Rochester, NY --- United States District Judge David Larimer issued a 21-page decision Friday to resolve a lawsuit filed as a result of the now vacant 29th District Congressional Seat. The lawsuit was filed by three constituents of the NY-29th and the defendant is NY Governor David Paterson
In the decision, Judge Larimer ruled in favor of the plaintiffs' argument that a special election should be scheduled. He ruled that so long as the Governor schedules that special election on or before November 2, 2010 (the day of the General Election) than he has fulfilled his obligations.
Days after Governor Paterson was sued, he released a press statement saying it was his intention to schedule a special election for November 2, 2010. His office pointed to various scheduling conflicts related to voting machines and polls, the cost for holding a special election, and his concerns over disenfranchising military voters -- as reasons for his decision.
The date the Governor selected, the same date as the General Election, presented additional questions and left room for potential confusion as to what the ballot will look like.
The NY-29th was vacated in March following the sudden resignation of former Congressman Eric Massa (D-Corning) amid a variety of scandals and concerns for his health.
Former Corning Mayor Tom Reed launched his candidacy in the summer of 2009 and fully expected to challenge Massa this November. Following Massa’s resignation, Reed was endorsed by the eight party chairmen throughout the NY-29th as the nominee, should a special election take place.
Democrats spent a month vetting potential candidates for a special election before deciding on political newcomer Matt Zeller. Zeller, 28, resigned a job with the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) before moving back to the Victor area where he grew up. His family has roots in the NY-29th that date back generations.
Also declaring their candidacy for the NY-29th are Republicans Angelo Campini of Henrietta and Janice Volk of Cuba.
As a result of Judge Larimer’s decision, it appears voters will pull two levers for the same Congressional seat this November. The winner of the special election on November 2nd is eligible to be sworn into Congress the very next day, and will serve out the remaining two months of Massa’s current term. The winner of the general election on that same day is then sworn into office in January 2011 to serve out a full two-year Congressional term.
The exact appearance of that ballot on November 2, 2010 is still unknown.
The Governor’s Press Office had no comment regarding Friday’s ruling, but to say, “The decision speaks for itself.”