WOODBURY - A special election is being held next Tuesday in the New York state Senate's District 9 to fill the vacancy left after Dean Skelos was convicted of corruption charges. News 12 Long Island's Rich Barrabi takes a closer look at the candidates and key issues at play.
Republican Chris McGrath and Democrat Todd Kaminsky are vying for the seat left vacant by Skelos, who was convicted in December. In a debate inside the News 12 studios, McGrath distanced himself from Skelos.
"I've never been part of his firm, he's never been part of mine," Kaminsky said. "We've never had a meal together."
Meanwhile, Kaminsky, a sitting assemblyman, worked to separate himself from former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was also convicted of corruption.
"When the evidence came out about Sheldon Silver, I was one of the few that stood up to him and removed him from being speaker," he said.
Skelos' name is in many ways still synonymous with District 9, and some voters say they will make their vote based in part on the actions of their former senator.
Both candidates say the race should be more than just a referendum on convicted felons.
Laurence Hirsh, of the Green Party, is also a candidate in the state Senate District 9 race.