New York: Republican Contenders Shuffling Off in Buffalo

Posted April 2, 2008 at 6:48pm

A quartet of big-name Republicans has decided in the past few days against running for the seat that Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) will leave at the end of 2008, The Buffalo News reported.

On Wednesday, attorney Mike Powers, the vice chairman of the Erie County Republican Party, and investment firm executive Jordan Levy, who is also chairman of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., told the News that they wouldn’t run.

On Tuesday, Erie County Control Board Chairman Anthony Baynes and Nick Sinatra, Northeast political director for the Bush White House, said that they would not compete. Baynes is officially a member of the Conservative Party but was contemplating a bid on the GOP line.

With the chairmen of the seven county Republican parties in the 26th district scheduled to meet Wednesday night, after Roll Call went to press, the leading potential GOP candidates were seen as businessman Anthony Lee, Iraq War veterans David Pigott and David Bellavia, businessmen Christopher Jacobs and Rick Lewis, and Marsha Henderson, a former bank president who is now a vice president at the University of Buffalo. Only Bellavia has formally announced his intention to run.

The GOP chairmen were expected to discuss the process for officially designating a party-backed candidate, though bestowing that designation on someone does not automatically forestall a September primary.

On the Democratic side, factory owner Jack Davis, the 2004 and 2006 nominee against Reynolds, Iraq War veteran Jon Powers and attorney Alice Kryzan are already running. But local pols are waiting to see if Erie County Clerk Kathleen Hochul, who is potentially very formidable, decides to get in the race.

Although the 26th district has more enrolled Republicans than Democrats, Democrats believe they have a solid chance of picking up the seat in November.
— Josh Kurtz