New York Democrats Pick Owens for Special Election

Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:15pm

Democratic leaders in New York’s 23rd district will back Plattsburgh attorney Bill Owens as the party’s nominee in the upcoming special election to replace Rep. John McHugh (R).

“Tonight, we are proud to declare our support for Bill Owens,— the Democratic chairmen said in a joint statement Monday evening. “Bill Owens has devoted his career to serving our country and helping create jobs in New York, and in Congress he will use his experience to get our economy moving again and create jobs.—

Owens said in a statement: “I am running for Congress to use my experience to get our local economy moving again and create good paying jobs.—

The Democratic chairmen in the 11 counties within New York’s 23rd district interviewed 10 potential candidates today at Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Conference Center. Michael Oot, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge to McHugh in 2008, had also qualified to receive an interview but withdrew his name from consideration earlier today.

The Democratic Party had previously signaled its intention to back state Sen. Darrel Aubertine (D) in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election, but Aubertine announced last week that he wouldn’t run. State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava will be the Republican nominee in the special election.

The Senate adjourned for the August recess without voting on McHugh’s nomination for secretary of the Army, but he’s expected to be confirmed. If McHugh is confirmed in September, New York political insiders expect Gov. David Patterson (D) to set the special election for the Nov. 3 election day.