Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, has decided not to run for U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson’s seat in 2016, Seward announced on Sunday.
The longtime Republican state senator said he considered a run for Congress when Gibson vacates his seat next year but decided not to throw his hat in the ring and to stay in the state Senate.
“While serving in Washington, D.C., would allow me to address a number of important issues facing our region, I feel that at this time my standing as a senior member of the state Senate majority enables me to better serve my district,” Seward said.
Seward, 63, said his plan is to continue focusing on the needs and concerns of residents in the 51st Senate District.
Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, has expressed interest in running for Gibson’s seat. Lopez, 53, said on Sunday he is still interested but not ready to make an official announcement.
“I’m still on the same path and working to put the pieces together,” he said. “I think the biggest issue, which is still the priority, is my job in the state Assembly and meeting my current obligations. Ultimately, the goal will be to make sure we have all of the pieces in place to run a competitive race in a lot of counties and be ready to face a primary.”
Lopez said he is considering a run for Congress because he is blocked by the Democratic majority in the state Assembly.
In the Assembly, Lopez’s priorities have included a focus on agricultural issues, energy projects, flood recovery and other development opportunities in the rural area of the region. He said he would like to address those initiatives in Congress.
“I fully expect that the 19th District congressional seat will remain in Republican hands because the potential candidates contemplating a run believe in the same core values that so many of us share — lower taxes, less government and new economic opportunities,” Seward said.
Gibson’s 19th Congressional District in the House of Representatives covers 11 counties including Sullivan, Ulster, Delaware, Otsego, Greene, Columbia and Schoharie, as well as parts of Dutchess, Rensselaer and Montgomery counties.
Both of the local lawmakers’ districts overlap with Gibson’s congressional district, with Lopez and Seward currently representing about half the counties included in the 19th.
Gibson, a Republican from Kinderhook, announced in January he would not seek a fourth term in Congress and is considering a run for statewide office in 2018.
During his re-election campaign, Gibson did not commit to running again in 2016 and has long term-limited himself to no more than four terms. He believes all members of the House should be limited to two four-year terms rather than unlimited two-year terms.
“I look forward to working with our next congressman and continuing to team with Chris Gibson as he embarks on a new path that will help New York prosper,” Seward said.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County