Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has yet to schedule a special election for several state Legislature vacancies, but local activity to succeed Michael P. Kearns in the Assembly is anything but on hold.
The latest development occurred Thursday when Christopher P. Scanlon announced he would not seek the 142nd District seat that Kearns vacated when he was elected county clerk in November.
“I cannot in good conscience pursue another elected position simply because the opportunity presents itself,” said Scanlon, who represents the South District on the Common Council. “I owe more to the people who elected me.
“I wish to remain in city government and work alongside my colleagues to help ensure that the right decisions are made and meaningful legislation is passed,” he added.
That leaves Erie County Legislator Patrick B. Burke as the favorite to gain the endorsement of party leaders, who control special election nominations. Cuomo’s office has indicated it will slate special elections soon, with most sources pointing toward an April date.
“Pat is gaining a lot of support from labor particularly,” said Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner.
But another wild card in the situation could be a reprise of the Republican-Conservative candidacy that propelled Kearns to the Assembly in a 2012 special election. Democrats that year backed Christopher J. Fahey, an aide to Rep. Brian Higgins, in another slate controlled by party leaders. But Kearns cobbled together support from the GOP and Conservatives in the overwhelmingly Democratic district and prevailed throughout his Assembly career.
Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said it is too early to begin such discussions, but Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo said he has talked with Democrat Erik T. Bohen about a similar candidacy. Bohen is a Buffalo Public Schools teacher who is the son of Ironworkers Local 6 Business Agent William P. Bohen.
“There’s a great possibility of that,” Lorigo said. “The Bohen name is strong in the unions.
“Certainly that kind of lightning could strike again,” he added. “I think that district is more concerned about values than party labels.”
Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski is also making a strong pitch for the Democratic endorsement.