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Massa Starts Committee for Rematch With Kuhl

Eric Massa (D), the retired Navy commander who fell just 6,000 votes short in his challenge to Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) last year, has established an exploratory committee in anticipation of a rematch in the sprawling 29th district.

“I was going to be very happy to stay in retirement, but the issues of today underline the need for an honest debate of the issues,” Massa told the Elmira Star-Gazette this week.

Although the district, which takes in New York’s Southern Tier and extends to the suburbs of Rochester, generally votes Republican in presidential elections, Kuhl, who previously spent two dozen years in the state Legislature, has won only 51 percent of the vote in each of his two House campaigns.

“I think the fact that we came so close shows what a viable race this is,” Massa said.

Local Democratic leaders told the newspaper that if the national party does more for Massa in 2008 than it did in the previous cycle, he can win.

Kuhl spokesman Bob Van Wicklin dismissed the Democrat as “a career Congressional candidate” and said voters have no stomach for a campaign that begins this early.

— Josh Kurtz

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