American voters have cast their ballots for a deceased person in the past. But this is the first time that a dead candidate wins an election.
Last Friday, Republican assemblyman Bill Nojay, 59, the incumbent in the 133rd district near Rochester, fatally shot himself. But his name still appeared on the primary ballot and he beat his opponent for state assembly in a northern New York district on Tuesday, several news outlets reported.
According to The New Yok Times, the incumbent assemblyman was an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential run and urged him to run for New York governor as a path to the White House in 2013. Nojay was later a co-chairman of Trump’s New York campaign committee.
It’s not clear what caused Nojay to take his own life, but it was reported that Nojay was scheduled to appear in court on Friday on fraud-related charges over his handling of a trust fund as an attorney. Additionally, he was “a silent partner in a company that won a tentative contract to oversee the second phase of the $1.3bn Rochester schools modernization project” and involved in a separate fraud trial in Cambodia, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
Rick Milne, the mayor of Honeoye Falls, said that a successor must be chosen within 10 days by the chairmen of the Republican parties in Monroe, Steuben and Livingston counties, which make up New York’s 133rd district. That person will go on to face Democrat Barbara Baer, a lawyer and social worker who is running unopposed, in the general election.