dean skelos

Tom Libous, a longtime elected representative from his beloved Southern Tier, died today at the age of 63. 

The former senator had been battling cancer since an initial diagnosis in 2009.  Former staffer Emmanuel Priest said in a statement, "with great sorrow and sadness the Libous family has shared the news that our friend Senator Tom Libous passed away this evening surrounded by family and friends."

Karen DeWitt

Two special elections were also held Tuesday, to fill the seats vacated by the two former legislative leaders, who were both convicted of felony corruption and had to resign. The Assembly race was won by a Democrat, in the Senate, Republicans are asking for a hand count of paper ballots , while the Democrat has declared victory.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Senate Democrats are optimistic about their chances for winning a special election in April to replace convicted ex Senate Leader Dean Skelos .

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, in an interview with public radio and television,  predicts the Democratic candidate in the race for the Skelos seat , Assemblyman and former prosecutor  Todd Kaminsky, will do “quite well”, and represents “a break from the past”.

“Which frankly, voters out there deserve and need,” Stewart Cousins said.

Kaminsky faces Republican Attorney Chris McGrath.

Karen DeWitt

  The second legislative leader to be convicted of corruption has now filed his retirement papers, and is eligible for an annual pension that could nearly reach six figures.

Karen Dewitt

  2015 saw the fall of two of the three most powerful people in state government, and the rise of one US Attorney. 

Less than a year ago, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos led the legislature. They were both at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State speech on January 21, sitting on stage , where Cuomo acknowledged his partners in the government triumvirate.

“To a good year, Dean,” Cuomo said, to applause from the assembled lawmakers and lobbyists in the cavernous auditorium. “ It’s a pleasure to be with you Mr. Speaker.”

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