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Spano, Jaffe jump into mix for Latimer’s vacated Senate seat

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Harrison resident Mark Jaffe are the latest candidates to announce their bid for the senate seat that will be vacated when George Latimer becomes Westchester County executive.

The Yonkers mayor, a Democrat, stated his interest in the position officially in a video announcement on Dec. 13. Spano is currently serving a second four-year term that is set to expire in 2019.

Jaffe, who is currently the chief executive of a business advocacy nonprofit based in New York City called the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, announced his candidacy on Dec. 12.

“In these tumultuous times we need to be unified,” Jaffe said in a statement. “I pledge to fight every day to deliver necessary services and maintain core Democratic values. If elected, I will fight for greater transparency in government, more affordable higher education, improved public health and safety, mass transit improvements and use my skills to help create good paying jobs.”

Jaffe has unsuccessfully ran for office five times, losing a race for Harrison Town Council in 2009 and a Democratic primary for a state Assembly seat the following year.

In 2011, Jaffe ran for county legislator, but lost that Democratic primary as well. In 2013, he was nominated by the party for the same seat, but ultimately lost in the general election to incumbent Legislator David Gelfarb, a Republican.

Jaffe ran another unsuccessful campaign for Harrison Town Council in 2015, when Republicans won every seat on the board.

The candidates’ announcements come after state Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, of Yonkers; Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick; and White Plains’ Kat Brezler, a teacher and former campaign organizer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential bid, have already said that they are interested in the Senate seat.

The Senate’s 37th District covers Rye, White Plains, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Yonkers, North Castle, Bedford, and Eastchester.

Since a primary will not be held for the vacated seat, county Democratic leaders will be tasked with choosing a candidate to run in a special election.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has not yet announced whether there will be a special election to fill the final year of Latimer’s vacated seat. The governor is not required to call for a special election, and has the option to let the seat remain unfilled until the November 2018 election.

The election may be important for Democrats to regain more ground on Republicans that will hold a 31-30 majority in January. The 37th District seat is one of two vacated positions in the New York state Senate.

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