Democrats in Queens this morning picked district leader Michael Den Dekker to replace Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette on the ballot in September.
“I am honored to be asked to replace such an esteemed member of the assembly,” Den Dekker told me in a brief interview. “I was amazed that this process even happened, and I was lucky enough to even be asked.”
“No one thought he would step down,” he went on, adding, “We just follow the rules on how to fill a vacancy.”
The vacancy was created when Lafayette submitted petitions to get on the ballot for reelection this fall and then declined the nomination to instead take a job with the governor. Because it was too so late in the process, Layfayette dropping off the ballot forced a vacancy that had to be filled by Lafayette’s committee to fill vacancies, not by voters.
Den Dekker–in addition to having a string of acting credits–has been close with county leaders in the past and served as an occasional driver to Tom Manton, the late Queens County Democratic leader.
Den Dekker’s selection was a something of a surprise–many people expected Lafayette’s chief of staff, Maureen Allen, to take his place.