Massa Special Election May Be Pushed to Fall

Posted March 31, 2010 at 5:00pm

New York Democrats have begun expressing concerns about the costs of a special election to fill the 29th district House seat, raising the prospect that the state won’t hold a vote to fill the vacancy any earlier than the regularly scheduled primaries in September.

On Wednesday, the office of Gov. David Paterson (D), who has sole jurisdiction to call a special election, indicated costs were a consideration in the timing.

“We have some serious concerns about the financial impact that a special election could have on the county level, especially because those counties are facing the same fiscal crisis that the state is facing,” spokeswoman Maggie McKeon said via e-mail. “Furthermore, the governor has no interest in disenfranchising military voters who are overseas, and who may not be given adequate time to vote given the short time frame of a special election calendar. This is some of what is being considered, but no final decision has been made yet.”

Chemung County Democratic Party Chairwoman Cindy Emmer also told a local news outlet she would prefer the state hold off on the election because it could be “cost prohibitive.”

That prospect did not sit well with GOP candidate Tom Reed, the former mayor of Corning, who expressed frustration with the Democrats’ stalling during a Wednesday morning call with reporters. “Delaying this special election is unacceptable,” he said.

Democrats, meanwhile, continue to make their way through their candidate selection process as they seek to tap a potential successor to former Rep. Eric Massa (D), who resigned earlier this month in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal.

Party officials tried to keep their list of possible candidates secret, but the names of the six Democrats they have interviewed leaked Tuesday. Among the reported names are Assemblyman David Koon; former Allegany County District Legislator Michael McCormick; 2008 Congressional candidate and businessman David Nachbar; Paterson aide Mary Wilmot; teacher David Rose; and local resident Matthew Zeller.

Koon told Roll Call last week he already has assembled $200,000 in pledged donations, should he become the nominee.