State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco on Tuesday won endorsement of Republican county chairs in the 20th Congressional District to be the party’s candidate for the vacant seat in the House of Representatives.
Tedisco, a Republican, lives in Glenville, which is not in the 20th District, but he is required only to be a state resident in order to run for Congress.
The chairs of the 10 counties in the district met at Republican state committee headquarters in Albany, selecting Tedisco by weighted vote. Tedisco obtained approximately 70 percent of the weighted vote versus the 30 percent former assemblyman John Faso had lined up.
The candidates did not attend the meeting, which took all of 15 minutes to complete, officials said.
Tedisco won the endorsement of Republican chairs in Saratoga County, which has about 30 percent of the total weighted vote, as well as Warren, Washington, Essex and Dutchess counties.
Faso had five counties on his side, Delaware, Otsego, Rensselaer, Greene and Columbia, said spokesman Josh Hills.
Republican state Chairman Joseph N. Mondello said the party is unified behind one candidate, “and we will move forward to help Jim Tedisco make his case to the voters of the 20th.”
Democrats have yet to select a candidate. Gov. David Paterson has to call a special election to fill the seat, which belonged to Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat. Paterson, also a Democrat, named Gillibrand to fill the Senate seat of Hillary Rodham Clinton, appointed secretary of state by President Barack Obama.
Gillibrand took office on Tuesday.
The candidates for the 20th District will have between 30 and 40 days to campaign once Paterson sets the date for the special election, Hills said.
Tedisco spokesman Josh Fitzpatrick said the race “will be a sprint, not a marathon.”
Hills said Tedisco will need to raise a substantial amount of money to win the seat. The seat fell into Democratic hands in the 2006 election when Gillibrand defeated then-incumbent John Sweeney, a Republican.
Tedisco was elected as an assemblyman in 1983 and elected minority leader in 2005.