New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R-Schoharie) is at the center of recent rumors concerning a possible congressional bid to replace outgoing Congressman Chris Gibson, but as of Friday evening the lifelong Schoharie resident has yet to make a final decision.
Explaining that "Ultimately it boils down to my family," Mr. Lopez told The Schoharie News that he is seriously considering a campaign, but that he is weighing several factors before jumping into the race.
Citing a "sense of urgency in the community" concerning flood recovery, common core, and the unpopular SAFE Act, the five-term representative said that he would not run unless he could "remain focused on my job as an Assemblyman, because that's my highest priority."
The Catskill based Daily Mail set off a firestorm on Wednesday, April 15th when they inaccurately reported that Lopez had officially announced a run for Congress, while the Oneonta Daily Star wrote an article the same day disputing the Mail's story.
In addition to the Schoharie native, who is seen as a hometown son by many in the county, State Senator Jim Seward, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, and former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso have also been mentioned as potential Republican candidates.
Calling himself fortunate to be able to serve in six of eleven counties with the congressman, Mr. Lopez praised Gibson as an "intelligent, thoughtful man who works hard for his community."
Although surprised by Gibson's decision to retire after having just won re-election handily in November over Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge, the assemblyman believed that he was just being honest with his constituency.
Driving over one thousand miles per week across the 102nd Assembly District, Lopez said that "folks are fragile these days," and that they are facing questions every day on whether they have a job, a roof over their head, or a education for their children.
Still, despite the long hours and hard work, Lopez considers his position in the assembly to be a privilege; one that he approaches with a sense of urgency as one-third of the calls his office receives still concern flood recovery, even as the fourth anniversary of Irene nears.