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Scozzafava Gets GOP Nomination for McHugh’s Seat

Republican leaders in upstate New York late Wednesday chose state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) to be their nominee in the race to replace Rep. John McHugh (R) — a race that still has no vacancy, special election date or a Democratic nominee.Scozzafava is a political moderate with close ties to organized labor who could confound the Democrats’ desire to compete heavily for a seat that Republicans have held for generations. She beat out eight other contenders for the GOP nod, including Matthew Doheny, a wealthy investment banker who had loaned his campaign $500,000.“This was an excellent process given the high level of quality among a very strong field of potential candidates, and this open and fair process has selected the very best candidate and enables us to move forward unified and energized to maintain this seat,— Jim Ellis, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Republican Party and northern region vice chairman for the state GOP, said in a statement. “Congressman McHugh represented this area with dignity and class. I am confident that when the voters learn what we now know about Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava that they will elect her to carry on that legacy, tradition of service and commitment to the people of the 23rd CD.—President Barack Obama wants McHugh to become his secretary of the Army, but no confirmation hearing has been scheduled; until he is confirmed, there is no timetable for a special election.Democratic leaders hope to know Thursday whether their preferred candidate, state Sen. Darrel Aubertine, plans to enter the race. On Wednesday afternoon, his spokesman, Drew Mangione, denied that a decision had been made.“All rumors we have seen on the blogs are unsubstantiated and grasping at straws,— Mangione told WWTI-TV in Watertown.While Aubertine deliberated, the National Republican Congressional Committee began an all-out assault on Aubertine Wednesday, accusing him of voting for tax increases and attempting to tie him to the ongoing dysfunction in Albany and deficit spending in Washington, D.C. The NRCC is airing a TV ad, placing robocalls and sending mailers into thousands of 23rd district households.Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “spent away our future,— the narrator says in the TV ad. “In Albany, same thing.—Meanwhile, a Democrat who wants the nomination, attorney Brian McGrath, released a poll Wednesday that showed more than half of the district’s voters would prefer a fresh face than an Albany insider to replace McHugh in Congress. The poll also showed McGrath, a political unknown, trailing Scozzafava, 44 percent to 30 percent.The Republican chairmen in the 11 counties within the 23rd district selected Scozzafava Wednesday despite media reports that they would not choose their nominee at the meeting but would only evaluate the candidates.Scozzafava has been fending off attacks in recent days, including a report that first surfaced on redstate.com that her brother’s financial services company, where she used to work as chief operating officer, owes almost $200,000 in tax liens.Scozzafava is expected to be a strong GOP nominee, but because of her centrist views on social issues it is very possible that the New York Conservative Party, which usually offers its line to Republican candidates, will select a nominee of its own, complicating the GOP’s efforts to hold McHugh’s seat.

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