Canceled Queens Special Election Means 1 Less Candidate

Maya Kaufman

QUEENS, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order to cancel a nonpartisan special election for Queens borough president, originally postponed amid the spread of the new coronavirus, has pushed a candidate off the ballot.

Former Queens prosecutor Jim Quinn will no longer be a candidate for borough president thanks to Cuomo's executive order issued Friday, which nixes the special election but not the primary elections for the position that were scheduled for the same day.

That's because Quinn did not file petitions to become a candidate on a party line, according to campaign spokesperson Jessica Proud. Now, Quinn is exploring filing a legal challenge to the governor's executive order.

"The Borough President election was designed to be a non-partisan election to fill the vacancy," Quinn said in an emailed statement. "The Governor's action is clearly designed to give the Democrat machine candidate the best chance of winning. It is crass political gamesmanship being disguised as a public safety move."

Cuomo's order means that Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee will continue serving as Melinda Katz's replacement for the rest of the year, until the November general election determines who will finish the remainder of the term. Katz vacated the position at the start of the year after winning an election to become the borough's district attorney.

A special election to replace Katz was originally scheduled for March 24, but Mayor Bill de Blasio called it off after early voting had already started. The election was initially postponed to April 28, coinciding with the presidential primary election, then both were pushed back to June 23.

NYC Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Amy Loprest previously urged Cuomo and de Blasio to nix this year's primary election for Queens borough president, arguing that it would exclude candidates and voters who aren't registered with a party holding a primary, and instead only hold the nonpartisan special election.

"Reducing uncertainty around elections is essential not only to our democracy, but to the health and safety of our fellow New Yorkers," Loprest wrote.

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This article originally appeared on the Queens Patch