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|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th district
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Amo Houghton|
|Succeeded by||Eric Massa|
|Member of the New York Senate
from the 52nd, later the 53rd district
January 1, 1987 – December 31, 2004
|Preceded by||William T. Smith|
|Succeeded by||George H. Winner, Jr.|
|Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 127th district
January 1, 1981 – December 31, 1986
|Preceded by||Charles D. Henderson|
|Succeeded by||Donald R. Davidsen|
|Born||John R. Kuhl, Jr.
April 19, 1943
Bath, New York
|Residence||Hammondsport, New York|
|Alma mater||Union College
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.
Early life and education
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.
New York legislature
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. 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. 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." 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?'"
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.
House of Representatives
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, 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.
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. 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.
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"  and addressed the issue of families in which both parents serve in the military.
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. 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.
He voted for the Bailout bill on October 3, after voting against it the first time.
- 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
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.
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). 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. 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).
2008 re-election campaign
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. Because the race was so close, Kuhl did not concede the election until November 21, 2008.
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."
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.
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.
- [dead link]
- "Meet the Freshmen of the House of Representatives", BIPAC, November 2004. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
- Tierney, John (1999-05-24) The Big City; The Moochers From Upstate? Cut 'Em Loose, New York Times
- "Candidate Biography: Randy Kuhl (R)*". Fox News Channel. Retrieved 2009-06-26.[dead link]
- Crestia DeGeorge, "The race for Amo Houghton's seat", Rochester City News (weekly)
- American Conservative Union ratings of New York state members of Congress
- KUHL REINTRODUCES GAS PRICE RELIEF BILL
- KUHL TO GATES: END THE “STOP-LOSS” PROGRAM
- KUHL ASKS DOD TO REVIEW DEPENDENTS POLICY
- Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
- Milton, Pat. New York to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers' licenses. Associated Press. 22 September 2007.
- Miller, Rick. Kuhl battered for voting against SCHIP. Olean Times Herald. 15 October 2007.
- "The Big City; The Moochers From Upstate? Cut 'Em Loose", John Tierney, The New York Times, May 24, 1999
- Robert J. McCarthy, "Cheney beats war drums stumping for Kuhl", Buffalo News, September 23, 2006
- Election results from "CBS News", November 7, 2006
- "Massa concedes, calls to congratulate Kuhl", Elmira Star Gazette, November 15, 2006
- NYS Board of Elections Results
- Unofficial election results from the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections
- "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.
- United States Congress. "Randy Kuhl (id: K000364)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Congressman Randy Kuhl official campaign site
- Federal Election Commission – John Kuhl campaign finance reports and data
- On the Issues – Randy Kuhl issue positions and quotes
- OpenSecrets.org – John R. Kuhl Jr campaign contributions
- Project Vote Smart – Representative John R. 'Randy' Kuhl Jr. (NY) profile
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Washington Post – Congress Votes Database: Randy Kuhl voting record
|New York Assembly|
Charles D. Henderson
|New York State Assembly
Donald R. Davidsen
|New York State Senate|
William T. Smith
|New York State Senate
Thomas W. Libous
Michael F. Nozzolio
|New York State Senate
George H. Winner, Jr.
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district