Race heats up to fill Slaughter's House seat

Race heats up to fill Slaughter's House seat
© Keren Carrion

New York state assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D) has announced a bid to fill the seat left by Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterSeven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter Breaking through the boys club Sotomayor, Jane Fonda inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE after her death last week. 

Morelle is making quick work of trying to unify the party around himself, announcing his bid on Monday flanked by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Slaughter's daughter 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
But he won't have the field to himself, as a handful of other candidates are collecting signatures. EMILY's List, the national Democratic group that supports pro-choice female candidates, is also recruiting one of Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers Fox News contributor Campos-Duffy compares abortion to slavery 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE's (D-N.Y.) aides to enter the race. 
 
During his announcement, Morelle framed his candidacy as a continuation of Slaughter's legacy. The longtime lawmaker died last week at the age of 88 after a fall in her Washington, D.C., home. 
 
"She taught me an awful lot about public service and I hope to continue that legacy and I'm going to work to make her family proud," Morelle said, according to WHAM News in Rochester. 
 
There are a handful of other candidates exploring bids. WHAM reported that Brighton Town Boardmember Robin Wilt, former mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart and Rochester City Board of Education president Van White are all considering bids. 
 
But EMILY's List is eyeing Sarah Clark, Gillibrand's deputy state director, for a bid herself. Clark is a longtime Gillibrand aide and Rochester-area resident who previously worked for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Poll: Nearly half of Clinton's former supporters back Biden Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE when she served as New York's senator.
 
Clarke did not immediately respond to a request for comment through Gillibrand's office. 
 
A source familiar with the discussions told The Hill that EMILY's List feels strongly about this district because of its history with Slaughter. The Democratic group was founded in 1985, one year before Slaughter ran for Congress and first endorsed her in 1996. A second source added that the group isn't scared off by the initial coalescing behind Morelle and is hoping Clark will jump in. 
 
"Louise Slaughter was a longtime ally and endorsed candidate of EMILY's List, and she has been a champion for women and families throughout her career. We are invested in working to ensure that she is succeeded by another strong, passionate woman leader," an EMILY's List spokeswoman told The Hill. 
 
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has yet to issue a proclamation laying out the timeline for the special election, but it appears likely he'll match that schedule with the regular congressional election calendar. Candidates for that election have until April 12 to collect 1,250 signatures to be eligible for the June 26 primary.