‘No-go for Joe’ in try for 23rd

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo said today he no longer is considering running for the 23rd Congressional District seat being vacated by fellow Republican John M. McHugh.

Griffo, R-47, Rome, said in a statement that "while I am honored to be considered as a candidate for Congress, I plan to continue my service to the people of Central and Northern New York by working to reform the state Legislature and the state budget process."

Griffo also said "there are certainly many outstanding people who will be actively pursuing the congressional seat," and "I urge our county leaders to have an open and active selection process and I look forward to supporting the Republican candidate for the 23rd District."

Earlier this month McHugh, a 16-year congressman, was selected by President Barack Obama to become secretary of the Army. In the wake of that, Griffo said, he had been "very honored to hear from constituents, supporters and community leaders asking me to consider" representing McHugh’s district. Griffo’s Senate district includes some of the same territory as McHugh’s district, which covers parts of northern Oneida County and all of Madison County among its areas.

But Griffo also said "it’s clear that we face tremendous challenges in Albany with a state government badly in need of direction, competency and most of all reform." He added that "as part of the historic change under way in Albany to empower individual legislators and create bipartisan leadership in the Senate, some of those reforms that I have fought so hard for have been adopted."

Griffo had been in the state Senate minority, but on June 8 Republicans and two dissident Democrats took control after the dissidents voted with the GOP to displace what had been a narrow Democratic majority. The power struggle between the two sides has since continued, with one dissident reverting back to the Democratic side and clouding any party majority.