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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 SlaughterDemocrats see hypocrisy in GOP attacks on ‘liberal mob’ Poll: Dem leads by 24 points in race to replace Louise Slaughter Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain 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 
 
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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 GillibrandSchumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress Election Countdown: Arizona Senate race still too close to call | Florida vote tally fight heats up | Trump calls for Abrams to 'move on' Pro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems 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 ClintonEx-Clinton aide: Hillary will run again in 2020 Ex-Facebook exec ousted from company sparked controversy with pro-Trump views: report Pelosi says she'll be Speaker ‘to protect the Affordable Care Act’ 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.