciting political battles. We’ve already seen the on-going battle and shenanigans in the vacant 6th Congressional seat primary, which pits the Democratic Party’s choice, Assmeblywoman Grace Meng, against Assemblyman Rory Lancman, Councilwoman Liz Crowley and Dr. Robert Mittman. From now until June 26th, this is the race to watch.
After that, keep your eye on Assembly seats being vacated by Meng and Lancman with a primary to be held on Sept. 13. With petitioning around the corner, a couple of surprises may be brewing in both races.
|(Left to right): Once tested candidate Yen Chou and Korean Candidate Myungsuk Lee may be surprised and outgunned if former Assemblywoman Ellen Young enters the race to replace Grace Meng.
First let’s look at the downtown Flushing seat presently held by Meng. As a result of redistricting, her 22nd Assembly District will be the new 40th Assembly District. Yen Chou who won a spirited primary to replace John Liu in downtown Flushing but ultimately lost to Republican Peter Koo, has been mentioned as a candidate since Meng’s announcement for Congress. Chou has experience and is a proven fundraiser, so she is a natural for this seat.
In this overwhelmingly Asian seat, in addition to a significant majority Chinese population, there is a growing Korean presence. The Koreans have demonstrated their growing political awareness. Should multiple Chinese candidates decide to enter this race, a Korean candidate could conceivably be competitive in a divided field.
Enter Myungsuk Lee. The CEO of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of New York and former editor of Korea Times who is expected to be in the fray. S.J. Jung, the aggressive community organizer who was in the field for Council against Yen Chou has long been expected to seek any elected opportunity. Word on the street has family priorities and not politics getting his attention at the moment.
The big surprise in the new 40th to replace Grace Meng in the Assembly, may just be the candidacy of the woman who was unseated by Meng. Former one-term and former chief of staff to then Councilman John Liu, Assemblywoman Ellen Young is rumored to be taking a serious look at the opportunity to run in a vacant seat she once held.
Adjoining the new 40th is the old and new 25th which is vacant for the same reason. Lancman, the Assemblyman, like Meng, is running for the 6th Congressional District. The seat has been reconfigured in redistricting and now has a population of approximately 50 percent Asian. While primary voters might be a smaller percent of Asians, their support could very well control the outcome.
|Experienced candidate with the ability to self-fund, Isaac Sasson (left) may surprise newcomer Nily Rozic and old-timer Jerry Iannece in the race for the 25th Assembly District vacant seat.
As of this writing, there is frequent candidate Jerry Iannece who has been endorsed by the Queens County Dems, and Nily Rozic, 26 year-old community board member and chief of staff of Manhattan’s Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
But as promised, there may be a big surprise joining in this one. Lottery millionaire, politically tested Isaac Sasson, is actively meeting and testing the waters. Sasson, who challenged Toby Stavisky two years ago with the help of a self-funded campaign, is again, we are told, prepared to invest a substantial sum in winning the election.
With Iannece, who has not proven himself a winner in his previous runs and Nily Rozic an unknown with unknown financial resources, the opportunity exists for Isaac to bring a well honed experienced campaign operation and treasury and take this one.
While there is still time for other names to join the fields in these Assembly races, watch for these folks who are yet to declare: Ellen Young and Isaac Sasson.
If either or both are in, move them to the front of the field.
Best Wishes To Dan Halloran
|We wish a speedy recovery to one of Queens’ most energetic public servants, Councilmember Dan Halloran.
If I were a religious person, I’d be praying for Dan. For me, he’s in my thoughts. Councilmember Dan Halloran had a benign brain tumor removed yesterday in a surgical procedure that always carries a degree of risk.
Dan and I didn’t start off on the best foot a few years back, but have since enjoyed sparring, chatting and spending a bit of time together.
I called him on his cell earlier in the week to express my confidence that he’d be back soon peddling his unique brand of political hocus pocus. The phone responded with the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, and I smiled. I waited, the music played. I dialed again and the song played again.
I emailed and Dan responded quickly with an upbeat note.
Dan, speedy recovery and hurry back. We miss you already.