Murphy, Douglas out of 21st Congressional race

Scott Murphy and Randy Douglas, two Democrats who were considering a run for New York’s 21st Congressional District, have decided against it.

Their announcements came Tuesday, the day county Democratic Party leaders set as a deadline for candidates to express their interest in officially running.

Meanwhile, Republican county leaders were supposed to announce their endorsement after they met today; however, due to snow, the meeting was pushed back to Friday.

Murphy, a former Democratic congressman from Glens Falls, said it just wasn’t the right time.

“After serious consideration, (wife) Jen and I decided that now is not the right time for me to run,” the venture capitalist wrote. “I think that the best thing I can do to serve the country is to spur economic growth and innovation through my work in the private sector.”

Douglas, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, said that after careful thought and consideration with his family, he, too, will not run. Douglas said he was asked to consider a run for the seat on Jan. 14, the day Rep. Bill Owens announced his retirement.

“The idea of it intrigued me. I felt that I could offer a lot of common sense and looked forward to bringing Democrats, Republicans and Independents together for the greater good of our country.” Douglas wrote. “It was a tough decision for me, however, at this time, I do not feel that running for this position is in the best interest of my family.”

The now-shorter list of potential Democratic candidates may include Darrel Aubertine, a former state senator, and Dede Scozzafava, a moderate Republican former assemblywoman and 2009 Congress nominee for the GOP. Both now work for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. When Scozzafava ran against Owens in 2009, she suspended her campaign three days before Election Day and endorsed Owens.

Last week, Washington County Democratic Chairwoman Sheila Comar said the party would complete its selection process by mid-February.

With the news of Murphy not running, the National Republican Congressional Committee said the Democrats are weak.

“Democrats got bad news last month when Bill Owens announced his retirement and the news keeps getting worse with Addie Russell and then Scott Murphy deciding against running for the seat.” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior wrote. “It’s looking more and more like Democrats are going to end up with a fourth rate candidate and a surefire loss at the polls in November.”

Douglas responded by saying he didn’t think any of the potential candidates is fourth rate.

“You know they can say whatever they want,” Douglas told the Enterprise. “I wish all the candidates well for whoever decides to run in the race.”