Republican Tedisco’s ‘Fast Break’ Lands Him in N.Y. Special Election

January 27, 2009

New York Assemblyman James Tedisco says he likes “fast breaks,” and he certainly proved it Tuesday by securing the endorsements he needed to become the Republican nominee for the vacant House seat in New York.

Tedisco, the State Assembly’s minority leader for the past four years, landed the endorsement of all 10 of the county party chairmen in the 20th Congressional District.

Those chairmen picked their party’s nominee to run in a special election for the seat vacated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand .

Republicans gave each county chairman a weighted vote based on the proportion of the district’s GOP voters each county represented in the 2008 congressional election.

Tedisco first got Saratoga County’s 33 percent vote, then sealed the nomination at Tuesday’s chairmen’s meeting.

Other Republicans under consideration were former Assembly minority leader and the 2006 Republican candidate for governor John Faso, State Sen. Betty Little, the 2008 20th District congressional nominee Sandy Treadwell and Republican primary congressional candidates Richard Wager and Michael Rocque.

“Jim Tedisco is a strong candidate who has a record of standing up and fighting for the interests and values of his constituents,” said Ken Spain, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

By moving fast, the GOP avoided intraparty squabbling and can now focus on contesting an election that is likely to come in March.

Gov. David A. Paterson , who appointed Gillibrand to the Senate seat formerly held by Hillary Rodham Clinton , has yet to announce a date for the special election.

“This race is going to be a sprint, not a marathon,” Tedisco acknowledged in a statement following his nomination. “I will reach out to all voters across the 20th Congressional District to communicate my message of ‘yes we will’ lower taxes, strengthen our economy and create more jobs.”

Tedisco likes to point to the times Democrat Eliot Spitzer backed down on issues such as driver’s licences for illegal immigrants when he was still New York’s governor. “I’m the guy he was going to steamroll,” Tedisco said this week.

Joseph Zimmerman, a political science professor at the State University of New York at Albany, predicted Tedisco would make “a reasonably strong candidate.”…

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