After a Monday court hearing, it appears likely that a special election for the currently unrepresented 27th Congressional District will be held on April 28, the same day as the Democratic Presidential primary election in New York state.
In state Supreme Court in Monroe County, attorneys from the state attorney general's office, representing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, responded Monday to a lawsuit lodged by the New York State Republican Committee seeking an immediate special election. The attorneys argued that the governor gets to decide when to hold a special election, and Justice John Ark agreed, while reserving judgment until he receives an official letter from the state committing Cuomo to picking a date, according to a spokesperson for the attorney general's office.
In New York, a special election is proclaimed by the governor and state law mandates the election be held between 70 and 80 days after the election proclamation. Cuomo previously suggested he was inclined to schedule a 27th district special election to coincide with the next closest scheduled election, in this case, the Democratic presidential primary, to avoid spending an estimated $1 million on a standalone election.
Nicholas Langworthy, chairman of the New York State Republican Party and a plaintiff in the party's suit, issued a statement after court Monday accusing Cuomo of attempting to fix the election in his favor.
"Governor Cuomo’s partisan manipulation of the NY-27 special election is a slap in the face to Western New Yorkers who won’t forget he put his own interests above their right to representation in Congress. At a time when our federal government is facing gravely important decisions concerning our national security, our economy and Democrats’ attempt to remove our duly-elected President from office, the people of NY-27 are being denied a voice because Andrew Cuomo is trying to rig an election," Langworthy wrote. "The actions of this Governor and Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat Party already sealed their fate in this election and we will retain this seat, regardless of what date it’s held."
The governor's office did not respond to an inquiry from the Union-Sun & Journal.
Langworthy and two voters in the 27th district filed suit against Cuomo and the New York State Board of Elections in December.
The suit asserted Cuomo is legally bound to call a special election as soon as possible and claims the two named voters "are experiencing irreparable harm by being denied representation, denied the opportunity to vote, and denied other constitutional and civil rights."
The 27th Congressional District has been without representation since Chris Collins resigned in late September, then pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials in connection with an insider trading case lodged against him and his son Cameron. Chris Collins is set to be sentenced on Friday.