New York’s 29th congressional district elections, 2010(1)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2)
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in New York, 2010 § District 29(3)
New York’s 29th congressional district election, 2010 New York (state)
2008 ←(4)
November 2, 2010 (5)
Tom Reed.jpg Matthew Zeller.jpg(6)
Nominee Tom Reed Matthew Zeller (7)
Party Republican Democratic(8)
Popular vote 94,209 (special)(9)
101,209 (general) 73,513 (special)(10)
78,578 (general)(11)
Percentage 56% 44%(12)
Representative before election(13)

Eric Massa(14)
Elected Representative(15)

Tom Reed

Two elections in New York’s 29th district were held on November 2, 2010. The candidates vied to replace Eric Massa, who resigned the seat on March 8, 2010 as a result of health issues and allegations of sexual harassment.(17)

The Governor called for a special election to be held simultaneously with the general election on the same day, with the special election determining who will fill out the remainder of Massa’s term in the 111th United States Congress (from November 2010 to January 2011) and the general election determining who serves in the 112th United States Congress.(18)

Republican Thomas W. Reed, Jr., the former mayor of Corning, New York, defeated Democrat Matthew Zeller, a CIA analyst and war veteran who was living in Washington, DC at the time of Massa’s resignation, and Janice Volk, a write-in candidate.

The old 29th District will be replaced by the new 23rd District and includes Ithaca.


1 Background(1)
2 Candidates(2)
2.1 Democratic party(3)
2.1.1 Nominee(5)
2.1.2 Not running(6)
2.2 Republican party(7)
2.2.1 Nominee(8)
2.2.2 Not running, or eliminated(9)
2.3 Independence Party(10)
2.4 Conservative Party
2.5 Working Families Party
3 Horse Race Metrics
4 Endorsements
4.1 Tom Reed
4.2 Matthew Zeller
4.3 Janice Volk
5 Polling
6 Results
7 References
8 External links


Democrat Eric J. Massa won this district by 1.8 percentage points in 2008 over then-two-term incumbent John “Randy” Kuhl. The district leans Republican (CPVI R+5), voted for John McCain over Barack Obama by a 51-48 margin, and, accounting for redistricting, had been held by a Republicans for almost a century, except for Democrat Stan Lundine’s time representing the area in the 1970s and 1980s.[1] Massa, as of early 2009, had an active campaign war chest of over $38,000, most of it from labor union interests,[2] and intended on using the fund for a 2010 campaign.[3] At the time of his resignation, he had raised over $600,000.[4] The NRCC targeted Massa for voting in favor of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.[5]

However, on March 3, 2010, Massa announced that he would retire after his first term, following reports that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer and allegations of sexual harassment; Massa later announced his resignation effective March 8.[6] Governor David Paterson had the option to call a special election (much as resignations in the 20th and 23rd districts prompted), but because it is an election year, Paterson was not compelled to do so immediately. Much speculation was aired over when the special election would occur, but it ultimately was set to coincide with the general election.[7][8][9]

On April 23, 2010, Steuben County Republican chairman Bill Hatch announced that he would be filing a lawsuit that, if successful, would force the governor to acknowledge the vacancy and call the special election in the immediate future.[10] Clause I.2.4 of the U.S. Constitution requires the governor of a state issue a “writ of election” for any congressional vacancies, which would technically place Governor Paterson in contempt if he did not recognize the vacancy. The judge hearing the case denied a motion from the Paterson administration to dismiss the lawsuit on May 13.[11]

On May 12, 2010, Paterson announced that he would set the special election for November 2, 2010, and would not issue the required writ of election until October. This would result in the seat remaining vacant for eight months, far longer than the 30 to 40 days dictated by New York law. It would also result in a general election and special election occurring on the same day, with the winner of the special election serving from the moment the election is certified (or the loser concedes, whichever is first) until January 2011, and the winner of the general election serving from that point until 2013. Furthermore, the redundant election complicates the primary election process: it would be theoretically possible for either Reed or Zeller to be defeated in the primary election in mid-September, but then remain on the ballot for the special election.[12] On top of this, state law dictates that special elections cannot be held for vacancies acknowledged after July 1, except in special circumstances.[13] Following the announcement, Angelo Campini, who is challenging Reed in the primary election, stated that he would consider joining the lawsuit or filing one of his own over the date of the election if it resulted in him being pushed off the ballot.[14]

Judge David Larimer issued a ruling in the case on June 4, 2010, officially acknowledging the vacancy, but ignoring the state law regarding the requirement for calling a special election within 30 to 40 days of the acknowledged vacancy. As such, Larimer would not compel Paterson to call the election before November 2.[15] The plaintiffs considered an appeal but never followed through.[16]