New York: Democrats Set to Make Massa Special Pick

Posted March 17, 2010 at 6:48pm

By the end of the month, Democrats in the 29th district expect to unify around one candidate for the anticipated special election for the seat vacated by ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D).

Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan, the chairman of the Steuben County Democratic Committee, said Wednesday that the district’s eight county party chairmen plan to meet and interview at least six prospective candidates on either March 27 or 29. “I’m fully confident that we’ll come away … with a consensus candidate,” Hogan said.

Hogan would not name the hopefuls being interviewed.

“We’re vetting through a big list of interested candidates,” Hogan said. “We have some very well-qualified and issue-oriented individuals.”

The special election to fill Massa’s seat has not yet been scheduled.

Local officials are waiting on Gov. David Paterson (D) to designate the seat as vacant, at which point he has 30 to 40 days to set a special election date. The governor’s office did not return a call inquiring about the status of the election as of press time Wednesday.

Hogan said he has “not heard a word from the governor” and wondered whether, to save on the expense, “they may hold this thing off until the Sept. 14 primary.”

Former Corning Mayor Tom Reed, the consensus candidate on the GOP side, suggested in a Wednesday conference call that Massa should have to foot the bill. “He caused the need for a special election, he should pay for it with the money in his bank,” Reed said of his former rival, who stepped down amid allegations that he had sexually harassed male employees on his staff.