The special election to replace disgraced former Rep. George Santos has gotten all the attention, but it’s not the only election scheduled for Tuesday. There’s also a special election for Assembly District 77, which covers portions of Claremont, Morris Heights and Highbridge in the Bronx. The seat became vacant in early January, when Assembly Member Latoya Joyner abruptly announced that she was leaving the state Legislature to pursue an unspecified opportunity in the private sector.
The election pits Democratic nominee Landon Dais, a local attorney, against Republican nominee Norman McGill, a public housing leader and elevator mechanic. Dais is the son of Larry Dais, a Harlem community leader who serves as a commissioner of the New York City Civil Service Commission. Dais got his start in Harlem politics, but following unsuccessful runs for both a New York City Council seat and a district leader position in Harlem, he moved to the Bronx. He’s now the vice chair of the Bronx Democratic Party. McGill is the president of the residents association at Highbridge Gardens, a New York City Housing Authority development in the district, and a frequent presence at rallies calling for more investment in NYCHA buildings.
The special election was scheduled on very short notice, and turnout is expected to be very low. According to the New York City Board of Elections, only 272 votes were cast during the entire early voting period. Dais is heavily favored to win the special election, due to Democrats’ overwhelming enrollment advantage in Assembly District 77. In 2023, according to the New York City Board of Elections, there were more than 49,000 active Democratic voters in the district, compared to just 2,600 active Republican voters.
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