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Republicans May Have A Congressional Candidate

<br />Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava

Well-connected North Country political blogs report today that Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava of Gouverneur has a solid head start in her effort to be picked by her party to run for Congress today.

Scozzafava won the endorsement of her hometown Jefferson County Republican Committee Tuesday night, according to the conservative political blog Political IV.  Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham, on his blog, said the vote was 61 – 48 in favor of Scozzafava, over Matthew Doheny, an investment banker who has already put half a million dollars of his own money into his campaign fund.

There are nine candidates seeking the Republican line, including Oswego physician Ronald Uva.

The endorsement in her home county is important because, in the 11 county 23rd Congressional District, Jefferson county and its immediate neighbors, St. Lawrence and Oswego, hold more than 55% of the weighted vote in tonight’s reported conference call to pick a candidate.  Graham writes that the vote among the 11 counties appears to be close between Scozzafava and Doheny.

Scozzafava represents a small portion of northern Oswego County in the Assembly.

Democrats, meanwhile, set a Thursday deadline for candidates to express an interest in the race.  For them, there is only one candidate of prime interest: State Senator Darrel Aubertine of Cape Vincent.  Aubertine has shown he can win enough Republican votes to take contests in GOP territory.  There are few places more Republican than the 23rd Congressional District, which has been in Republican hands since the Civil War.

Aubertine has not said whether he will run or not.  A lot is riding on the decision.  He is the exact margin of the Democratic majority in the Senate, which just endured a month of chaos over which party had a clear majority and therefore, control of the Senate.

On the other hand, his entrance into the Congressional race could force it into a top funding priority for national Democrats, who would like nothing more than to extend their majority and eliminate one of the three Republican Congressional seats left in Upstate New York.

The seat will be open as soon as the Senate confirms Congressman John McHugh (R-Pierrepont Manor) to become the next Secretary of the Army.  His confirmation is not expected until after Congress’s August recess, which will push the special election to replace him to the November general elections, at the earliest.