Paterson Sets Election Date to Replace Massa

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Former Rep. Eric Massa

    Gov. David Paterson on Wednesday called for a special election Nov. 2 to fill the congressional seat held by former U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, who resigned amid an investigation into whether he sexually harassed male staffers.

    Massa, a Democrat, resigned in March. At the time, Paterson said he would call a special election to replace him as quickly as possible. But in a statement Wednesday, Paterson said concerns about new electronic voting machines and the cost of holding a special election had persuaded him to wait.

    The 29th Congressional District, in western New York, is believed to be ripe for a Republican takeover. GOP strategists have complained that Paterson delayed the special election to boost Democratic chances of keeping the seat. State Senate Republicans see a possible GOP win in a low-turnout special election.

    Massa, 50, resigned on March 8 from the House of Representatives, citing a recurrence of cancer. As allegations surfaced of sexual harassment of staffers, he admitted groping a male staffer, but he said it was non-sexual tickling.

    The House Ethics Committee has been investigating whether top Democrats hid information involving allegations of sexual harassment involving the former congressman.

    The case is politically important as Republicans try to use the cloud of scandal surrounding Massa as a campaign issue.

    The special election for Massa's seat will run concurrently with the general election.

    The winner of the election will serve immediately — depending on when Congress swears him or her in — until the person elected in the general election takes over.