Tedisco Gets GOP Nod in Gillibrand Special Election

Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:48pm

New York State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R) has been tapped by 20th district GOP leaders to be their nominee in the special election to replace now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), according to sources in Washington, D.C., and New York.

While no official announcement has been made yet, the Republican chairmen of the 10 counties that fall within the 20th district agreed to nominate Tedisco during a meeting Tuesday at state GOP headquarters in Albany.

Five candidates had been vying for the Republican nod in the special election, which has not yet been scheduled.

Gillibrand, a two-term Congresswoman, was sworn in as New York’s junior Senator Tuesday afternoon by Vice President Joseph Biden. Once New York Gov. David Paterson (D) issues an affidavit for the special election, it must be held within 30 to 40 days.

The race to replace Gillibrand is expected to be hotly contested in an upstate district that generally votes Republican but has trended Democratic in the past two election cycles.

Democratic leaders are sifting through a list of about two dozen candidates but aren’t expected to designate their nominee for at least another week. Leading contenders for the Democratic nod include former TV broadcaster Tracy Egan, venture capitalist Scott Murphy, state AFL-CIO official Suzy Ballantyne, and former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter.

“Jim Tedisco is a strong candidate who has a record of standing up and fighting for the interests and values of his constituents,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “He is the consensus candidate of local Republicans in upstate New York, and we are confident he will attract the support of mainstream middle-class voters as he has in the past.”