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Republican chairs select Corwin for vacant congressional seat

Republican congressional candidate Jane Corwin

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Local Republican leaders chose State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin of Clarence Monday evening as their candidate to run in a special election for the seat once held by former Congressman Chris Lee.

The chairs of the Republican committees in the seven counties across the 26th congressional district met in Geneseo. Corwin received unanimous support.

Interviews for the vacancy were conducted by party leaders Sunday. Besides Corwin, the others who were interviewed included Amherst Supervisor Barry Weinstein, Democrat-turned-Republican Jack Davis and Iraq war veteran David Bellavia.

"I am humbled to receive the support of Western New York's Republican leadership and I thank them for conducting this process in an open, fair and comprehensive manner considering the time constraints," Corwin said.

Representatives of the tea party movement in Western New York had asked the Republicans to delay making a decision. They note Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet called for a special election.

"There is no reason to be in such a hurry to push a candidate," a statement from TEA New York said. "From the very beginning and within hours the Republicans circled the wagons around Jane Corwin. Why? It has been stated over and over again that she can fund her own campaign, but there are others that are in the same position." Lee resigned February 9th after a gossip web site published a shirtless photograph of him that was obtained from a woman he met on an Internet dating site.

The Democrats have not yet decided on their candidate. Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul has indicated she would be interested if the Democratic party provides the financial resources for her to run an effective campaign in the heavily-Republican district.