Dean Skelos Really Doesn’t Want an Earlier Primary Date

Senator Skelos (Photo: Facebook)

There’s currently some scuffle in Albany over the election date for the state legislature’s primaries. A judge recently set the Congressional and U.S. Senate primaries to June 26th, earlier than the originally scheduled September 11th date, to comply with federal law. Assembly Democrats have introduced a bill to bring the State Senate and Assembly primaries to this June 26th date, but the leader of the Senate Republicans, Dean Skelos told Liz Benjamin last night he really didn’t like the plan, and directly said the Assembly bill was a non-starter.

“The problem we face with a June primary date … is that you’re going to have members of the Assembly, in particular, from New York City, where most of the primaries are, … they’re going be looking for union endorsements [and] they’re going to be campaigning through the budget and end of session,” Mr. Skelos said. “If you want to bring dysfunction back to Albany, that’s what a June primary would do.”

When Ms. Benjamin pointed out the state legislature is already reasonably close to a budget deal this year and the state’s budget could realistically be completed by March, freeing candidates up for campaigning, Mr. Skelos said he was looking at future years.

“This is this year, we have other years that the legislature and the Governor will continue to govern,” he countered.

“I think it’s bad timing to have the primary when people are going to be more concerned about winning their primary, raising money, [and] trying to get endorsements than actually governing,” he continued, repeating his messaging.

Democrats contend that having different primary election dates for the same year is expensive and confusing. A later primary date could also serve as an incumbent protection process, they argue, as it would give less time for challengers to raise money and campaign for the general election.

But, as Mr. Skelos also criticized the judge for placing federal primary date in June during last night’s interview, it’s fairly clear what his opinion is on any sort of earlier primary date. Dean Skelos Really Doesn’t Want an Earlier Primary Date