Democratic Representative for New York’s 21st congressional district Bill Owens has announced that he will not seek reelection. The 21st district is the state’s largest and most rural. It includes most of the North Country, as well as the northern suburbs of Syracuse. Owens was the first Democrat to represent the region since 1873.
In 2009, Owens, then registered as an independent, was chosen by the Democratic Party to run in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by incumbent Republican John McHugh, who was appointed Secretary of the Army. Originally, Owens faced Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Doug Hoffman who had failed to get the Republican Party nomination in favor of the more socially liberal Scozzafava.
High-profile conservatives, including Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh were vocal in their support for Hoffman, who also had the support of the Tea Party. Under increasing pressure from conservatives Scozzafava dropped out of the race just days before the election. The Watertown Daily Times, which had originally endorsed Scozzafava, switched its endorsement to Owens and on the same day Scozzafava endorsed Owens. Owens won 49 percent; Hoffman 45 percent, and Scozzafava six percent.
In 2010, Owens was reelected with 47.5% of the vote in a three way race against moderate Republican and Independence candidate Matthew A. Doheny and Tea Party Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman. The race was one of the closest Congressional races that year.
Owens was reelected again, narrowly, in 2012 against Doheny.
The following is a statement from Representative Bill Owens (NY-21):
“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for the 21st Congressional District this November. I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel the district, meeting and serving the families and business owners of this vast community. It has truly been a privilege to serve, and I plan on continuing to work for a brighter future for the region.
My appreciation for the support of my wife, children, grandchildren and close friends cannot be sufficiently expressed in words. There are others — too numerous to list — to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. The remainder of my term will be spent in much the same way as the previous four years: assisting constituents with their individual concerns, continuing to focus on passing a Farm Bill, helping to create jobs in our communities, working for our troops and veterans, keeping the northern border secure and fluid and being a voice in Congress for bipartisanship, as well as fact-based decision making. You can count on me to work with and for you over the remainder of my term.
It is time for me to undertake new endeavors and spend more time with my family. Even though I will not seek re-election, it is my goal that the next phase of my life will continue to focus on helping to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, primarily through job creation and economic development.
Thank you for letting me serve you since November 2009.”
Too bad, he seems like a pretty good guy.
Too bad indeed. Not flashy, thoughtful, hard working.
I agree with the first two comments. So far, the potential candidates mentioned to run for his seat make me uneasy at best.