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GOP leaders vow to move quickly on picking candidate to run for NY-26

By Howard B. Owens

Regional GOP leaders expect to name a candidate to run in a special election for Chris Lee's former seat within eight or nine days, said Nick Langworthy, Erie County GOP chairman following a two-hour meeting of county chairs at Batavia's South Beach Restaurant.

"We need to nominate somebody in short order because we believe the election will be held some time in the next six to eight weeks," Langworthy said.

Added Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich, "Governor Cuomo is not Governor Paterson. He knows we need representation in Washington."

Last year, residents of the 29th Congressional District went eight months without representation because Gov. Paterson refused to call a special election. In that case, Democrats feared losing the seat to Republicans. In this case, some Democrats think they have a fighting chance to take the 26th District.

The GOP county chairs said candidates for the Republican nomination will be interviewed in one week by 21 GOP leaders from throughout the region.  

Any candidate who wants to be considered, Langworthy said, should contact his or her county chair and provide a letter of intent and resume.

"All candidates will be considered," Langworthy said.

Also attending today's meeting were: Mike Norris, Niagara County; Ed Morgan, Orleans County; Gordon Brown, Wyoming County; and Don Read, representing Genesee County while chairman Dick Seibert is on medical leave.

George Richardson

Howard, what do you think. You have already been vetted and we know you are not a lying crook. I've heard the retirement benefits are sweet. Run as a Libertarian and let Billie handle the Batavian. You got my vote, it's not legal but they'll never know.

Feb 13, 2011, 3:09pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

You know, this is actually how I think political parties should pick their candidates -- no expensive primary elections at taxpayer expense. Instead, each party decides it's own process -- a few party faithful in a room, their own straw poll, convention or election at the party's expense -- and then say, "here's our candidate for the general/special election."

If you don't get a party nod and still want to run, have at it (no petition required), but you just won't be an endorsed candidate.

Feb 13, 2011, 3:36pm Permalink
George Richardson

I watched "The Life and Times of Havey Milk" last night, on Hulu (free). It should be required viewing for anyone wanting to enter politics at any level.

Feb 13, 2011, 3:44pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

Howard - We've been down this road before, but I don't think that a bunch of party bosses meeting in a room and then announcing the nominee is fair. Voters of the individual party should decide the nominee and there should be an election to determine the nominee. Otherwise it's a democratic-republic via an oligarchy.

I think in this case it's different with a special election due to time constraints, but in a normal election a primary gives more voice to the people.

Feb 13, 2011, 4:08pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

I see no justification for taxpayers funding the selection of party candidates.

I don't care how a party picks its candidates. Just don't do it on my dime.

And if you're a member of a party and don't like your party's process, rally support to change the process, or change parties.

Feb 13, 2011, 5:19pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

Dan, I laud your quest for broad participation in candidate selection, but a minority of citizens would lend themselves to inverting the pyramid.

How many of us, aware of this vacancy, contacted our political leadership?

The gravest failure of the party apparatus is that it is entrenched. The laxative for entrenchment is grassroots activism, yet 60+% of the public alienates itself from the political process. Grassroots influence remains a term more relevant to lawn care than quality of government.

Given the option of reforming party politics or motivating political abstainers to participate, Sisyphus would be happier with the boulder than either of the fore-mentioned tasks.

Feb 13, 2011, 5:25pm Permalink
John Roach

Howard is right. Parties can have a convention to pick a candidate and pay for it. I don't mind the expense for the general election, but not primaries.

Why should a Green, Independence or Conservative Party member, or an unaffiliated voter, have to pay taxes for a Democrat or Republican primary?

Feb 13, 2011, 5:28pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

C.M. - I ask that you read what I wrote. I said that I have no problem with the process in a special election because of time constraints. I said that in a non-special election, the process should stay as it is. I am not criticizing the Republicans for their process.

John - This year there were primaries across the state on every ballot line as far as I know, and in each of those cases determining who the nominee of each party is should be conducted in a fair way. My concern about parties running their own primaries is vote-rigging, and in areas of the state where one-party dominates (NYC for Democrats, Southern-Tier for Republicans) that party would be able to select the nominee with no oversight. One can make the argument that no oversight is needed in industry, but not in elections. The preservation of democracy rests on the ability of elections to be conducted in a way that at least makes a considerable effort to be free of interference when determining the results. I see no difference between a primary to determine the nominee of a party or the actual election in that regard.

Feb 13, 2011, 6:22pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

A) I contend no oversight is necessary. You don't like who your party picks, don't vote for him. You don't like how your party conducts its business, change parties. That's called the free market. People can vote with their feet as well as their pocketbook if the party isn't meeting their demands.

B) There could also be regulations for disclosure and transparency. While I'm not sure it's necessary, the idea isn't totally objectionable either.

The other point about oversight is -- where oversight really matters is at the general election ballot box. I could absolutely care less how a party picks its candidate -- it can go to the highest bidder, for all I care -- the only thing that matters is what my choices are on general election day. If my choice is between the highest bidder candidate, the caucus candidate and the "my own party candidate," I'll pick the one who I think represents my beliefs, and won't care one whit how he or she got on the ballot. I just don't want to pay for that process.

It's also none of my business how a party that I don't belong to picks its candidates or conducts its business.

Under the scheme I'm proposing, I still wouldn't belong to a political party.

Feb 13, 2011, 6:35pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Political parties are entirely private organizations. They should not subsidized by taxpayers for anything they do -- not one single dime.

Feb 13, 2011, 6:37pm Permalink
Brandon Burger

Why not hold caucuses? Local parties could hold local caususes to select representatives to attend state-wide or district-wide caucuses to select candidates for the various open offices.

Feb 13, 2011, 6:41pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

I'm with Howard & CM, open up the ballot process, right now the Rep's and Dem's run the table. Anyone qualified who wants to run, should be able to. Having 20 candidates, to me would be best.

Feb 14, 2011, 8:12am Permalink
Dave Olsen

Those crazy, radical, outside the box thinking founders of this nation, really could see the future:
" "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”

So said George Washington, the only president in U.S. history to be elected as an Independent.""

Feb 14, 2011, 9:21am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Thanks Dan, I found that too on the state gop site. I was going to just submit the letter and resume though. If I can't find it by the time I get out of work I will call.

Feb 14, 2011, 10:29am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

I have no illusion that I will get the nomination Bea, but I want to put my name into the minds of the GOP for other possible seats.

Feb 14, 2011, 10:41am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Peter, I'd contact county clerk Don Read. Dick is on medical leave.

I don't have Don's email address handy, but you should be able to get it through the county clerk's office.

Feb 14, 2011, 10:50am Permalink

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