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Dems Delay Decision On Congress; Aubertine Still Undecided

<p>State Senator Darrel Aubertine</p>
State Senator Darrel Aubertine

State Senator Darrel Aubertine’s got a few more days to say whether he plans to run for Congress or not.

Chairs of the county Democratic committees in the 11 counties that make up the 23rd Congressional District said Monday that they’ve extended to this Thursday their deadline for candidates to announce their intentions.

North Country Congressman John McHugh (R-Pierrepont Manor) has been nominated to serve as Secretary of the Army in the Obama administration. When he’s confirmed, a special election will be scheduled to fill the open position.

In a news release, the party chairs claim “overwhelming interest” in the seat as the reason for extending the deadline.

However, the party’s best hope for taking a seat held by Republicans since the Civil War hasn’t made up his mind yet. Aubertine is the exact margin of Democratic control of the Senate. His departure, in a district with a plurality of Republican votes, creates the possibility that the Senate could be locked up at 31 votes per party.

There are other potential Democratic candidates, such as former United States Attorney Dan French, former Oswego Mayor John Sullivan, and former Congressional candidates Mike Oot and Danny Francis, but Aubertine is the only one who has won as a Democrat in a Republican district and has greater name recognition.

Said the Post-Standard:

Aubertine remained undecided Monday about whether to seek the nomination, and planned to have serious discussions with his family this week, according to his spokesman, Drew Mangione.

“He is still making the decision,” Mangione said. “He now has the time to do what any responsible father and husband should do, which is to discuss it with his family.”

He said it may take Aubertine until the deadline at 5 p.m. Thursday to decide whether he wants to run for Congress.

On the Republican side, there are at least two major candidates. Alexandria Bay investment banker Matthew Doheny is putting a lot of his own money into a campaign fund, while Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava of Gouverneur is known in the most populated part of the district. Oswego physician Ronald Uva is also interested.

The special election won’t be scheduled until McHugh leaves Congress. It’s a safe bet that, because of the expense of a special election, it will be held in November on the same day as the annual general election.