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A scramble for a new senator's old seat

"This is going to be a sprint; it's not going to be a marathon," he said. "In that short time span, he would be an excellent candidate."

In this situation, Paterson will need to call the special election, which must be scheduled within 30 to 40 days of his proclamation. Some expect an announcement in the coming days, though technically Paterson can move at his leisure up until July 2010.

Independent candidates who can collect 3,500 valid signatures may also appear on the ballot.

If Republicans are staging a sprint to the ballot line, then Democrats are holding a marathon.

"When we first met, we talked about whether we would endorse, and we decided that the fairest thing to do was not to endorse," said Essex County Democratic Chairwoman Sue Montgomery-Corey, who is in charge of rounding up the Democrat candidates. "When we first met, we talked about whether we would endorse, and we decided that the fairest thing to do was not to endorseWe've been going back and calling people, and making sure they understand procedurally what we're doing."

In the coming days and weeks, candidates will be vetted by the party leadership in hopes that all can agree upon the best candidate without political bickering. The deadline for applications was noon on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Some notable local Democratic hopefuls include failed candidate for the 112th Assembly District Mike Russo; Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works Commissioner Ron Kim; defeated 21st Congressional District candidates Tracey Brooks and Darius Shahinfar; and former WTEN anchor Tracy Egan.

In New York, one need not live in a district to run in it, bringing announcements in from such far-flung locales as Ithaca.

"It's my hope that through this process we can come up with a really great candidate who is ready once they set foot in the House," said Montgomery-Corey.

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