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New York: Long Line Begins to Form for McHugh’s Seat

While a special election to replace Rep. John McHugh (R) is still a few months away at a minimum, jockeying has already begun to replace him in the upstate 23rd district, which has been a Republican stronghold for decades but appears to be quite competitive with the seat becoming vacant.

McHugh was nominated by President Barack Obama on Monday to be secretary of the Army, and the timing of the special election depends largely on his confirmation process.

A couple of potential candidates have already said they aren’t interested: state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R) and former state Sen. Jim Wright (R). A spokesman for a leading Democratic contender, state Sen. Darrel Aubertine, told several media outlets that his boss is committed to his Senate work — which doesn’t mean he won’t run in the end.

On the Democratic side, potential candidates, according to insiders and media accounts, include St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole Duvé; 1994 nominee Danny Francis; former U.S. Attorney Daniel French; physician Robert Johnson, who was the nominee in 2004 and 2006; state Democratic Chairwoman June O’Neill; attorney Michael Oot, McHugh’s challenger last cycle; businessman John Rhodes; state Assemblywoman Addie Russell and Watertown City Councilman Jeffrey Smith.

Potential Republican contenders are state Assemblyman Will Barclay; Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne; Matthew Doheny, an investment banker who lives in Manhattan but grew up in the district and has a home in Watertown; Terry Gach, a vice president at the Trudeau Institute biomedical research center; Essex County District Attorney Julie Garcia; state Sen. Joseph Griffo; businessman Michael Joyce; Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak; Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun; state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava; and Robert Taub, McHugh’s chief of staff.

Champagne is running for re-election this year on both the Republican and Democratic lines.

Report: Maloney Gears Up for Senate Primary

A newspaper for New York City political insiders reported Wednesday that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) had made two key hires for her prospective 2010 Senate campaign.

City Hall News reported that Maloney had signed Cindy Darrison as a fundraiser and Josh Isay of the firm Knickerbocker SKD as a communications consultant.

Darrison is a well-known New York fundraiser whose clients have included Gov. David Paterson (D) and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D).

Isay, one of the top Democratic operatives in New York, is a former chief of staff to Sen. Charles Schumer (D) — who has signaled his support for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in the 2010 special Senate election and has tried to dissuade other Democrats from challenging her.

In late 2008 and early 2009, when Paterson was debating who to appoint to fill the Senate vacancy caused by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination to be secretary of State, Isay served as an unpaid adviser to Caroline Kennedy, who was angling for the Senate appointment. Isay’s work for Kennedy was seen as a tacit endorsement by Schumer of Kennedy’s interest in being a Senator.

But Paterson opted to pick Gillibrand instead, and Schumer quickly fell in line.

Maloney, who was also campaigning for the Senate appointment, signed Bill Lynch, a former Democratic National Committee vice chairman and former deputy mayor of New York, as her top adviser while the jockeying for the Senate appointment was taking place.

According to City Hall News, Maloney is still several weeks away from saying anything definitive about a Senate bid and does not intend to ramp up her fundraising until after June 30.

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