New York's 29th congressional district election, 2008
The 2008 Congressional election in New York's 29th district took place on November 4, 2008. Democratic nominee Eric Massa defeated Republican incumbent Randy Kuhl, following his unsuccessful 2006 run against Kuhl.
Two-term incumbent Randy Kuhl (R) had been elected to Congress with 52% of the popular vote over Democratic candidate Eric Massa in a two-way race in 2006. In March 2006, citing his frustration with actions at the in-patient mental health care hospital at the Canandaigua VA center, former Democratic candidate, and a long-time friend of 2004 presidential candidate General Wesley Clark, Eric J.J. Massa filed to run as the Democratic candidate again in 2008. In May 2007, Pittsford businessman David Nachbar, a senior vice-president of Bausch & Lomb, also announced his candidacy as a Democratic candidate for the same seat.
As of a post on April 18, 2007 from Massa on DailyKos, the DCCC placed a requirement on their support for any candidate relied upon that candidate having $300K cash-on-hand by the end of the second quarter 2007 (June 30).
In August 2007, Nachbar announced that he was withdrawing from the race, with news reports stating that a letter to supporters suggest his role as Senior VP of Human Resources for Bausch & Lomb during a buyout via hedge fund Warburg Pinkus rendered him unable to campaign effectively. Prior to Nachbar's announcement, Massa's campaign announced in a press release, that he had received all of the County endorsements of the 29th District and all of the townships in Monroe County, but had yet to secure the Monroe Democratic Committee endorsement.
Horse Race Metrics
The Lurita Doan scandal points out that some Republican stategists feel that they are vulnerable in this district.
Metrics as of April 15, 2007
- Randy Kuhl with $103K cash on hand, with $17K in debt (owed primarily to a DC fundraising consulting firm).
- Eric Massa with $1700 cash on hand with $75K in debt and loans (a $10K personal loan and $32K debt to a NY law firm)
- David Nachbar has yet to file any information on his campaign finances.
Metrics as of July 15, 2007
- Randy Kuhl with $105K cash on hand with $9K in debt.
- Eric Massa with $153K cash on hand with $78K in debt and loans (a $10K personal loan and $27K debt to a NY law firm).
- David Nachbar with $202K cash on hand with a personal loan of $200K.
Metrics as of October 15, 2007
- Randy Kuhl with $206K cash on hand with $0K in debt.
- Eric Massa with $216K cash on hand with $65K in debt and loans (a $10K personal loan and $13K debt to a NY law firm)
- David Nachbar with $4K cash on hand after repayment of personal loan
- As of August 2007, Eric Massa has secured the Democratic Committee endorsements of the Ontario, Steuben, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Yates, Chemung and Schuyler County Democratic Committees.
- Massa has also secured the endorsements of Pittsford, Penfield, Mendon, Rush, Gates, Henrietta, Brighton, Chili and Perinton Democratic Town Committees (the nine towns that make up Monroe County)
- At present, the Monroe County Committee has yet to endorse a primary candidate.
- June 15, 2007: Major General John Batiste, former Commander of the United States Army's First Infantry Division, endorsed Massa.
- August 2007: Congressman Jerrold Nadler endorsed Massa.
The first poll of the campaign was released on October 8, 2008, by SurveyUSA. The poll showed Massa receiving support from 51% of likely voters to Kuhl's 44%, reflecting the overall Democratic trend across the country.  On October 30, 2008, Rasmussen Reports predicted that Massa would win the election on November 4.
A native of the 29th District, Congressman Randy Kuhl has lived in the area all of his life. The son of a doctor and a nurse/teacher, Randy was born in Bath, picked grapes and worked inside the wineries on the shores of Keuka Lake, attended school in Hammondsport, had summer jobs in construction and on several different farms during his college years. He owned and operated a business in Bath, became Steuben County attorney, then successfully ran for the New York State Assembly in 1980, the New York State Senate in 1986, and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004 where he now serves and represents the people of the 29th District.
Randy Kuhl is a graduate of Hammondsport Central School, and earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Union College (1966), and in 1969 received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law. He is a communicant of St. James Episcopal Church and has been active in the Hammondsport Rotary Club and BPOE 1547 in Bath. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Five Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Branchport Rod and Gun Club, and the Executive Committee of the Steuben County Republican Committee. He is President of the Board of Directors of the Reginald Wood Scouting Memorial and an immediate past member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Manufacturing and Technology.
Randy Kuhl currently lives in Hammondsport and is the father of three sons.
Eric Massa was the Democratic nominee in 2006. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and went on to serve in the Navy for 24 years. He eventually served as aide to former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark. Near the end of his Navy career he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a disease he was able to survive. A former Republican, he claims he left his party over the issue of the Iraq War and campaigned in New Hampshire during the campaign of his former-boss, Wesley Clark's, failed presidential bid.
During the 2006 campaign, Massa positioned himself as strongly opposed to the Iraq war and unrestricted "free trade," favoring instead "fair trade". Other issues in his platform included expanding farm aid programs, as well as bringing homeland security money to the 29th District. Massa is also active in Band of Brothers/Veterans for a Secure America whose goal is to help veterans who are running for Congress as Democrats.
Massa has recently worked as a "business consultant" for Strategic Insight, a defense consulting firm in Alexandra, Virginia. Massa, during a press conference in June, 2007, stated that he has since "curtailed all other activities in April (2007) when he became an active candidate".
Massa lives in Corning, New York with his wife Beverly, daughter Alexandra and son Justin. His eldest son Richard lives in California.
Nachbar joined Bausch & Lomb from The St. Paul Companies, Inc., where he was senior vice president for Human Resources. Previously, he was vice president for Human Resources and chief of staff for Asia for Citibank. He also held Human Resources posts with PepsiCo and Time Warner. In 1996, Nachbar ran for New York State Senate as a Democrat and was unsuccessful.
Nachbar received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1984.
On August 21, 2008, Massa attended a Kuhl press conference in the Corning City Hall. After the press conference ended, the two candidates spoke for a minute in the hallway. Massa challenged Kuhl to schedule debates and criticized him for not having accepted debate invitations from community leaders. After Massa left, Kuhl said he had not had time to schedule a debate. Kuhl later issued a press release which criticized Massa for being "disrespectful" at the event, which Kuhl said "was not campaign related". Councilman Dane Kane, a Democrat who also attended the press conference, joined in Massa's criticism, saying, "Kuhl has stopped his town hall meetings, won’t take questions from the public, and refuses to respond to invitations to debate the issues of the day."
- "AP Calls for Eric Massa in Tight Race With Randy Kuhl". 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Kuhl FEC Apr filing
- Massa FEC Apr filing
- Nachbar Committee FEC filing
- Kuhl FEC Jul filing
- Massa FEC Jul filing
- Nachbar FEC Jul filing
- Kuhl FEC Oct filing
- Massa FEC Oct filing
- Nachbar FEC Oct filing
- Poll Shows Massa Leads Kuhl
- Bausch & Lomb website
- Smith, Jeffery (August 22, 2008). "Kuhl, Massa spar at City Hall". The Corning Leader.