After several tumultuous weeks, the stage is set for a special election in New York's 20th Congressional District.
With the smoke now settled, Republican and Democratic committees have tapped their candidates, choosing state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco and venture capitalist Scott Murphy, respectively, to run for Kirsten Gillibrand's recently vacated seat.
Tedisco, who represents the 110th District in Schenectady, was picked Jan. 27 by Republican party leaders in Albany. He received a resounding vote of confidence from fellow chairpeople, stifling a bid by state Sen. Betty Little for the same position.
Murphy's announcement came Sunday after a meeting of Democratic committee leaders at an Albany-area restaurant.
The Democratic Party activist and Warren County businessman said his experience in the business sector will pay off for residents of the 20th Congressional District, as he promises to create jobs and help turn around a wavering economy.
"That's what I do," said Murphy in statement released Sunday. "I create jobs. I can talk the talk to Wall Street and I've put 1,000 jobs on Main Street."
Murphy also noted that his experience in finance would allow him to get to work immediately upon election.
"In Congress, I can instantly plunge into the most sophisticated financial conversation regarding our economic crisis," he said. "I won't have to get up to speed; I'm ready to move forward."
The Glens Falls resident cited his experience working for two Democratic governors; for one of the governors, Murphy served as deputy chief of staff. He is a graduate of Harvard University.
In Tedisco, Murphy faces an opponent with a sturdy political resume and years of experience in Albany. In a statement released by the Assembly Minority Leader, Tedisco noted that voters are most likely disenchanted with financial executives, adding that financiers "got us into this mess, and I'm not sure that they are the ones to get us out."
Sue Montgomery Corey, Essex County Democratic Committee chair, disagreed, noting that it's Murphy's experience on Main Street that stands out.
"He's a Harvard graduate and a venture capitalist," she said. "Although you'll see in his resume that he worked on Wall Street for a little while early in his career, Scott has found that working on Main Street is a lot more satisfying."
According to Corey, the Democratic Committee considered more than 30 candidates, eventually settling on Murphy despite his relative lack of experience in politics.
"He knows what it's like to start a business, worry about payroll and keep the doors open," said Corey. "His efforts have helped to create more than 1,000 jobs."
The 20th Congressional District comprises much of the eastern edge of New York State, stretching from Poughkeepsie to Lake Placid. It includes all of Columbia, Greene, Warren and Washington counties and parts of Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Otsego, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties.
According to New York State law, the governor must announce a special election to fill the vacant seat; an election that must be held at least 30 but no more than 40 days after the proclamation.
That leaves insufficient time for primaries, so the choice for candidates is left to the party chair people from each of the 10 counties in the district.