Nearly a month into the current session, the New York State Legislature still has 11 vacant seats, including one in the Capital Region. Time Warner Cable News reporter Matt Hunter caught up with both candidates in the 113th Assembly District Race, who both believe a special election should be called.
ALBANY, NY - Republican Steve Stallmer and Democrat Carrie Woerner are both eager to get their message to voters in hopes of being elected to serve 113th Assembly District. Their only challenge, Governor Cuomo has yet to call a special election to fill the vacant seat.
"As I go out and talk to people, the first question is always 'When's the election?'" Stallmer said Friday.
"The Governor should call a special election," Woerner said. "In fact he should have called one by now already."
A Saratoga Springs native, Stallmer is currently Congressman Chris Gibson's Chief of Staff.
He previously worked for longtime representative Gerald Solomon.
Woerner, who narrowly lost to former Assemblyman Tony Jordan in 2012, has served three terms on Round Lake's village board and spent 30 years in the private sector.
"I'm a business woman first and foremost," Woerner said Friday during an interview at her downtown Saratoga office.
"My experiences working with Jerry Solomon and more recently Chris Gibson have allowed me to learn a lot more about the local issues," Stallmer said.
Including parts of Washington and Saratoga counties, the 113th district is one of nine assembly seats, along with two in the senate, currently vacant. The seat was vacated by Jordan, who was elected Washington County's District Attorney in November.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, the only one with power to call special elections, has stated the cost of doing so is too high.
"We used to do special elections if there was one or two or even three vacancies in the legislature, now it's 11," League of Women Voters of New York Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti said.
According to Bartoletti, that amounts to roughly 1.8 million New Yorkers without full representation in Albany.
"Right now the people in these areas are not getting any representation at all," Bartoletti said.
While officials in Saratoga County could not identify a cost, board of elections staff in Washington County, which has roughly a third of the population of its neighbor to the west, believe a special election would cost in the neighborhood of $20,000.
"With all of the issues going on, common core, tax reform, state budget and of course the casino sighting, we really need full representation," Stallmer said.
"We need a partner in the state and without representation there's no one to make that case," Woerner said.
Legally, a special election cannot be held until 70 days after it's called.
If that doesn't happen, Stallmer and Woerner's names won't appear on the ballot until November.