Who will represent the Southern Tier in Congress after Tom Reed retires?

State Legislature

CORNING, N.Y. (WIVB) – The boundaries of New York’s 23rd Congressional District are expected to change when redistricting occurs ahead of the 2022 midterm election. But wherever the lines are drawn, at least one person will have to replace Rep. Tom Reed as the Southern Tier’s representative in Congress.

Reed announced Sunday he would not seek elected office in 2022 and retire from public service as the conclusion of his term. He was accused Friday of sexual misconduct in a Washington Post article. A former lobbyist claims the congressman unhooked her bra while in a bar in 2017.

“I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility,” Reed said in a statement, in which he also admitted to his struggles with alcohol and shared that he entered treatment in 2017.

As currently drawn, the 23rd District includes all or parts of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties. Republicans hold an enrollment advantage over Democrats by about 27,000 voters.

Phone calls were already occurring in Republican circles Monday morning. Chemung County Executive Chris Moss said he is preliminarily considering a run for the seat.

“My phone has been ringing all morning,” Moss told WETM-TV. “Just some preliminary discussions.”

Cathy Young, a former Republican state senator who now serves as the executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell University, also said in an email she has been speaking with leaders around the district.

“Politically speaking, the 2022 midterm elections are a lifetime away and, right now, I’m focused on my work at Cornell University to help build our local agribusiness economy and create jobs for local families,” Young added.

Senator George Borrello, who succeeded Young in the state Senate, said he was focused on the state budget process in Albany right now, but added, “I certainly wouldn’t rule anything out.”

State Assemblyman Joe Giglio said a run for the congressional seat was something he “might consider”, but that it was a little premature to consider it right now.

Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel said he was focused on his 2021 campaign for re-election at this time. And Assemblyman Andy Goodell told News 4 he was not interested in the seat.

New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy referred to it as a “wide open situation”.

“No one has a crystal ball,” he said. “We don’t know how many seats we’re going to have. All of these seats are going to drastically change in terms of their shape and their geography. The only thing that becomes apparent is that there is one less incumbent fighting for their future.”

On the Democratic side, the most recent challenger to Reed, Tracy Mitrano said she would not run again. Leslie Danks-Burke, a former state Senate candidate and founder of the Trailblazers PAC, told WETM-TV everything is on the table for her.

Prior to announcing that he would retire from public service, Reed had also been in the discussion to potentially run for governor on the GOP line in 2022.

“I think Tom was a serious contender,” Langworthy said. “I would not have called him the front-runner by any sense of the imagination.”

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