Upcoming vacancies in the New York state Legislature
A host of forthcoming retirements will put some GOP seats in play
Five Republican state senators stunned the New York political sphere in recent weeks by announcing that they will not be seeking re-election. But the Senate isn’t the only legislative chamber that’s shedding members – several Assembly members are also declining to run for re-election in the coming year. There is also the matter of upcoming Assembly vacancies now that Shelley Mayer and Luis Sepúlveda have won their state Senate races, as well as potential vacancies by members who wish to take a crack at the newly open state Senate seats. Here are the lawmakers ready to quit Albany, either to seek to new positions, prepare for an upcoming fraud trial or retire in peace.
The Democratic Brooklyn assemblywoman resigned in April, after being indicted in January for a slew of corruption and fraud charges. Harris stepped down too late for a special election to be called, so her seat will be filled in the November election. There are several Democrats eyeing the open seat, including former New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile, and at least one Republican, Liam McCabe.
Hikind, a powerful, often controversial, Brooklyn Democrat with some conservative social views, announced he would not seek re-election after 36 years in office. This decision came months after revelations that he had given campaign funds to a nonprofit which employed his son, Yoni, who launched an unsuccessful campaign for City Council last year. Hikind is endorsing Simcha Eichenstein, who works for the New York City mayor’s office, as his successor.
Staten Island Democrat Titone announced in March that he would not be seeking re-election, in favor of running for the Staten Island Surrogate Court – for which he was immediately endorsed by several Staten Island Democrats. In Titone’s 61st Assembly District, Democrats have an overwhelming voter enrollment advantage.
Another Staten Island assemblyman, Republican Castorina, announced in March that he would be seeking a Surrogate judgeship instead of running for re-election. Castorina is also stepping down as chair of the Staten Island GOP. The race has already attracted one candidate, Republican Michael Reilly.
Butler, a Republican assemblyman representing parts of the North Country, announced way back in the summer of 2017 that he would not seek re-election. The open seat has attracted several candidates, including Republicans Robert Smullen, Philip Lloyd Paige and Patrick Vincent. Democrat Keith Rubino is also running.
The Central New York Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1992, and rose to the position of deputy Senate majority leader in 2015. After suspending his faltering gubernatorial campaign, DeFrancisco announced in April that he would be stepping down from the Senate. John Mannion is the Democratic nominee to replace DeFrancisco, and Rick Guy plans to seek the GOP nomination.
Republican Marchione’s decision to step down came as a bit of a surprise, as she was first elected in 2012 after a bruising primary. There is a relatively open field to replace Marchione in her Capital Region seat.
Bonacic has been in the state Senate almost as long as DeFrancisco, since 1998. But the longtime Republican chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee is ready to move on and spend time with family. Bonacic’s Hudson Valley district is considered winnable by Democrats.
The 90-year-old Larkin, who once rubbed elbows with John F. Kennedy, is ready to retire. There are several candidates interested in Republican Larkin’s Hudson Valley district. Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis is weighing making a run for it, as are Republicans Tom Basille and Mike Anagnostakis.
The Long Island Republican will not be seeking re-election, and instead will be rejoining the Navy, where he previously served eight years of active duty. Croci has been in the state Senate since 2014. Democrats are eager to pounce on his Suffolk County seat, and the county Democratic Party is already backing a candidate, Darrin Green. Another potential Democratic contender is Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, while the possible Republican candidates include Assemblymen Andrew Garbarino, Dean Murray and Neil Foley.
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