Westchester County Republicans are expecting to choose from a pool of two candidates to run in a special election to fill County Executive George Latimer’s recently vacated state Senate seat.
Sarmad Khojasteh, a commercial litigation attorney from the town of Bedford, is bidding for the Republican nomination to face-off against Democratic nominee Shelley Mayer, an incumbent state assemblywoman from Yonkers.
An emigrate who was born in Iran 1981, Khojasteh relocated to the United States in 1982 after the Islamic Revolution and during the Iran-Iraq War.
“Unfortunately, many of our elected officials seem intent on proposing legislation as a form of protest, or to win political points in a game of partisan ping pong, rather than listening to their constituents and coming up with ideas that would help to solve real problems for the people they serve,” Khojasteh said. “I believe that by replacing career politicians with independent-minded, practical problem solvers in Albany we can put the American dream back within reach of all New Yorkers.”
Khojasteh joins Dan Schorr, who has also announced his plans to seek the Senate’s 37th District seat. Schorr unsuccessfully ran for county District Attorney nine years ago, losing to then-District Attorney Janet DiFiore, a Democrat.
Schorr is well known around the county, previously serving as a prosecutor in Westchester and New York City and as the Yonkers inspector general.
The Senate’s 37th District covers Rye, White Plains, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Yonkers, North Castle, Bedford, and Eastchester.
As of press time, the Westchester County Republican Party has not announced a date for when it will nominate its candidate, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has not yet called for a special election.
The governor is not necessarily required to call for a special election. Cuomo has the option to let the seat remain unfilled until the November 2018 election. Latimer, a Democrat, vacated the seat on Jan. 1 after being sworn in as county executive.
The election may be crucial for Republicans to prevent Democrats from regaining more ground in the Senate, as Republicans currently hold a slim 31-30 majority, as of press time. The 37th District seat is one of two vacated positions in the state Senate this year. The Senate’s 32nd District seat, which covers an area in the Bronx, has also been vacated.
Doug Colety, the chairman of the county Republican Committee, could not be reached for comment.