McHugh Sails Through Confirmation Hearing; A Key Conservative Jumps Into The Race To Replace Him

Rep. John McHugh easily passed his first test on the road to becoming Secretary of the Army.

Even a Senator who criticized McHugh said he strongly supported the North Country Congressman for the job.

Sen. John McCain questioned McHugh’s ties to a now-closed lobbying company under federal investigation from which McHugh took $160,000 in campaign donations.  McCain called it a blemish on a record that was otherwise excellent.

McHugh faced questions about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and on the role of women in combat and on the issues facing servicemembers who return home from the wars in the Middle East.

The committee chair said the committee may vote next week, allowing the full Senate to confirm him before heading home for the August recess.

McHugh leaves his seat in Congress when he’s confirmed, and the scramble to replace him picked up another potential candidate.

Doug Hoffman, a CPA and managing partner of a North Country accounting firm, said he’d like to run on the Conservative line for Congress.  In a statement e-mailed to Oswego County Today and other outlets, he said, “I’m entering the race because the voters deserve more than a left wing Nancy Pelosi clone or a big spending Albany politician whose views are closer to Shelly Silver’s than they are to the voters of the 23rd Congressional District.”

Some conservatives are enraged because the Republican party picked Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava to run for the seat. Scozzafava supports gay marriage and legal abortion.

The head of the state Conservative Party, Mike Long, told the NY Daily News’s Liz Benjamin he’s leaning strongly towards Hoffman:

“I think he winds up becoming a very, very serious threat and a possible win for this seat. He attracts Conservatives, conservative Democrats, independents and Republicans – real Republicans.”

Two others have announced they’d like the Conservative endorsements: Jim Kelly, a retired New York City cop and party activist; and Jon Alvarez of Hannibal, who is currently serving with the military overseas.

Democrats will pick their candidate in early August, choosing from among 11 candidates, including former Oswego Mayor John Sullivan.