While many New York City political observers were focused on a never-ending Brooklyn special election for the New York State Senate, the Working Families Party, which did not endorse in that election, was focused on a Hudson Valley Assembly seat containing Poughkeepsie and Newburgh where they had invested in Democratic former Assemblyman Frank Skartados and saw him go on to decisively won with over 60% of the vote.
“Congratulations to Frank Skartados for his victory tonight. It’s always rewarding to have candidates you can really get excited about. Frank will be a voice in Albany who will stand up for ordinary working families,” the Working Families Party’s executive director, Dan Cantor, said in a statement late last night.
The statement also noted the party “knocked on 16,000 doors in support of Frank Skartados,” and said, “According to early returns, WFP beat every other minor party on the ballot.”
While it’s only one Assembly District in a large body effectively controlled by Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the party likely hopes big wins in swing districts — Mr. Skartados was defeated by only 15 votes in 2010 — will help its messaging carry on past Poughkeepsie .
Indeed, Mr. Cantor’s statement said the party “found that for most people, learning that one candidate supports raising the minimum wage and one doesn’t makes the choice pretty easy.”
At least one other Assembly special election, the neighboring 103rd district, remains too close to call but the Democratic candidate there, Didi Barrett, is on track to pull a bit of an upset over Republican Richard Wager. Meanwhile, in the Buffalo area, in even more of an upset, the Republican-backed Democratic candidate scored a decisive double-digit win.
Update: A spokesman for the WFP, Joe Joe Dinkin sends in an additional statement pointing out that the other side used their party in negative campaign mailers:
“The state Republican Party tried to make WFP a liability by sending out dishonest mailers attacking us. We think the way to win elections is actually to talk to voters about issues that matter to them.”