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Reed mystified by the state's delay in accepting his resignation from NY 23

Reed believes Hochul administration is desirous of having a special election on the same day as party primaries for his former district.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Former Congressman Tom Reed says his official letter of resignation sent to state officials, including the Governor and the State Secretary of State, keeps getting bucked back due to "bizarre technical reasons".

But he also suspects it's being done to ensure that a special election to replace him is held on a certain date.

When he resigned on May 10, Reed said he'd inform the Governor's office about his decision so that she could set a special election for someone to serve out the remainder of his term representing NY 23.

Under state law, she has 10 days to do this.

But it's been two weeks, and she still hasn't.

We contacted the Governor's office to see what was up, but it only sent an email back with contacts for the State Department of State.

Under Section 31 of the NYS Public Officers Law, Reed's notification should have been submitted to the Secretary of State.

Uncertain if this was was a matter of the resignation notice being sent to the wrong office or a clerical error, we contacted the State Department of State, whose spokesperson sent a one-sentence e-mail that reads:

"The Department of State has not yet received a letter from Congressman Reed that complies with the requirements of Public Officers Law Section 31."

The response offered no information regarding which requirements have not been complied with.

Reed: Stop Playing Games

"To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know exactly what's going on here," said Reed, from his office where he now works as a Washington-based lobbyist.

But Reed, who insists he notified both the Governor and the Secretary of State of his intentions, says he's also he's spoken to his former chief staff, who reports there has been all manner of difficulties in getting state officials to essentially acknowledge his resignation.

"I did it on the House floor, on TV....but for some reason, they're setting up all sorts of hoops to make us jump through," said Reed.

"We've been getting very strange instructions on how to do this... and we've gotten this hyper-technical response that it (Reed's resignation notice) had to have certain labeling on it, even that the envelope had to be marked 'urgent'...or that it had to be delivered in a certain way to be acceptable, and I just don't see any of that in the Public Officers Law."

Here's what we do know.

Once the resignation is accepted, the Governor has by law 10 days to call for a special election, which must take place between 70 and 80 days thereafter.

Had she done so when Reed resigned, it would have placed the election on the calendar for sometime in late July or early August.

If Hochul called for the special election right now, it would have to be held no later than August 11.

Reed suspects the Hochul administration wants the special election to be held on the same day as the party primary for the new 23rd congressional district, which is August 23. 

Which is something he actually agrees with.

However, he's also grown weary of speculation that he is up to something or at fault for any delays here.

"I've resigned and I'm not playing games here," said Reed. "And so, when we sent it (his resignation notification) in right away, someone had to come up with some legal argument to say it wasn't effective, rather than just be straight and say, 'Don't send it until this point in time so that we can save a lot of time, money and confusion for the New York voter," said Reed. "Don't obfuscate, just do things straight up...and this is the kind of thing the electorate gets frustrated with, quite frankly."

Reed also claimed it was suggested to him that he should postdate his resignation, but said, "I'm not interested in being involved in any conversations about post-dating or holding back the resignation," while noting that he has already begun his career as a lobbyist, and that's illegal to be both an active lobbyist and member of Congress.

Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul announced that U.S. Rep Antonio Delgado will be sworn in as Lt. Governor on Wednesday.

It has been known for approximately several weeks that he intended to leave Congress to take on his new role, however by holding off on his official resignation from the House of Representatives until May 25, allows Hochul to call for a special election to replace him to take place on Aug. 23, the same day as the rescheduled congressional and state Senate primaries.

Following the Process Here, But Not There 

Regarding Delgado's resigning from Congress to become  Lt. Governor, Governor Hochul stated she would “follow the process set out by law and issue a proclamation declaring a special election", even though she failed to do that when it came to NY 23.

On that note, however, it will be interesting to see if the Department of State's apparent concerns with Reed's resignation notice is magically resolved in a day or two, in order to allow for a special election in NY 23 to also take place on August 23.

Delgado was picked by Hochul to become the next Lt. Governor after her previous appointee to the post, Brian Benjamin, was indicted on criminal charges.

Following Benjamin's resignation, which came too late to remove his name from the ballot under existing state election law, Hochul's fellow Democrats who hold a majority in the state legislature hastily voted to change the law to allow a candidate to remove their name from the ballot if they’ve been arrested or are facing criminal charges. 

This not only allowed for Benjamin's name to be stricken from the ballot but also allows Delgado to be named as the Democratic Party’s preferred lieutenant governor candidate.

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