GOP sources confirm that Rep. Tom Reynolds, a Western NY Congressman since 1999 and ex-NRCC chairman, will announce around noon tomorrow in Buffalo that he will not seek re-election this fall. Reynolds spokesman LD Platt did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
Reynolds, who is also a former Assembly minority leader, has been pushing back against retirement rumors for some time now.
But the recent NRCC fraud scandal - some of which took place on his watch - has made his re-election effort that much more difficult in an already tough year (increasingly Democratic state, presidential election etc).
Were he to run, this would be the second election-year scandal in a row for Reynolds. The first, of course, was the Mark Foley page debacle.
There is already one announced Democratic challenger in the 26th CD: Jon Powers, an Iraq War veteran. Independently-wealthy businessman Jack Davis, who ran against Reynolds in 2004 and 2006, is reportedly considering another run.
Iraq War vet Jon Powers is an awesome candidate. Reynolds got lucky last year facing off against bat-shit insane "Democrat" Jack Davis, a wealthy businessman who refused to campaign (and only quit the GOP because Cheney personally insulted him). The nut is thinking about running again, and if nothing else, would serve as good batting practice for Powers in a primary.
This is an R+3.5 district, but getting bluer. Reynolds only managed to eke out a 52-48 victory against crazy Jack Davis in 2006. Given this is a presidential year in a solidly Democratic state, Reynolds saw the writing on the wall. He won't be the last one either. We're at 27 retirements. I predict 36 before all's said and done, or about 20 percent of the GOP's decimated caucus.
On the web:
Jon Powers for Congress
Update: I'm looking forward to some good analysis at the Albany Project on Thursday.
Update II: It's 27 open House seats this November, 30 total retirements, including seats that have had to be filled or will be filled pre-November with special elections, like IL-14.