Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fallout from NY Rep. Chris Lee's Resignation Over Inappropriate Emails

How will Rep. Chris Lee's departure affect NYS politics? Well, now that the Republican Congressman who represents the district outside Buffao has resigned, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to call for a special election to fill his seat.

Under New York law, his replacement doesn't actually have to live in the district. He or she merely has to be a New York state resident. That means Lee's replacement could come from anywhere in the state, although there are a couple of favorites among the GOP, and Carl Paladino's name is being floated:
– Ex-Assemblyman Jack Quinn. His father served in Congress, and Jack just waged a very public (but unsuccessful) campaign against now-Sen. Tim Kennedy. By phone, Quinn confirmed he was interested, adding “I may be the only candidate out there who is just coming off an election where we put together a plan to see what the people of western New York need.”

– Assemblywoman Jane Corwin. She comes from the tony suburb of Clarence and lives just doors away from Erie County Executive Chris Collins, an ally. She has a solid profile — a family woman, a successful businesswoman, a (albeit short) legislative career — and the ability to raise money or self-fund.

– Ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds. It as his seat originally, and one source suggested he’s getting antsy as a lobbyist for Nixon Peabody.

– Assemblyman Jim Hayes. He’s a work horse, serving as the GOP’s ranking member on the Assembly Ways & Means Committee. But one source suggested he’s been cautious about runs for higher offices in the past, and he’s got a pretty solid perch in the Assembly.

– Sen. George Maziarz. The Niagara County Republican is short in stature but not ambition. He has long hoped for a greater role in the Senate — he was appointed to its number three slot when the GOP won back the majority in 2010 — but has always been treated as someone with his own best interests in mind. The other senators are the just-elected Pat Gallivan and Mike Ranzenhofer, who keeps a relatively mellow profile.

– Maggie Brooks. According to Bill Nojay, a Rochester-based pundit, she’s long coveted a congressional seat but is wary of taking on Slaughter. Will this be her opportunity?

– Carl Paladino. I floated it as a joke, but then a source e-mailed to say it’s actually being considered. Paladino, a wealthy Western New York developer, was the GOP’s candidate for governor.
Also, there's the further matter of redistricting that is now underway and the existing district may be combined with neighboring districts in the process since NY is losing two seats in Congress.

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