Barclay Not Running For Congress

Assemblyman Will Barclay
Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski)

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) has decided against running for his party’s nomination to run for Congress.

Barclay announced his decision Sunday night, saying that his conscience would not let him run.  He said that he had two choices, both poor ones, if he decided to run.  He would either have to miss work in the state Legislature to make the run, or give up his seat and saddle taxpayers with the cost of a special election.

“But fate has it that this is not a good time for someone who thinks his sort of common sense and sound judgment are badly needed right where he is to just walk away. And so I will seek re-election to the New York State Assembly,” he wrote.

It’s the second time Barclay has come close to a bid for Congress.

He was one of the politicians considered last year when party leaders chose Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava to try to hold the seat given up by John McHugh when he became Secretary of the Army.

Scozzafava famously dropped out of the race the weekend before the election and threw her support to the eventual winner, Democrat Bill Owens.

Barclay’s decision leaves two candidates seeking the Republican nomination.  Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party’s candidate in last year’s special election, declared his intention to seek the Republican line last week.  Matt Doheny, a businessman from Watertown, has said he will run for the nomination but has not made his candidacy official yet.

The Congressional district is among the largest in the country, covering the sprawling North Country from Hannibal to Plattsburgh. Owens is the first Democrat to represent much of that region in more than a century.

Barclay’s full statement:

“I will not be a candidate for Congress this year.

When I set about on this quest to be elected to represent the people of New York’s 23rd district in the United States Congress, I fully expected that at this point I would be issuing a statement detailing why I think we need to replace liberal Democrat Bill Owens and why I think I can and should be the person to do so.

As the days went by, increasingly I came to realize that something was gnawing at me. You can sum it up with one simple word: duty.

We live in a time of rampant cynicism so maybe it won’t take long for some cynic to gleefully throw at me that famous line by George Bernard Shaw: “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

I fully expect and resign myself to accepting that my citing duty as the reason for my decision will be dismissed by some, perhaps by many, with cynical comments. So be it.

Had I run for Congress I would have had a duty to those who support my candidacy to put in as much time on the campaign trail as my opponents. There are only two ways I could do that.

One way would be to go out campaigning even when I was duty-bound to be in Albany working at the job to which the people have already elected me and for which the taxpayers are paying me to perform. This may well be something that occurs all the time – but I could not in good conscience do that. It’s just not right.

The other way would be to resign my office as a member of the New York State Assembly and devote full time to campaigning for Congress. On first thought this struck me as both an honorable and a practical solution. But upon further reflection I concluded that besides causing the inconvenience and cost of a special election to fill my vacancy, this, too, would be shirking my duty to the people who elected me to the office I now hold.

The financial crisis facing New York State worsens by the day and among its consequences is that those of us whom the people have chosen to represent them in Albany will need to spend a great deal more time on that duty than has been the norm in years past. And today, more than ever before, Albany needs legislators who have the fiscal responsibility and good judgment to seek and insist upon real solutions that protect our state’s future.

In a different year, I could have and would have made a different decision.

It was, I freely admit, very tempting to excuse myself from the ever worsening woes of Albany.

What made it all the more tempting is that I also happen to believe that come January America will have a new Republican majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives – and it would be exciting and a great honor to be among the new team on Capitol Hill reversing our downward spiral, preserving and protecting the American Republic and restoring it to its greatest heights.

But fate has it that this is not a good time for someone who thinks his sort of common sense and sound judgment are badly needed right where he is to just walk away. And so I will seek re-election to the New York State Assembly.

The primary election to pick the Republican candidate to face liberal Democrat Bill Owens is still a long way off – September 15th – and for all we know other possibilities not even now being talked about may emerge.

Because that race has such a serious impact on the people of my area, I intend to continue to speak up and speak out about it as I deem appropriate. I would like to meet with the current contenders, and any future contenders, to discuss issues and hear each one of them out on why he is the one with the best chance of defeating Bill Owens in November. And I will do this with the thought of possibly endorsing and campaigning for one of them in the primary.

Finally, as I have already pledged in writing: I will support whichever candidate Republican voters choose in the primary. Any candidate worthy of the Republican nomination must, in my view, do the same.”

1 Comment

Comments are closed.