A scramble for a new senator's old seat

Kirsten Gillibrand hadn't even accepted Gov. David Paterson's Senate appointment on Friday, Jan. 23, before her would-be successors started lining up to take a major party line in a yet-to-be scheduled, as of press time, special election.

On Tuesday, Jan. 27, mere hours after Gillibrand was sworn in, Republican leaders in the 20th Congressional District announced that James Tedisco will be the GOP's pick, wrapping up several days of wild rumors and frenetically circulated press releases as some of the shortest-lived campaigns in the history of New York politics came to a close.

Tedisco beat out a number of Republican hopefuls. Most notably Sandy Treadwell, who lost to Gillibrand in the November election; John Faso, former assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate; and state Sen. Betty Little.

The Assembly Minority Leader snagged the Saratoga County Republican Committee endorsement early on, a vital victory since each county's weight in choosing a candidate is based on how many Republican votes were cast in the previous election. Saratoga leads the pack with 33 percent of the district's vote.

With the endorsement scramble over, GOP leaders say that it's now time to rally behind their chosen candidate.

We've had a great amount of exposure in this region with many of the issues he's brought forward, said Saratoga County Republican Committee Chairman John "Jasper" Nolan, of Tedisco. "He has a web of support."

Nolan dismissed objections that Tedisco is not heavily vested in the 20th. Although he may be best known for his representation of the Schenectady area, his 110th Assembly District is half Saratoga County.

"He certainly knows the district, even if he hasn't represented all of it, he is certainly aware of it through his contacts with other members of the Assembly," said Nolan, who added that Tedisco has the qualities to win in the face of a shortened campaign.

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