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Adriano Espaillat

Silver Wins Big as Squadron Ousts Connor

11:19 AM EDT on September 10, 2008

silverpostweb.jpgAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver presumably cruised to another term in yesterday's Democratic primary, racking up almost 68 percent of the Lower Manhattan vote against challengers Paul Newell and Luke Henry. He will face Republican Danniel Maio in the general election.

Newell pulled 23 percent of the vote, Henry nine percent. Though the vote tally wasn't close, some pundits are speculating that in mounting the first serious challenge to Silver in years -- reducing him to knocking on doors, of all things -- the Newell campaign may affect the way the speaker conducts business in Albany. That remains to be seen, of course, but Newell had this to say to the Observer early this week:

"I'm running to get the most votes in this election. That said,there's no question we've already brought change. We've already takenon Albany. There's no question about that. And people are scared."

Those scared people, Newell said, are thinking, "Wow, a 33-year-oldcommunity organizer can put together a campaign that is going to rockSheldon Silver with his $3 million in his account, and $8 million inhis Speaker's P.A.C. or whatever it is that he's got."

"If we're successful, you're going to see forty or fifty challengersto incumbents in 2010, in both parties," Newell said, adding, "I don'tthink there's any doubt we had a role in that."

Silver's last primary challenge was in 1986, when John Bal got 20 percent of the vote.  

In the Senate, the talk of the day locally was the defeat of Martin Connor, the 30-year incumbent upended by 28-year-old Daniel Squadron. As Streetsblog readers know, Connor was one of many Albany lawmakers to hold their tongues as congestion pricing went down in April, for which Squadron took him to task during the campaign. What impact pricing had on the race is open to debate, particularly since Connor's Senate District 25 encompasses Assembly District 64 -- home to Sheldon Silver.

In other results, vocal pricing backer Adriano Espaillat held off City Council Member Miguel Martinez in Assembly District 72, which covers Upper Manhattan.

Photo: New York Observer

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