New York: Party Leaders Want Powers’ Foes Gone

Posted June 10, 2008 at 6:31pm

Western New York Democratic leaders, who have already endorsed Iraq War veteran Jon Powers in the race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R), on Tuesday called on Powers’ three Democratic primary opponents to get out of the race.

In a letter, they said that Powers’ foes should take inspiration from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D) recent decision to abandon her presidential ambitions.

“Like Senator Clinton selflessly suspended her campaign for the greater cause of electing a Democrat to the White House, we need to unite behind one candidate to put our strongest foot forward in electing a Democrat to represent Western New York families in Congress,” the seven county Democratic chairmen in the 26th district wrote.

But the leaders aren’t likely to get any instant gratification.

One of Powers’ opponents, wealthy factory owner Jack Davis, spent in the neighborhood of $4 million of his own money running unsuccessfully against Reynolds in 2004 and 2006 and has vowed to spend $3 million to win the race this year. Erie County Councilwoman Kathy Konst and attorney Alice Kryzan are also seeking the Democratic nomination.

While stopping short of endorsing Powers, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman said the committee is impressed with Powers’ grass-roots support and believes Democratic unity in the district is critical now that Republicans have coalesced around wealthy businessman Chris Lee as their preferred nominee to replace Reynolds.

“Certainly it cannot be overlooked that Jon Powers has the support of all seven of the Democratic county committees, the Working Families Party and a number of local unions,” DCCC spokeswoman Carrie James said.

— Josh Kurtz