Paterson’s Special Balk May Lead to Court

CHESTERTOWN—David Paterson may face legal action either way he goes on a special election for the Queens Assembly seat vacated by Tony Seminerio.

If he does, then party elders—including Seminerio himself, regardless of the corruption charge to which he pleaded guilty in June—choose the candidates. If he doesn't, then the seat will be filled by a normal electoral process, where candidates petition to appear on a primary ballot. Either way, this is likely to wind up in court.

Fred Dicker reported this morning that Queens Democratic leader Joe Crowley is angry with Paterson for issuing and then trying to rescind a proclamation for the special election. The formal proclamation—signed by the governor, with his seal—was released on Friday, and rescinded a few hours later. It's unclear if Crowley or anyone else hoping for a special election will attempt legal action.

John Ciampoli, a Republican election lawyer, said that if Paterson does end up issuing a proclamation, candidates on the ballot like Albert Baldeo might try to sue.

"If he had left it in place, you would have sparked a flurry of litigation," Ciampoli told me by phone. "Does he have the power to call a special and deprive people of ballot status they already have? That's very much an open question."

Paterson’s Special Balk May Lead to Court