Gov. Cuomo has scheduled a May 24 special election to fill the western New York congressional seat abruptly vacated by Republican Chris Lee after a gossip website reported he'd been flirting with a woman on Craigslist.
The winner in the 26th Congressional District will finish out the two-year term the married Lee had begun serving one month before Gawker.com published a shirtless cell phone photo and emails he reportedly sent to the woman.
Republicans have endorsed Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to replace him.
Democratic leaders said Wednesday that interviews with seven interested candidates would begin this Saturday and continue for at least a week.
The Democrats' candidates include Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, former Amherst Town Supervisor Satish Mohan, Amherst Council Member Mark Manna and Henrietta corrections officer Martin Minemier. Jane Bauch of Orleans County and Robert Stall and Diana Voit of Erie County also are being considered.
Iraq War veteran David Bellavia has been campaigning for the seat but has not formally declared. Businessman Jack Davis, a Republican who ran for the seat as a Democrat in 2004, 2006 and 2008, is contemplating an independent run.
The district, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 27,000, spans the northeastern suburbs of Buffalo to the suburbs west of Rochester. Before Lee, it was held for five terms by Republican Thomas Reynolds, who retired.
Whoever wins it next may not hold the job for long. The region's slow population growth is expected to cost it at least one seat in Congress in a 2012 reapportionment, and the district left open by Lee is among those that could be eliminated or redrawn.