Joseph Chilelli, a Democrat of Herkimer County who hopes to join the Assembly in 2013, says he doesn't know much about Speaker Sheldon Silver or the allegations that have rocked the conference he'd be a part of if he won.
"To be honest with you, I'm not familiar with the allegations," said Mr. Chilelli, who is facing Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, on Nov. 6. "I really don't have much to comment on."
Here's a good refresher: Mr. Silver, D-Manhattan, has come under fire for authorizing a taxpayer-funded, secret $100,000 payout to women who said they were sexually harassed by Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn.
But he said his approach is a local one, and he's missed the story.
"I try to have enough on my plate locally," Mr. Chilelli said, adding: "If there was wrongdoing, him like anybody else should be held accountable."
Asked whether he would vote for Mr. Silver to continue as speaker, Mr. Chilelli was agnostic.
"I've heard of him, but I don't know where he stands or anything like that," said Mr. Chilelli.
The two men spoke about politics a few weeks ago, he added. Mr. Chilelli was seeking advice on his race.
The district he's running for includes a gerrymandered slice of St. Lawrence County, including Madrid, Norfolk, Stockholm, Parishville, Pierrepont, Clare, Colton, Clifton and Fine.
Mr. Butler did not respond to a phone message left for comment.
Mr. Silver is facing calls for his resignation from the state Republican Party, which launched a petition that says simply, Fire Shelly.