Dems choose newcomer to face longtime politico

It took a week for party leadership to present the two candidates who will be vying for control of Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's newly vacated seat in the 20th Congressional District. Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, and businessman Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, will face off in a yet-to-be scheduled special election that will take place 30 to 40 days after Gov. David Paterson gives the word.

Murphy is a political newcomer whose selection came after a whirlwind of speculation. While Republican leaders tapped Tedisco almost immediately after Gillibrand was sworn into the Senate, Democratic leadership from the district's 10 counties made their choice on Sunday, Feb. 1, after a comparatively lengthy vetting process of the roughly 30 interested parties.

Our selection process was excellent. Unlike our counterparts the Republicans, we had a very open process, said Saratoga County Democratic Committee Chairman Larry Bulman. "One thing that the candidates complimented us on was the fact everyone had an opportunity."

Murphy's selection took some by surprise. He has not held elected office before, though he has served on the staff of two governors (Mel Carnahan and Roger Wilson). He's young: At 38, he wasn't in high school when his opponent sat in the Assembly for the first time. But since then, he's had a Harvard education and put in a few years on Wall Street. He now works for Advantage Capital Fund, which invests in and advises small businesses.

It's that experience with job creation that molds the main plank of Murphy's platform. According to a press release announcing his candidacy, his nickname is "Mr. Jobs." By helping the development of area businesses he has claimed responsibility for the creation of 1,000 jobs.

Murphy did not respond to requests to be interviewed in time for this report. Bulman said he was selected "based on his education, qualifications and experience."

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