The news that Senator George Maziarz has decided to pass on the 26th Congressional District seat vacated by Chris Lee is great news for Western New York. In his announcement, Maziarz said, "As the leader of the Western New York delegation, I am focused on the issues that matter to me, my constituents and the region as a whole. I believe that issues such as creating jobs, enacting a property tax cap, implementing UB 2020 and getting a better deal from the New York Power Authority are best addressed if I’m in Albany." He's right.
There is no doubt that Maziarz would win the seat if he entered the race. But if he did depart, the Republican's majority would, at least temporarily, be 31-30. As we know, any legislation in the Senate requires 32 votes to pass. The vacancy would create havoc in the current legislative session, especially heading towards the April 1st deadline. More importantly, Western New York would lose its strongest voice in Albany.
A vacancy in the 62nd Senate District would also have cost the Senate Republican Campaign Committee a million dollars to run the special election to fill the Maziarz seat. Even though the SRCC has a couple mil on hand and the DSCC is three million dollars in the hole after the November elections, nobody on the GOP side would have wanted to drop that kind of dough on a special.
The bottom line is that Maziarz staying is good for WNY. While we we've seen a slew of new political faces in people like Grisanti, Gallivan and Kennedy, none of them have earned their Albany wings like Maziarz. His departure would have left a huge void in Western New York's voice in the state capital.
Passing up the opportunity to go to D.C. could not have been an easy one. That being said, Maziarz needs to be commended for his decision to stay in the Senate. That type of selflessness is all too rare in politics these days.