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Politics

Chris Lee joins NYS scandal resignation hall of fame

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Courtesy photo
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House of Representatives
Only a month and a half into his second term, Lee resigned Thursday.

As pretty much the entirety of western New York (or at least those on Twitter) knows, Republican Buffalo congressman Chris Lee resigned yesterday after a shirtless image he sent to a woman (not his wife) appeared on Gawker.  Lee was known to the Innovation Trail for his pro-manufacturing, tax cutting business friendly agenda.

Jerry Zremski at the Buffalo News describes a tense scene at Lee's office as the news broke:

"The first we saw it was online," the staffer said. The news set off a tense afternoon in Lee's office, with a crowd of reporters gathering at his office door and unnerved aides, most of them young, staffing jammed phone lines. Lee's whereabouts were unknown through much of the afternoon, but a Fox News reporter caught up with him as he was reaching his car, where he said he would not comment. "I have to work this out with my wife," Lee said.

Jill Terreri at the Democrat and Chronicle points out the obvious comparison (across the aisle) to Lee's downfall:

Lee, who was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in January, follows Eric Massa, a Democrat, as the second Rochester-area representative to resign in a year. Massa quit in March 2010 following allegations that he harassed his staff, though Massa said he was leaving for health reasons.

Jimmy Vielkind at Capitol Confidential gets the award for quickest no comment about the special election to find a replacement for Lee:

Josh Vlasto, a Cuomo spokesman, did not immediately know when a special would be called. (In fact, we were chatting on the phone when this news first broke…kudos to Josh for a quick, on-the-fly no-comment.)

While Vielkind couldn’t get a comment, he does have details on how the special election will unfold:

A special election! Under the Public Officers Law andElection Law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has to formally call a special election to replace him, since this vacancy will occur so early in Lee’s term (less than 40, if my math is correct). Under the Election Law, the party candidates to succeed Lee are chosen not by a petitioning and primary process, but by a weighted vote of the county party chairs in the district. Lee’s district, the 26th, spans parts of Erie, Niagara and Monroe counties (nothern suburbs of Buffalo, western suburbs of Rochester) as well as the GLOW counties: Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming and Orleans.

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