Kryzan Pulls Upset in New York’s 26th District

Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:16pm

Attorney Alice Kryzan, who was an afterthought in most discussions of the race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), appears to have pulled off a stunning upset in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, defeating a multimillionaire making his third run for the seat and the handpicked candidate of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted in the Buffalo-Rochester-area 26th district, Kryzan had 42 percent of the vote and appeared headed for victory. Iraq War veteran Jon Powers, the choice of the DCCC and many local Democratic leaders, had 35 percent. Jack Davis, a wealthy factory owner who fell a few points shy of upsetting Reynolds in 2006, had 23 percent.

Assuming her lead holds, Kryzan will face Chris Lee (R), a wealthy businessman, in November. The district leans Republican, but Democrats have talked boldly of flipping the seat this year. That talk faded somewhat as Republicans got firmly behind Lee and the primary battle between Powers and Davis became expensive — and nasty. Davis spent at least $2 million on the race, according to campaign finance records, and Powers spent close to $800,000.

But Kryzan, who spent about $450,000, largely remained above the fray, and her victory Tuesday could change the dynamic in the district headed into the fall election.