Special Election Possible for Louise Slaughter’s Seat

Power to set the date of election lies with New York’s Democratic governor

It is not immediately clear if or when a special election for the seat of the late New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter might take place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A special election is possible to replace Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died Friday after suffering a concussion last week. New York state law gives Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo discretion over when to call such an election.

There is no set amount of time by which a governor has to announce a special election after the vacancy occurs. But once the governor does so, the election date must be between 70 and 80 days after the proclamation.

However, a spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections said it is possible the seat could be filled at the general election in November. Under state law, a vacancy that occurs after July 1 is filled through the general election. So if the governor does not announce a special election before July, the seat would only be filled in November.

The filing deadline for the regular general election is April 12, with the primary on June 26.

Remembering a Life: Louise M. Slaughter

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 25th District race Solid Democratic. Hillary Clinton carried it by 16 points in 2016, while President Barack Obama did so by 19 points in both 2008 and 2012.

Slaughter nearly got swept out of office in the 2014 Republican wave, when she defeated Republican Mark Assini 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent in a race that didn’t receive a lot of national attention. But she comfortably won a rematch two years later, 56 percent to 44 percent. 

Her 2014 race notwithstanding, the Rochester-anchored district is not in danger of falling into Republican hands this cycle.

Jim Maxwell, a Republican neurosurgeon, filed to run against Slaughter on Jan. 13. But his fundraising strength won’t be clear until after first quarter reports are due in mid-April.

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