Basil Smikle, a well-known political operative and one-time candidate for state Senate, on Thursday was named the new executive director of the state Democratic Committee.
“Basil is a national-caliber political operative and we are lucky to have him leading day-to-day operations for the State Democratic Party,” former Gov. David Paterson, the state party chairman, said in a statement. “Basil combines a mastery of public policy with an inherent feel for communities throughout New York State. With his impressive academic credentials as a policy thinker and his vast experience in electoral politics, he will play a key role in leading Democratic efforts heading into the 2016 election cycle.”
The news of Smikle’s appointment was first reported by The Daily News, which also reported this morning the departure of longtime aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Drew Zambelli.
Smikle was an aide to Hillary Clinton during her 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate in New York and later served as her deputy state director.
He unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Sen. Bill Perkins in a 2010 primary.
Smikle runs a consulting firm and contributes to Washington, D.C.-based The Hill.
The Smikle appointments comes after Cuomo’s re-election to a second term and some jockeying among both Democrats and Republicans to potentially run to replace him in 2018.
Cuomo recently changed the named of his campaign committee to Andrew Cuomo 2018 and his former top aide, Larry Schwartz, expects he will run for a third term.