New York’s 29th congressional district is without a representative since former Democratic congressman Eric Massa resigned in disgrace on Monday amid scandal. It is up to New York’s Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, who is embroiled in controversy himself these days, to call a special election in order to fill the vacant seat. Mr. Paterson did say Tuesday he would call for a special election soon, but did not mention an exact date.
“He can really call it whenever he wants to or he doesn’t have to call it at all. He can keep it open. I am hearing it could be for some time in June or may just keep it open,” said Thomas Basile, executive director of the New York State Republican Party, in an interview with The Washington Times. “Nobody has enough money to do two elections in one year, but the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] does not have the money to put into that race…to run a race now and then run a race in November.”
As long as Mr. Paterson is the governor of the state of New York, he has the ability to sign the executive order calling for a special election. Mr. Paterson and the Democratic party took their time in calling the special election for New York’s 23rd congressional district. “They played around with that for some time and then they finally called the election and they called it for election day making it a very shortened campaign, because they saw that would benefit them,” said Mr. Basile. As of now, the GOP congressional candidate in NY 29 is Tom Reed, who was supposed to take on Mr. Massa in November and would likely be the candidate on the Republican line, if Mr. Paterson were to call a special election before November. Mr. Reed already has the support of a number of GOP county chairs and conservative leaders.
Mr. Massa’s former district leans heavily Republican and was won by John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election. If the health care debate were to drag further on, and another Republican pick-up in the House were to happen, this could further demoralize Democrats about the November 2010 elections.
Mr. Basile explained, “Holding off the election would probably be to the Democrats’ favor, because it is so soon after this scandal and that district of New York does not have a whole lot of marquee name Democrats unless they manage to find a self-funder who is willing to come out of the business community, but the demographics and registration do not support a Democrat congressman in the district and this year is going to be a Republican tsunami.”