September primary if signatures gathered
By Kevin E. Foley
Beacon City Council Member Ali T. Muhammad announced this week that he intends to challenge incumbent state Assemblyman Frank Skartados in a primary race for the Democratic Party nomination for the 104th Assembly District, which includes Beacon and parts of Poughkeepsie on this side of the Hudson and Newburgh and towns north on the west side.
Muhammad, 35, in his second term on the Beacon council, stood with about a dozen supporters at the base of Mt. Beacon on Route 9D on June 7 to declare his candidacy.
“I am a Bernie Sanders Democrat; I am an independent Democrat; and I am a public servant that does just that, serves the public,” he said in a statement. “I am not seeking the party establishment endorsement because the people’s voice is where my priorities are. I am running for the New York State Assembly to be the people’s voice, not the party bosses’. Today we kick off the petition process and my committed group of supporters will start gathering signatures to put my name on the ballot.”
To qualify for the September primary, Muhammad will need a minimum of 500 signatures of registered Democrats who live in the district.
Skartados, a Greek immigrant businessman with interests in Poughkeepsie, is in the last year of his second term in the Assembly. He won his two elections in the district with at least 60 percent of the vote. He resides on a small farm in Milton on the west side of the river.
In running against a Democratic incumbent, Muhammad will no doubt add to his strained relationship with the Dutchess County Democratic organization, which has taken him to task for past support of candidates of other parties.
Muhammad told The Current he wanted to work toward reforming the way the state government in Albany operates, citing the wide range of investigations and corruption charges against officials. He listed women’s equal pay and rights, campaign finance reform and prison reform as key issues on his agenda.