Angela Wozniak Will Not Seek Re-Election to Western New York Assembly Seat
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In March, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie issued sanctions against Western New York legislator Angela Wozniak for ethics violations associated with a sexual relationship she had with a staffer.
"What I urged her to do at that time was to go out into her district and work to see if she still had the confidence of her constituency to be able to represent them in the assembly," Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said.
By Tuesday, Wozniak apparently changed her mind. The assemblywoman said after a great deal of consideration, she will not seek a second term.
"Obviously it's been a difficult year for her and her family and I think she's made the right decision for the most important people which is her and her family, her husband and son," Langworthy said.
Just two years ago, the young Conservative was viewed as a rising star after becoming the first non-Democrat to win the seat in decades. In the wake of her predecessor Dennis Gabryszak's sexual harassment scandal, she ran on a "family values" platform.
"I've come to know her. I like Angela a great deal," Langworthy said. "I wish her the best. I think it's disappointing that this ends like this because I think that there was a lot of upside for her career."
This fall, local Democrats are hoping to take back the seat by capitalizing on the same ethics reform wave that contributed to Wozniak's 2014 win.
"We have a problem in Albany," Democratic candidate Monica Wallace said. "If we keep sending the same kinds of politicians to Albany, we're not going to see any change."
County Dem chairman Jeremy Zellner used Tuesday's development to once again promote the law professor Wallace who is endorsed by the committee. The political newcomer said Wozniak's exit won't change the way she campaigns.
"We're going to continue to run hard," she said. "I'm sure there will be another person. I wouldn't be surprised if there will be another person coming in on the Republican ticket or the Conservative ticket and we're ready for it."
Wallace's primary opponent Jim Rogowski, meanwhile, offered his best wishes to Wozniak as she works things out with her family.
"I don't throw stones because no one lives in a glass house," he said.
Whoever wins the primary would likely have been considered the favorite whether Wozniak ran or not.
"It's a heavily Democrat seat," Langworthy said. "The Democratic enrollment, particularly in a presidential year where many Democrats will come out to vote that might not vote in off years I think will be severe."
Langworthy said he's already been approached by candidates interested in running for the seat.