Congressman Bill Owens with farmers in Beekmantown.
The announcement last week that Congressman Bill Owens would not be seeking re-election in November has both Republicans and Democrats moving around the deck chairs to seek out their top candidates for what may be a wide-open contest.
The status of the race has been changing daily as candidates either opt in or out. With Democrats still looking to regroup after the Owens, who lives in Plattsburgh, announcement, some Republicans have put their names into the race, while others have backed out.
Currently, the biggest name in the race is Republican Elise Stefanik, a Willsboro resident who has received backing from former NY-21 candidate Doug Hoffman of Lake Placid as well as Former state Sen. Raymond Meier and 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, whom she worked for on the campaign trail.
“I worked for President George W. Bush in the Domestic Policy Council and the office of the Chief of Staff,” Stefanik said in a September interview with the Valley News. “I thought it was the privilege of my life to see the decision making process at the highest level.”
Stefanik added she learned a lot from her time in the West Wing about what she felt was proper leadership.
“In the meetings with the Chief of Staff, everyone had a seat at the table and every opinion mattered,” she said. “That is not how all White Houses are run.”
Also announced as candidates for the GOP are Joseph M. Gilbert of DeKalb Junction and Michael F. Ring of Adams Center.
Taking her name out of contention was State Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury, who said in a Jan. 21 press release that she, “will run for reelection to the New York State Senate as I had planned.”
On the fence is former Congressional candidate Matt Doheny of Watertown, who has said he is considering another run for the position.
At current, no Democrats have thrown their hat into the ring to replace their political peer in Owens. Addie Russell, a state assemblywoman from the 116th District, announced Jan. 17 that she would not seek the position.
Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas of Jay has stated that he would not rule out running for the position. Many thought he would be the Democratic candidate when Teresa Sayward retired from the state assembly before the 2012 election, but he declined.
Former Essex County Democratic Committee Chair Stuart Brody, who lives in the town of Essex, has also expressed interest, along with Jon Cardinal, Lee Kindlon of Albany, former Congressman Scott Murphy of Glens Falls, and John Sullivan of Saratoga Springs.