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New York: How Sweetland It Is in GOP Nomination Race

Former Onondaga County Legislator Dale Sweetland seems poised to become the Republican nominee in the race to replace retiring Rep. Jim Walsh (R).

Sweetland’s principal opponent for the GOP nomination, state Assemblyman Bob Oaks, dropped out of the race Sunday and endorsed Sweetland at a news conference that Walsh also attended. Oaks’ decision came after the Onondaga County Republican Committee, the biggest and most influential in the 25th district, voted late last week to endorse Sweetland.

Sweetland will almost certainly square off in November against former Congressional staffer Dan Maffei (D), who came within 2 points of ousting Walsh in 2006.

House Democrats believe Maffei represents one of their best pickup opportunities of the cycle. But Sweetland last week released a poll showing him and Maffei essentially tied.

In the poll of 405 likely voters, conducted April 26-27 by Syracuse-based pollster Jeff Stonecash, Maffei had 37 percent and Sweetland had 36 percent, with 27 percent undecided. The poll had a 5-point margin of error.

But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly pointed out that a Stonecash poll taken for Walsh one week before Election Day 2006 showed the Congressman with a 13-point lead over Maffei.

Reynolds Wraps Arms Around Republican Lee

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) on Monday waded into the race to replace him, endorsing businessman Christopher Lee for the Republican nomination in the 26th district.

Reynolds appeared with Lee and other local GOP leaders at the Erie County Republican Committee headquarters to offer his support.

“He knows just exactly what Western New Yorkers are thinking,” Reynolds said, according to The Buffalo News.

But Reynolds also used the occasion to blast Erie County Executive Christopher Collins (R), who has been encouraging other Republicans to run against Lee in the primary, despite the fact that all of the county GOP chairmen in the 26th district are backing Lee’s candidacy.

“I’m an old school politician,” Reynolds said. “So I believe that county executives from our area ought run the government and county chairmen need to do the politics.”

Regardless of who emerges with the Republican nomination, the general election to replace Reynolds is expected to be highly competitive. Running for the Democratic nomination are factory owner Jack Davis, attorney Alice Kryzan and Iraq War veteran Jon Powers.

— Josh Kurtz

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