The field of candidates has been narrowed to two in the race to replace disgraced former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio after Gov. David Paterson announced the seat would be filled by a special election.
Mike Miller, the Queens Democratic Party’s nominee for the seat, will face Donna Marie Caltabiano, the Queens Republican Party’s nominee, in the special election Sept. 15 to represent the 38th Assembly District.
The district includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.
Because nominees for established political party lines are chosen by the organizations’ executive committees in special elections, the rules effectively barred fellow Democrats Albert Baldeo, Nick Comaianni and Farouk Samaroo from running.
The candidates would have had 12 days from Paterson’s Aug. 14 special election announcement to file new petitions as independents, a task they said would be impossible without tens of thousands of dollars.
Miller, a Community Board 5 member and Glendale resident, was also endorsed by the Conservative Party, which Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party, said was a positive thing.
He has pledged to increase funding for senior centers, enhance after-school programs for children and create a “joint commission of community leaders” to meet regularly and collaborate.
Caltabiano is the former director of the Forest Park Senior Center and an occasional contributor to several Queens weekly newspapers. She was also endorsed by City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Beach).
Her platform includes pushing legislation that would force people with orders of protection against them to wear GPS tracking bracelets and that would require “a comprehensive appraisal” of the state budget.
Though critics, including Caltabiano, have questioned the legitimacy of Paterson calling the special election after candidates had begun preparing for a standard race, Reich said the Assembly’s looming legislative calendar made it imperative.
“They’re very close to picking a company to run a racino at Aqueduct, and that’s in the heart of the 38th,” he said. “We can’t wait till November.”
Seminerio resigned from his seat in June after admitting to setting up a fake consulting company that took in more than $1 million in illegal payments, including $390,000 from Jamaica Hospital and its Medicaid-managed health plan. Baldeo, Comaianni, Samaroo and Miller announced their candidacies soon afterward.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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