UPPER EAST SIDE — Embattled Upper East Side Assemblyman Micah Kellner will reportedly not seek re-election.
Kellner’s political future has been in question since allegations that he sexually harassed two staffers surfaced last summer during his campaign for City Council. Kellner lost the democratic nomination to Ben Kallos after several high-profile people withdrew their endorsements of him.
In December 2013, the Senate’s ethics committee found that Kellner violated its sexual harassment policy. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released a letter admonishing Kellner and imposing sanctions on the Upper East Side assemblyman.
Kellner is appealing the decision and has asked for a public hearing on the matter. His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday morning.
“In light of the slow pace of the appeal, I decided to not to run for re-election because this community deserves an election based on the issues they care about and not a referendum on sensationalized, five-year-old allegations," Kellner told the Observer.
Speculation that Kellner would not seek re-election grew after his January 2014 campaign finance filing with the New York State Board of Elections. The report showed that Kellner hadn’t raised any money in campaign contributions in the preceding months and had a balance of only $92.26 remaining in his account.
By comparison, Ed Hartzog and David Menegon, the two declared candidates for the 76th district seat, have raised $25,250 and $21,116 respectively. Cory Evans and Gus Christensen, who have each said they are considering a run, have raised even more, at $250,000 and $387,171 respectively.
Hartzog issued a statement Thursday night praising Kellner’s decision.
“We commend Mr. Kellner on not seeking relection because it will help this district and the entire state focus on what is important, making our government more honest and transparent,” he said in a statment. “In the coming months, I hope now we can have a conversation about what we need to improve Albany, such as campaign finance reform, sensible development and creating open, green space for our district.”