Randy Kuhl

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Randy Kuhl
Randy Kuhl.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byAmo Houghton
Succeeded byEric Massa
Member of the New York Senate
from the 52nd, later the 53rd district
In office
January 1, 1987 – December 31, 2004
Preceded byWilliam T. Smith
Succeeded byGeorge H. Winner, Jr.
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 127th district
In office
January 1, 1981 – December 31, 1986
Preceded byCharles D. Henderson
Succeeded byDonald R. Davidsen
Personal details
BornJohn R. Kuhl, Jr.
(1943-04-19) April 19, 1943 (age 75)
Bath, New York
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceHammondsport, New York
Alma materUnion College
Syracuse University

John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (born 19 April 1943), is an American Republican politician, and former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York. He represented New York's 29th congressional district for two terms before being defeated for reelection by Eric Massa on November 4, 2008 by a margin of 51%–49%. After waiting for two weeks pending recounts, Kuhl conceded to Massa on November 21, 2008.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Kuhl was born in Hammondsport, New York, where he now lives. He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York with a B.A. in civil engineering in 1966, and then got a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1969. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1970.[2]

New York legislature[edit]

Kuhl and Patricia McGee were allies in the New York State Senate.

Kuhl was a member of the New York Assembly from 1981 to 1986, sitting in the 184th, 185th and 186th New York State Legislatures. In November 1986, after the retirement of William T. Smith, Kuhl ran for Smith's senate seat and won.

Kuhl was a member of the New York State Senate from 1987 to 2004, sitting in the 187th, 188th, 189th, 190th, 192nd, 193rd, 194th, 195th and 196th New York State Legislatures. He was appointed the Senate's Assistant Majority Leader for Operations at the beginning of the 1995 legislative session.[2] During his time in the legislature, he was a practicing lawyer with an office in Bath.

One of Kuhl's signature issues in the state legislature was Upstate secession.[3] Each year, he regularly introduced a bill "to let New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland Counties became a separate state called New York; the rest of the counties would become West New York. At least one poll in upstate has found the idea to be wildly popular."[3] Kuhl summed up his secessionist views by saying that "his constituents in the Finger Lakes region often wonder, 'Why don't you just cut the City of New York off and let it drift out to sea?'"[3]

In 1997, while serving as a state senator, Kuhl was arrested and convicted of drunk driving. His driver's license was revoked for six months.[4]

House of Representatives[edit]

2004 election[edit]

In 2004, Kuhl ran for the House seat of retiring U.S. Representative Amo Houghton, a Republican multimillionaire who had displayed a moderate bent during 18 years in Washington. In the Republican primary, Kuhl, who was supported by Houghton,[5] defeated Monroe County Legislator Mark Assini. He then defeated 27-year-old Democrat Samara Barend.

The campaign finished out with harsh television commercials casting Barend as devious and untrustworthy and Kuhl as a drunken driver whose breakup with his wife in the 1990s shed doubts on his fitness to hold office. Kuhl, who had been heavily favored in the Republican-leaning 29th District (registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats 3-2), won with 51% of the vote, as opposed to Barend's nearly 41%. (Conservative Party candidate Mark Assini, who dropped out of the race in September 2004, garnered 6%.) He was succeeded in the Senate by Republican George Winner.

Political positions[edit]

Kuhl, a seasoned New York politician, was the most politically experienced freshman of the 2004 House class. He was considered a fairly reliable conservative who generally voted against abortion rights, gun control and tax increases. During his final term in the 110th Congress, he had the second highest lifetime rating (87.5%) from the American Conservative Union out of the 29 Representatives from New York state.[6] He was, however, a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

Kuhl supported making then-President Bush's tax cuts permanent. In addition, he also advocated for a 10-cent reduction in federal gasoline taxes.[7]

He supported the Iraq war and rebuilding efforts, saying "we must see this effort through." However, after the Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, Kuhl shifted his focus somewhat. He went on record as opposing the military's "Stop-loss policy" [8] and addressed the issue of families in which both parents serve in the military.[9]

Kuhl was a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[10]

In September 2007, Kuhl was noted in the news as being one of the most outspoken opponents of a plan by then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to allow illegal aliens to apply for driver's licenses.[11] He also became a prominent opponent of the SCHIP expansion, a stance for which he earned significant animosity from various groups including MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union, and even former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.[12]

During his time as a state senator, Kuhl was an advocate of New York City secession and unsuccessfully introduced several bills to separate Upstate New York from downstate.[13]

Kuhl voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008[14] after having voted against it the first time.[citation needed]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Agriculture Committee
    • Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture
  • Education and Labor Committee
    • Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Subcommittee on Aviation
    • Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    • Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
  • Deputy Minority Whip

2006 re-election campaign[edit]

Kuhl's Democratic opponent in the 2006 elections was former Navy officer Eric Massa of Corning, a former Republican.

In March 2006, Kuhl invited President George W. Bush to Canandaigua. Bush spoke at Canandaigua Academy, a public high school. After the high school visit Bush's motorcade visited Ferris Hills, a senior living community for upper-income residents. (The trip had previously been billed as including a visit to a "nursing home".) Bush took questions for about fifteen minutes from these seniors about his new prescription-drug plan, Medicare Part D.

In September 2006, Kuhl welcomed Vice President Dick Cheney to a major fundraiser in Rochester. Kuhl said he couldn't agree more with Cheney's assessment that combating terrorists around the world stands as the top issue of this campaign. A flow of bad news from the war zone needs to be countered by a frank discussion of reality, he said. "They don't necessarily understand the full importance of our presence there," he said of his Finger Lakes and Southern Tier constituents.[15]

Preliminary results from the November election showed Kuhl narrowly beating Massa by a margin of approximately 5,600 votes (out of about 193,000 cast).[16] Massa had initially refused to concede the election and was expected to file a challenge, but on November 15, 2006 Massa conceded the election and contacted Kuhl to congratulate him.[17] According to the final election results, which were certified by the New York State Board of Elections on December 14, 2006, Kuhl won by a margin of 6,033 votes (out of 206,121 cast).[18]

2008 re-election campaign[edit]

Kuhl's again faced Democratic nominee and former Navy officer Eric Massa, losing the rematch by a narrow 51-49 margin, roughly reversing the outcome of the 2006 elections. Kuhl finished behind Massa in Cattaraugus County, a county Kuhl carried by a 56-44 margin in 2006 (and one that voted for Presidential candidate John McCain in 2008), likely contributing to the loss.[19] Because the race was so close, Kuhl did not concede the election until November 21, 2008.

Post-congressional career[edit]

Kuhl allowed his campaign Web site to expire, posted no updates on his social networking sites, and granted virtually no interviews after his concession.

In March 2010, after Massa announced he was dropping out of his re-election bid, Kuhl issued a statement, his first since conceding:

Tonight all of the 29th Congressional District will have Eric Massa and his family in their hearts and prayers. His reoccurrence of cancer is devastating and I wish him a full recovery. I know firsthand that Eric is a fighter and I have full confidence that he will beat cancer once again. I have received numerous calls and emails today regarding my political future and I truly appreciate all of those who believed in me and supported me during my 28 years of public service. I will address any political decisions in the future but right now it is important for Eric to get the treatment that he needs to recover.[20]

Since that time, Kuhl has become more public and has been issuing more public statements and granting interviews to local radio station WLEA, primarily about the Massa situation. He was considering entering the special election for the vacant seat, but passed on it, endorsing former Corning mayor Tom Reed.


Randy Kuhl graduated from Hammondsport Central School, and earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Union College (1966). In 1969 he received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law. He successfully ran for the New York State Assembly in 1980, the New York State Senate in 1986, and the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 until 2008. Kuhl has been named to the Hammondsport Central School District Wall of Fame for lifetime achievement, notably his election twice to Congress.[21]


Randy Kuhl currently lives in Hammondsport; he is the father of three sons and is divorced. His son, James Kuhl, has been mentioned as a potential political candidate in his own right, as a potential successor to James Bacalles in the New York State Assembly.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Meet the Freshmen of the House of Representatives", BIPAC, November 2004. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c Tierney, John (1999-05-24) The Big City; The Moochers From Upstate? Cut 'Em Loose, New York Times
  4. ^ "Candidate Biography: Randy Kuhl (R)*". Fox News Channel. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
  5. ^ Crestia DeGeorge, "The race for Amo Houghton's seat", Rochester City News (weekly)
  6. ^ American Conservative Union ratings of New York state members of Congress Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ KUHL REINTRODUCES GAS PRICE RELIEF BILL Archived 2007-05-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ KUHL TO GATES: END THE “STOP-LOSS” PROGRAM Archived 2007-01-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ KUHL ASKS DOD TO REVIEW DEPENDENTS POLICY Archived 2007-03-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  11. ^ Milton, Pat. New York to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers' licenses. Associated Press. 22 September 2007.
  12. ^ Miller, Rick. Kuhl battered for voting against SCHIP. Olean Times Herald. 15 October 2007.
  13. ^ "The Big City; The Moochers From Upstate? Cut 'Em Loose", John Tierney, The New York Times, May 24, 1999
  14. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll681.xml
  15. ^ Robert J. McCarthy, "Cheney beats war drums stumping for Kuhl", Buffalo News, September 23, 2006
  16. ^ Election results from "CBS News" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine., November 7, 2006
  17. ^ "Massa concedes, calls to congratulate Kuhl" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine., Elmira Star Gazette, November 15, 2006
  18. ^ NYS Board of Elections Results
  19. ^ Unofficial election results Archived 2008-10-31 at the Wayback Machine. from the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections
  20. ^ "Seat Up For Grabs – post-journal.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information – Jamestown". Post-Journal. 2010-03-04. Archived from the original on 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  21. ^ http://www.hammondsportcsd.org/Page/400

External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Charles D. Henderson
New York State Assembly
127th District

Succeeded by
Donald R. Davidsen
New York State Senate
Preceded by
William T. Smith
New York State Senate
52nd District

Succeeded by
Thomas W. Libous
Preceded by
Michael F. Nozzolio
New York State Senate
53rd District

Succeeded by
George H. Winner, Jr.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Amo Houghton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Eric Massa