Republican Sarmad M. Khojasteh late last week filed to run for the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat in Westchester County that could be pivotal for control of the chamber.
Khojasteh was born in Iran and immigrated with his family to the U.S. after the Islamic Revolution. Khojasteh grew up in Poughkeepsie and attended the University of Chicago Law School.
He now lives in Bedford with his wife and children.
The seat is held by Democratic Sen. George Latimer, who will take office as Westchester County executive next month.
Democrats Shelley Mayer, a state assemblywoman, Yonkers Mike Spano and People For Bernie co-founder Kat Brezler are also expected to seek the local party nod to run.
The seat will be filled in a special election that will likely be a flashpoint in the power struggle within the Senate.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed a plan last month that would require the mainline Democratic conference and eight-member Independent Democratic Conference to work together to win the Westchester County race as well as seat in the Bronx being vacated by Sen. Ruben Diaz.
At that point, Democrats would have to convince Sen. Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat, to defect from the Republican conference. Felder has said he would align himself with whichever conference promises the most for his constituents.
Should Democrats win both seats, the party would have 32 enrolled members in the chamber. The special election is not expected to be held until after the state budget is finalized, upsetting liberals who are pushing for Democratic unity in the chamber now, not at a later date.
The Westchester seat has long been sought by Republicans, who have spent heavily in the last 10 years in an attempt to flip the district with no success.