There have been a number of names put forth as potential Democratic candidates to run in New York’s 21st congressional district now that incumbent Bill Owens has announced his retirement. Among the possibilities is Republican Dede Scozzafava. Scozzafava was in Plattsburgh today, and North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley asked if she would run.
During a special election in 2009, Dede Scozzafava was one of the Republicans that ran for the North Country’s Congressional seat. The brutal contest eventually led to her withdrawal and endorsement of the Democratic contender - Bill Owens - who won the race. Now that Owens will leave the seat, Scozzafava’s name has surfaced as a possible Democratic candidate. She is currently the Deputy Secretary of State for Local Governments and was in Plattsburgh to review the governor’s executive budget proposal. When asked if she would run for the Congressional seat, Scozzafava was non-committal. "You never know what’s going to come. I really enjoy working for this administration. It's an administration that works in a bipartisan fashion for the people. And that's right along the same lines that I've always worked in. He's been able to accomplish so much - three on time budgets, eliminating a deficit from $10 billion to a $2 billion surplus. I really enjoy being part of that, part of a functional government."
Scozzafava says the 2009 campaign has no bearing on her perspective on the current 21st district race. "I enjoy working with the public. I very much care about the issues in the North Country. What happened in 2009 would not dissuade me, it has not dissuaded me. But I really like where I'm working now. It's taken disfunction out of Albany and I've enjoyed being a big part of that. (But you're also not saying no?) I'm here as a deputy secretary of state with the Cuomo administration. (People are talking about you running as a Democrat. If you thought about it, would you consider running as a Democrat?) I run for the people. I learned a long time ago that I'm not easily pegged into a partisan label. This administration works in a bipartisan fashion. That's why I'm very excited to be part of his administration at this point
The decision by incumbent Bill Owens has Democratic chairs across the 12-county region seeking candidates. Clinton County Chair Marty Mannix was equally evasive about the progress in selecting someone to run. "I’m not in a position to talk about candidates. There are 12 county chairs that will be considering this on the Democratic side of the ledger. One of the things that we're looking to do is to hopefully be united behind a candidate. We definitely do not want to go the route of having a primary. We have to get together and have our discussions and come to an agreement behind a candidate."
Former Congressman Scott Murphy, who used to represent a neighboring district, is among the Democrats pundits have floated as a potential Democratic candidate.