Will Two Bronx Districts Get Special Elections?

The website for State Assembly District 77 has no content on any of its pages.

Two assembly seats in the Bronx are empty, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t moved with any urgency to call special elections to fill those seats. That means an estimated 250,000 residents of the borough may remain without any representation in Albany until after the November general elections, Jordan Moss of Bronx Bureau reports.

In District 77, Vanessa Gibson vacated her assembly seat on winning the election to replace City Councilwoman Helen Foster who, due to term limits, couldn’t run again.

District residents can’t even learn about the district itself on the former state legislator’s website because its text has been completely removed.

Almost the same is true of District 79, where addresses and phone numbers are listed for the Bronx and Albany offices but there is no reference to the district or anyone’s name.

Last month, the assemblyman for that district, Eric Stevenson, was found guilty of taking $22,000 in bribery to help senior center developers. He was removed from office immediately.

Gov. Cuomo said in January that he was weighing the costs of special elections and wondered “on a practical level how many more shoes are going to drop here and how many people are going to be leaving office.” Legislators now serving from the borough view the lack of representation in neighboring districts as problematic.

“It’s outrageous,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz says. “We have two empty Assembly seats. Those communities don’t have a state assemblyman. It’s one less source of help and one less voice to fight for a community.”

Dinowitz and others, though, conceded that the Democratic party machine would likely deliver candidates in special elections, leaving the voters without the choices that a primary would provide. For more comments on the lack of representation in the two Bronx districts, read the article by Jordan Moss.

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