Democrats Set Date To Pick Congressional Candidate

Democrats won’t wait much longer to pick a candidate for Congress.

In a statement, the chairs of the party in the 11 counties that make up the 23rd Congressional District said that they will meet with each candidate on August 10 in Blue Mountain Lake and choose a candidate that night.

The party’s picking someone to contest the special election to replace John McHugh (R-Pierrepont Manor), the longtime Congressman who is all but certain to leave the job in the next few weeks to become Secretary of the Army under President Obama.  He will leave Congress when the Senate confirms him for the new job.  McHugh’s confirmation hearing begins Thursday.

The Democrats will have 11 names to choose from.  Perhaps one of the party’s best candidates is not on their list (see their news release, below).  Former United States Attorney Daniel French has not submitted his name as a candidate.  He lives in the Syracuse area but has a home in the district.  He’s said to be reluctant to move into the district, but would have enough money to wage a strong campaign.

Republicans have nominated Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava of Gouverneur, who represents three northern towns in Oswego County as part of her Assembly district.  Conservatives, enraged over Scozzafava’s support of gay marriage and abortion, promise to have their own candidate.

The date for the special election won’t be set by Gov. David Paterson until sometime after McHugh leaves Congress.  Counties would ideally prefer to have the special election on the same day as the regular November elections, to save the cost of holding a single-ballot election.


Watertown, NY – This evening the Democratic County Chairs in the 23rd Congressional District released the following statement after their weekly conference call. The County Chairs are moving forward with a process to nominate a Democratic candidate for the upcoming election to replace Congressman John McHugh (NY-23).

“On this evening’s conference call we laid out a plan to move forward and select a strong Democratic candidate to run for Congress in New York’s 23rd District. We agreed to meet with each candidate on Monday, August 10th at Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake before we vote on the nomination later that day. We will announce our selection on the evening of August 10th shortly after the vote takes place.”

“Listed below are the names of the 11 candidates we are considering.”

“In the meantime we will continue to review the applications we have received. We will nominate a strong candidate who will campaign aggressively and win this special election before heading to Congress to work to create jobs in our district and get our economy back on track.”


Andy Bisselle, Essex County
Stu Brody, Essex County
Steve Burke, St. Lawrence County
Danny Francis, Jefferson County
Bob Johnson, Jefferson County
Rudolph Johnson, Franklin County
Brian McGrath, Lewis County
David Ryan, Franklin County
John Sullivan, Jr., Oswego County
Michael Oot, Madison County
Bill Owens, Clinton County