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February 28 Set For Special Assembly Election

It’s on. With a flick of his pen, Governor George Pataki officially named a date for a special election which will determine who will fill the seat left vacant by outgoing Assemblymember Frank Seddio, who resigned from office for a set of surrogate court robes on January 1. Voters living in the 59th Assembly District are expected to go to the polls on February 28 to select their new assemblyman. The front-runner is the chief of staff of Seddio’s Assembly office, Alan Maisel. Seddio resigned from office on January 1 when he was sworn in as Brooklyn’s new Surrogate Judge, where he adjudicates wills and estates. When he left office, he was a member of the Assembly’s Aging, Agriculture, Banks, Corporation and Authorities, Commissions and the Judiciary committees. Political insiders said that Maisel will officially be named the Democratic nominee on Sunday following a gathering of the county committee at the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club on Conklin Avenue in Canarsie. To date, Maisel has not openly campaigned for the seat, which he expected to win in the heavily Democratic 59th Assembly District. While Avenue U attorney Theodore Alatsas was expected to run on the Republican line, he opted out of the race, citing family reasons. Area Republicans have yet to announce a candidate to replace him. As of last week, members of the Independent Party were still interviewing potential candidates. The Working Family Party reportedly won’t put up anyone against Maisel, a former social studies and science teacher, assistant principal, school board member and president of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club. Sources said that late sometime over the holidays, Maisel quietly passed the torch of president of the TJ Club, the reigning Democratic political party in the 59th Assembly District to Henry Bolus, a Canarsie native who currently lives in Georgetown. Until Friday, Maisel was still working in Seddio’s office on 2424 Ralph Avenue. According to state rules, Maisel would have to stop drawing a paycheck once he officially becomes a candidate for the office. It was unclear as of press time if he will still be allowed to volunteer in the office while he is campaigning. Although Seddio is out, the office is still open to answer constituents’ problems and complaints. The connections between Maisel and Seddio are obvious. Not only was Maisel his chief of staff, but, before leaving office, Seddio touted the former educator as the “hurricane” beneath his wings. As a parting gift, of sorts, Seddio gave $3,000 to Alan Maisel’s election camp as he closed his own campaign coffers. Sources said that when closing the books to the Committee for Frank R. Seddio in December, the outgoing legislator had over $50,000 in his campaign account, most of which he gave to charitable organizations. According to recently released financial disclosure reports, the Committee for Frank R. Seddio gave $3,000 to Maisel and $2,000 to the Friends of Carl, the campaign committee for State Senator Carl Kruger. No committee contributions in Seddio’s name were given to either neighboring Assemblymember Nick Perry or State Senator John Sampson. “I’m just happy to get the support,” said Maisel. All told, Maisel has a war chest of just over $7,000, according to the financial disclosure report filed on January 23. Throughout the state, six Assembly Districts and one State Senate District have open vacancies set to be filled on February 28.

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