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New York: 23rd District Field Waiting on Aubertine

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, the leading potential Democratic candidate in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Rep. John McHugh (R), has plunged himself into the thick of the ongoing fight for control of the state Senate in recent days — leading to speculation that he won’t seek the House seat after all.

But Drew Mangione, a spokesman for Aubertine, said in an interview Wednesday that with all that’s going on in Albany, the Senator “has not even had a chance to sit down with his family, which is a huge factor in any decision— — even with the July 17 deadline approaching for Democrats who are interested in running for McHugh’s seat to make their intentions known.

With the Senate at a stalemate, Aubertine this week sued his former colleagues in the state Assembly in an effort to get the Assembly to move bills that had passed during recent Senate sessions. Assembly leaders have refused to move any Senate bills because Gov. David Paterson (D) has vowed to veto Senate bills that have come to his desk during the five weeks that control of the Senate chamber has been in dispute. Aubertine has also unsuccessfully tried to broker a compromise within the Senate to move certain jobs-creation bills.

McHugh has been nominated to be secretary of the Army, and a highly competitive special election to fill his Upstate seat is likely once he is confirmed. Several Republicans have informed party leaders that they want to be considered for the nomination, though the leading contenders appear to be state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava and wealthy investment banker Matthew Doheny.

Most Democrats appear to be deferring to Aubertine for now, though 1994 nominee Danny Francis and 2008 nominee Michael Oot have expressed an interest in running.

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