CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB)- An assemblywoman from Cheektowaga will not run for re-election. Angela Wozniak made the announcement Tuesday.
Party leaders called it “an anomaly” when Assemblywoman Wozniak won the 143rd District Assembly seat in 2014. A Republican hadn’t represented the district in decades.
But her exit follows a very similar pattern as her predecessor.
“In all of my time in politics, from the local, county, state, and federal level, I can never remember a situation like this where two in a row fell prey to the same problem,” said Carl Calabrese, a political analyst.
In September a male staffer accused the 29-year-old Assemblywoman of sexual harassment. An investigation found the claims were false but Wozniak admitted to having an affair with the staffer. The State Assembly Ethics and Guidance Committee approved sanctions against her.
Dennis Gabryszak held the seat before Wozniak but resigned after he was accused of sexually harassing female staffers.
Tuesday Wozniak released a statement that said, “After a great deal of consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election to the 143rd Assembly District and will be taking this time to focus on my family. I extend my sincere appreciation to everyone for their support over the past two years. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the great residents of our community.”
Political analyst Carl Calabrese said Wozniak made the right choice.
“Could she have run again? Yes. would she have won? Probably not,” he said.
Calabrese told News 4 that going forward there is “no fool proof way to vet a candidate.”
He said because politicians spend so much time away from home, they are susceptible to problems with infidelity, alcohol and finances.
“I think the best type of candidate would be somebody who’s got a long record in the private sector, non-for-profit sector, who’s not a professional politician, who’s got a good ethical background a good reputation,” said Calabrese.
Erie County Republican Chair Nick Langworthy told News 4 four people have already stepped forward to run.
“We’re going to work very hard to find someone that has a broad array of experience, hopefully someone with private sector experience that they can lean on as they serve us hopefully in Albany next year,” said Langworthy.
Langworthy told News 4 recruiting candidates has become harder over the last few years. The vetting process also become more extensive, he said.
Meanwhile, Erie County Democrats have endorsed local lawyer Monica Wallace.
Chairman Jeremy Zellner released a statement Tuesday that said, “Today, with the news that Assemblywoman Wozniak will not seek re-election, the 143rd Assembly District has been given an opportunity to choose a new candidate that represents the very best of their community, and one that restores integrity and trust to Albany.
“Monica Wallace has proven herself to be that candidate. As a first-time candidate, Monica managed to win the overwhelming support of the committee members in the 143rd district, showcasing her incredible ability to bring people together and get things done. As a mother, a respected lawyer, former federal law clerk, and teacher of ethics at UB’s school of law, Monica brings a unique perspective to this seat and provides the 143rd district with the kind of dynamic leadership they deserve.
No matter who the Republicans select to run on their radical platform, we are confident that voters want to elect a new voice, and will share our view that Monica Wallace is by far the best choice.”