Special election puts Miller in Assembly

Special election puts Miller in Assembly
Michael Miller exits the booth after casting his vote at PS 91 in Glendale Tuesday as Democratic District Leader Frank Kotnik looks on. Miller won the special election to replace Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Jeremy Walsh

Community Board 5 member Mike Miller will fill the shoes of disgraced former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio after handily beating Republican opponent Donna Marie Caltabiano in a special election Tuesday.

Miller, the Democratic candidate, won 64.5 percent of the vote, while Caltabiano took in 35.5 percent, according to preliminary figures through NY 1. A total of 4,229 people voted in the election, according to NY 1.

Miller said he was ecstatic and that the turnout had exceeded his expectations.

“I’m eager to represent my constituents in the 38th Assembly District,” he said, noting he planned Wednesday to thank supporters at the Fresh Pond Road M train station before meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) to work out details like setting up a district office and hiring staff. “We’re going to hit the ground running, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Caltabiano said she was enthused by her showing in an overwhelmingly Democratic Assembly district.

“We’re outnumbered in this district almost 3-1,” she said, noting 35 percent was “a phenomenal amount.”

“It was just a grassroots effort of family members, my kids were my campaign managers,” she said.

Miller, a Glendale resident, was endorsed by the Conservative Party as well as the Queens Democratic Party, which Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Dems, said was a positive move.

In his campaign, Miller pledged to increase senior center funding, enhance after-school programs for children and create a “joint commission of community leaders” to meet regularly and collaborate.

Caltabiano, the former director of the Forest Park Senior Center and an occasional contributor to several Queens weekly newspapers, ran on a platform that included 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.

The 38th District includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

Gov. David Paterson’s decision to make the race a special election created some controversy. 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.

Seminerio resigned from his seat in June after pleading guilty 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@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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