NY Republicans pick Scozzafava for McHugh seat

Republican leaders in New York have chosen state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava as their nominee for the special election to replace Army Secretary-designate John McHugh (R-N.Y.).

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County chairmen for the 23rd district made the selection on Wednesday. The chairmen choose their nominee in lieu of a primary process for special elections in the Empire State.

“I congratulate Dede Scozzafava for receiving the nomination to represent our party and make the case for tax relief, economic development and opportunity,” state party chairman Joseph Mondello said. “We desperately need her voice to oppose the Democrats’ plans to stifle our economy, tax business out of existence and constrain individuals’ potential for success.”

Democrats have yet to select their candidate, but state Sen. Darrel Aubertine is the early favorite.

Already, Republicans have targeted Aubertine with an ad in the district, and Scozzafava’s opponents have gone after her for tax issues.

Scozzafava is an interesting choice, given that there was some talk about Democrats recruiting her to run on their line. A match-up with Aubertine would pit two centrists against each other.

The special election is expected to be a tight race, in which both parties will be looking for an early sign of strength for the 2010 election cycle. Already in the state this year, Democrat Scott Murphy won a special election to replace Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in another upstate House district.

The process to pick Scozzafava involved four meetings in different parts of the district where nine candidates were afforded the ability to make their case.

Republican Matt Doheny, who self-funded $500,000 as a sort of down-payment on the race, congratulated Scozzafava on Wednesday.

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