The Real Deal New York

Niou beats Silver ally for state Assembly seat in primary

The win could signal the former speaker's waning influence
September 14, 2016 01:37PM

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From left: Yuh-Line Niou, Sheldon Silver and Alice Cancel

Yuh-Line Niou beat out Sheldon Silver supporter Alice Cancel for the disgraced state Assembly speaker’s seat in the primary Tuesday.

Niou won a six-way race for the Democratic nomination for Silver’s spot, all but assuring that she’ll be elected in November, the New York Times reported. Cancel, a longtime Silver ally who had won the special election for the 65th District seat in April, only secured 12 percent of the vote on Tuesday, perhaps signaling that Silver’s hold over the district is waning.

Silver held onto his Lower Manhattan seat for four decades and wielded enormous influence over his district. He’s currently appealing a 12-year prison sentence for federal corruption charges. Last month, a judge granted Silver bail, meaning that the ex-speaker won’t have to go to jail for at least another year while he awaits appeal.

Niou formerly worked as chief of staff for Assemblyman Ron Kim of Flushing. If she wins in the general election, she and Kim would be the only Assembly members of Asian descent.

“The entire 65th is ready for change,” Niou said on Tuesday. “I think it’s very long overdue — we are 14 percent of the population, and we are not yet one percent of the representation, even with this win.” [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel