Calls and emails to Bellavia's campaign spokesman have not been returned. Another candidate did successfully petition his way on to the ballot: wealthy businessman Jack Davis. He's a familiar name in the 26th District, running in 2004 and 2006 as the Democratic nominee against then-Rep. Tom Reynolds (R). In 2006, he came within four percentage points of the incumbent. But this year, Davis instead sought the GOP nomination, saying he more identified with that party now. He was rejected, and instead began trying to get onto the ballot on his own. Davis, who has pledged to spend up to $3 million of his own money, has already been running radio ads in the district, and after submitting more than 12,000 signatures -- well over the requisite 3,500 -- he was accepted as a candidate. Davis will run on the "Tea Party" line, but even that characterization has drawn criticism from area Tea Party groups, who remember his Democratic affiliations. A week ago, TEA New York organizers Rus and Jul Thompson circulated a letter calling on Davis to get out of the race, or stop using the Tea Party affiliation. But Davis has shown no willingness to bend to their concerns. While his ability to self-fund the race isn't in doubt, it's unclear yet whether he could take votes away from the GOP, where voters could see his tea party affiliation and vote for him, or from the Democrats , who have pulled the lever for him before. Davis has repeatedly criticized the party nominations that took place by each side, rather than an open primary, and it was a point he echoed in a statement Friday. "The people of Western New York understand that both parties have failed to deliver what we need - jobs for the American people," said Davis. "Our independent campaign gives the voters a real choice. When I go to Washington I will fight for the working men and women of this district." In a quixotic touch, there will be a fourth candidate on the ballot - Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy, the blogger who famously prank called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) amid the labor battles in his state, pretending to be conservative financier David Koch. Murphy was nominated by the Green Party in the district.
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