Holy cow, that was fast. In mid-afternoon, it comes out that Chris Lee sent some schmaltzy beefcake photos of himself to some lady on Craigslist other than his wife; by evening, he’s already resigned. (Whatever happened to courageously gutting it out, like David Vitter and John Ensign?)
Married NY-26 Rep. Chris Lee has just announced that he is resigning in the wake of scandal set off by a damning Gawker report of him scamming on chicks on Craigslist….
“The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”
So much for my earlier proclamations that this wasn’t going to endanger his political career. Oh, well, as a wag on Twitter said (regarding his half-assed identity-obscuring efforts on Craigslist):
Now he can be exactly what he had pretended to be — a divorced lobbyist.
It looks like Andrew Cuomo will be left to call a special election in NY-26, an R+6 district that stretches from the Buffalo suburbs to the Rochester suburbs. With this suddenly on the redistricting chopping block, though, will anyone bother to run? (And you know who’s gotta be the happiest about this happening? NY-25’s Ann Marie Buerkle!) Will we see another Dem primary standoff between Jon Powers and crazy Jack Davis? (Refer back to our 2008 archives if that doesn’t ring a bell.)
UPDATE: In case you were wondering if there were a way for this to get even more hilarious:
A source close to former guv cand Carl Paladino, who is from the district, tells me he’s being “heavily lobbied” to run in a special.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a big handy list of potential candidates, in addition to Paladino (for whom being one of 435 may be too small a canvas for his expansive ego):
For the GOP:
• Erie Co. Exec. Chris Collins (who got a bit of gubernatorial buzz in 2010)
• state Sen. George Maziarz (can’t see the GOP being happy with the possibility of risking losing their new state Senate majority, though)
• state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer
• Assemblywoman Jane Corwin
• Assemblyman Jim Hayes
• Assemblyman and Monroe Co. GOP chair Bill Reilich
• Monroe Co. Exec. Maggie Brooks
• Ex-Assemblyman Jack Quinn (the son of the former Buffalo-area GOP Rep.)
• Ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds (one reporter says he’s getting “antsy” as a lobbyist, and maybe the stench of l’affaire Mark Foley has worn off)
For the Dems:
• Erie Co. Comptroller Mark Poloncarz
• Eric Co. Clerk Kathy Hochul
And if you’re wondering about the special election process, the Governor must call a special election (because this happened so early in the term, it’s not comparable to how David Paterson was essentially able to pocket-veto a NY-29 special election in the wake of Eric Massa’s resignation until November). The Gov still has discretion about when he calls it, though, and there’s a fast turnaround, with the election happening 30-40 days after the Gov’s call. As you probably remember from the debacles (for the GOP) in the NY-20 and NY-23 special elections, the nominees are chosen by a weighted vote of the county party committees, rather than by primary.