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February 1, 2014

Democrats looking for congressional candidate

PLATTSBURGH — Democratic Party leaders in the 21st Congressional District are hoping to have a candidate by the middle of next month, and another Republican has shown interest.

In a statement issued Thursday, Democrats said they will give those interested until Feb. 4 to come forward to express their desire to run.

The seat in the 21st District will become open at the end of this year when incumbent Democrat Bill Owens finishes his term. He announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election.

DEMS ‘HOPEFUL’

Owens, 64, was first elected in a special election in 2009 to fill the final year of former Congressman John McHugh’s term. McHugh, a Republican from Pierrepont Manor near Watertown, left Congress to become the secretary of the Army.

“We’re using a process similar to the one we used in 2009,” Sheila Comar, Washington County Democratic Party chairwoman, said in a statement.

“That resulted in the selection of Congressman Bill Owens. We are equally hopeful this time.”

Comar is acting as the spokesperson for the chairs of the Democratic Party in the 12 counties that comprise the district. The district stretches from Lake Ontario in the west to Lake Champlain in the east across the northern portion of the state, bordering Canada.

She said the party hopes to nail down a candidate by mid February.

GOP DECISION SOON

Republicans have been meeting since early this year and are expected to name a candidate at their Feb. 5 meeting in Elizabethtown, according to Essex County Republican Party Chairman and State North Country Regional Party Vice President Ronald Jackson.

Elise Stefanik of Willsboro is considered the front-runner for the Republican endorsement.

Stefanik, 29, is a former White House policy adviser to then President George W. Bush.

So far, she has raised more than $250,000 for her bid to run for Congress.

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