This Week in Albany

Election Update


Constitutional Convention

CSEA members won a major victory on Tuesday when the constitutional convention ballot proposal was defeated by an unprecedented margin.

This victory was a culmination of over a year of continuous efforts of CSEA members and activists to educate members and the general public and turn out the vote against the proposal.

When the Siena College Research Institute released its first poll of voters’ feelings on the constitutional convention in April, 63% of voters supported the idea of holding a constitutional convention. By November, polling showed that support was down to 25%. By election night, opposition to a constitutional convention reached an all time high. Unofficial election night totals from the State Board of Elections showed that the proposal was defeated by a margin of 83% to 17%. Not a single county voted in favor of the constitutional convention.

“Without CSEA and our allies voting NO on the constitutional convention, there’s a good chance we’d all be on the hook for a very expensive and dangerous ride. When it comes down to it, this is just another example of how important labor is in protecting our rights, and the rights of our families and friends everywhere. This is a very proud day for CSEA,” President Danny Donohue said.

The overwhelming “no” vote shows how strong unions can be when we stand together. Thank you for all that you did to earn this victory.

Other Ballot Questions

The other two proposals on the ballot statewide both passed.

Proposal #2 – Pension Forfeiture: This measure will allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony relating to their office. When originally proposed, CSEA members would have been subject to any potential pension forfeiture law. CSEA worked hard to focus this constitutional amendment on elected officials and high ranking appointees and managers. CSEA did not take a position on Proposal #2 as it appeared on the ballot. It passed by a vote of about 73% to 27%.

Proposal #3 – Adirondacks Land Use: This measure will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns. The land removed from the forest preserve would have to be replaced by another 250 acres. CSEA did not take a position on Proposal #3. It passed narrowly, by a vote of about 52% to 48%.


Westchester County

CSEA-endorsed candidate George Latimer (D) handily defeated incumbent County Executive Rob Astorino. In addition, Democrats flipped the county legislature and now have a strong majority.


Nassau County

CSEA-endorsed candidate Jack Martins (R) was defeated by Democrat Laura Curran in the race for Nassau County Executive.


New York City

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) easily won re-election.

State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D) won a Special Election to fill a vacancy in the 26th Senate District caused by the resignation of Senator Daniel Squadron (D).

There were also two Special Elections held for vacant Assembly seats. Al Taylor (D) won the seat vacated by the retirement of Assemblyman Denny Farrell (D) in the 71st District, while Dan Rosenthal (D) won the 27th District that became vacant upon the death of Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz.


Other Races

In Rockland County, incumbent County Executive Ed Day (R) defeated CSEA-endorsed challenger Maureen Porette.

CSEA endorsed Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus (R) for his re-election bid. Neuhaus easily defeated his challenger for a second term.

In Syracuse, independent Ben Walsh pulled off a victory for the mayor’s seat, defeating Democratic candidate Juanita Perez-Williams. It is the first time in over 100 years that the city will have an independent mayor.

In the Town of Massena, CSEA-endorsed candidate Steve O’Shaughnessy (D) defeated the incumbent Town Supervisor. The election of a new Town Supervisor may help fight back efforts to privatize the public hospital.

In Erie County, CSEA-endorsed candidate John Bruso (D) defeated Republican incumbent Ted Morton to help the Democrats retake the County Legislature. Additionally, endorsed candidate Mickey Kearns (R) won his election for Erie County Clerk.


Impact on the State Legislature

Several sitting state legislators won election to local government positions this week. The vacancies caused by these elections will lead to multiple Special Elections in 2018, including:


State Senate

  • SD 32: Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D) won election to the New York City Council.
  • SD 37: Senator George Latimer (D) won the race for Westchester County Executive.


State Assembly

  • AD 5: Assemblyman Al Graf (R) won the race for District Court Judge in the 5th District.
  • AD 10: Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R) won the race for Huntington Town Supervisor.
  • AD 17: Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R) won election to the Nassau County Legislature.
  • AD 39: Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D) won election to the New York City Council.
  • AD 80: Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (D) won election to the New York City Council.
  • AD 107: Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R) won the race for Rensselaer County Executive.
  • AD 142: Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (D) won the race for Erie County clerk.


Veterans Day

CSEA thanks the men and women who risk their lives as a duty to our nation. They deserve our recognition and respect.