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Albany Exodus Is Largely A Success

by David Howard King, Sep 11, 2013


We wrote last last month that a handful of state legislators had determined that it was a good year for them to get out of Albany.

Although former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and current Assemblyman Micah Kellner could not escape sexual harassment allegations and lost their Council bids, the rest of the field of state legislators secured their exit out of a city haunted by corruption while also securing a bump in their pay.

Assembly members Rafael Espinal, Vanessa Gibson, Inez Barron, and former Assemblyman Rory Lancman all won their primary races. Sen. Daniel Squadron will be in the runoff for the office of public advocate and Sen. Eric Adams won an uncontested primary for Brooklyn borough president and faces no opponent in the general. Sen. Tony Avella, who dropped his bid for Queens borough president, still managed to garner more than 10,000 votes. 

Political observers had said that a number of legislators were looking to escape the scandal-scarred Legislature and the drudgery of being a rank-and-file member with little power.

But Gerald Benjamin, professor of political science at SUNY-New Paltz told the Gazette it wasn't clear that they will find more power in city positions.

"The key issue is the individual's reason for seeking office in the first place. Status? Power? Paycheck? Stepping stone?" Benjamin said. "There is little real power in New York City office outside the mayoralty or the comptrollership, while there is real power in the state Legislature." 

Barron and Espinal are both hoping to pull switcheroos with their allies who are currently serving on the Council. Charles Barron has declared his intent to run for his wife's Assembly seat and Erik Dilan is expected to run for the seat of Espinal, his former employee. 

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