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26th Congressional Race: GOP Candidate Interviews | News

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26th Congressional Race: GOP Candidate Interviews

 It was a long day and a long list for the seven Republican Party Chairmen who span the 26th Congressional District. They spent much of their Sunday in Batavia interviewing the eight men and women who hope to have their name on the GOP line for the special election. Governor Cuomo must still set a date but there is plenty of interest.    

State Assembywoman Jane Corwin of the 142nd District has been mentioned as a favorite but there are others who feel they have just the same or better qualifications to represent the district.

They include wealthy business owner Jack Davis who has run before as a Democrat but has now returned as a registered Republican.

Then there is Amherst Town Supervisor Dr. Barry Weinstein who stressed his experience as physician, attorney, and his success in politics.  

Kathy Weppner, who hosts a local radio talk show, stressed her interest as the mother of a currently deployed Marine in Afghanistan.

David Bellavia, who has also run before, is an Iraq War veteran who says honor is important after Chris Lee's scandal-tainted resignation from the seat.

Gary Wheat stressed his appeal as a local politician in serving as a town councilman in the community of Avon, Livingston County.

Town of Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli from Orleans County and Peter O'Brien, another veteran from Batavia, were also interviewed.

  Some of the potential candidates told us that there were the usual issue questions on the economy, job creation, federal deficit and foreign policy. But they also faced what Corwin called "some pointed questions" about their backgrounds and personal lives. Party officials say they must probe deeper while assessing candidates in the wake of the Lee scandal.   

Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy says the group of chairmen will meet again Monday evening in Geneseo, Livingston County for a final vote and then announce their nominee.  

 Democrats have yet to announce a selection process but Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul is mentioned prominently as a potential candidate.     




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