Politics / HOUSE RACES
Another Empire State Showdown Looms
Democrats, despite their public downplaying of their interest, are unlikely to take this race for granted. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was highly successful last cycle in recruiting political outsiders, in winning two upstate New York seats that Republicans aggressively contested. With Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) now at the helm, it's unlikely he'll let an opportunity slip through - and the committee has frequently downplayed expectations, only to vigorously compete in these special elections. The DCCC has already dispatched Northeast regional political director Abby Curran to meet with prospective candidates, though Israel emphasized at his briefing yesterday that the final decisions are made at the local level. Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul has emerged as a serious Democratic contender, but don't be surprised if someone with the business/political outsider profile of a Rep. Bill Owens or former Rep. Scott Murphy emerges. -- Jessica Taylor contributed to this report.