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Pete Lopez Hasn't Decided On Run For Congress

Pete Lopez (file photo)

 Is he or isn't he?

Conflicting reports appeared this week concerning New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez making a run for Congressman Chris Gibson's seat come 2016.

On Wednesday, the Catskill Daily Mail reported that Lopez announced his plans to run for the 19th district House seat currently held by Gibson, who is in his last term and considering a statewide run in 2018.

"Chris made it clear that his service in Congress is term-limited. He's imposed that on himself, God bless him. There's speculation that he may be considering public service in another vein. And so Chris and I have had some conversations and he is my working partner. I share six counties out of his 11-county district, so we have regular conversation about any number of issues, and we have talked about this issue. The conversations have been very encouraging and very real," said Lopez.

But will the Schoharie Republican, who represents parts of the Catskills in Delaware, Greene, and Schoharie counties, run for Gibson's seat? 

Isn't that what Lopez told the Daily Mail

"I wouldn't even contemplate doing an announcement in a single interview with one newspaper. That would would not be the right way to do it, and would not be serving the district because the district is so big, you can't capture the attention of everyone in the district in one newspaper alone."

Lopez, using the euphemism "lost in translation," attributed the article to a "misunderstanding in the conversation" he had with a reporter.    "I called them after I had learned about the write-up. We had a chance to talk personally."

He spoke with the reporter and the editor, and says "everything is fine," which brings us back to the core question:  does Pete Lopez, in the Assembly since 2007, have his eye on federal office?    "My hope is to make an announcement. But that's going to hinge on family first and their comfort level, then it will hinge on making sure that I have the appropriate team in place and framework in place to run a competitive race across 11 counties."

Lopez adds he already has a full plate with his legislative duties.   "My main focus remains on my seven counties, that the people are dealing with floods and recession and common core and other critical issues."

State Senator Jim Seward and former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso have also been mentioned as potential GOP candidates for Gibson's seat. Democrats have yet to come forward.  Neither Seward or Faso responded to requests for comment.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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