Mysterious Skoufis switch-a-roo; lawmaker drops state Senate bid and announces intention to defend Assembly seat

After building up to a campaign for Senate the past year, Skoufis has suddenly decided to run for Assembly instead. He made his announcement shortly after longtime incumbent Bill Larkin, 88-years-old, announced he's seeking yet another term in office.
After building up to a campaign for Senate over the past year, Assemblyman James Skoufis (D) has suddenly decided to run to keep his Assembly seat instead. He made his announcement shortly after incumbent 88-year-old Senator Bill Larkin (R) announced he’s seeking yet another term in office

New York Assemblyman James Skoufis surprised the Rockland and Orange political community on Tuesday, announcing that he’s suspended his campaign for state Senate and instead decided to run for another term in the state Assembly.

His only announced opponent for Assembly thus far is Republican Colin Schmitt, who as a 2012 candidate for the same seat nearly upended the party establishment in a heated primary verse establishment choice Kyle Roddey, then mayor of Goshen.

Roddey would ultimately lose to Skoufis.

Skoufis is 28-years-old and Schmitt is 25-years-old. Either would likely be the youngest lawmaker in the state Legislative branch come 2017.

Skoufis explained his decision to pull the switch in a rambling press release.

He said, “I’ve spent the last number of months speaking with family, friends, and supporters regarding a potential run for state Senate this year. There’s little doubt in my mind that fresh ideas are needed in a Senate where tax cuts are pushed for millionaires at the expense of the middle-class, education dollars flow to New York City special interests, and real ethics reform like closing the LLC campaign finance loophole continues to be blocked.

“While I believe the potential race would’ve been winnable, I’ve decided it is simply not my time to run for the Senate this year. This was a difficult decision to come to and I know it will be met with disappointment among some of my supporters. I take Senator Larkin at his word that he is running for re-election this year. With his formal announcement, any attempt to short-circuit the petition process with a vacancy committee will fly in the face of democracy and, I believe, be met with public outrage.

“Most important to my decision is the progress that has been made in the Assembly district I’ve proudly represented over the last four years,” the press release stated, before boasting of a dozen or so accomplishments.

The release concluded, “For so many years we were ignored in Albany – I cannot and will not allow the progress to stall or reverse itself, which is why I intend to run for re-election to the Assembly. I will be making a more formal announcement on this in the weeks ahead.

“I truly and sincerely thank everyone who encouraged me to consider a Senate run over the past year. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Democrats, Republicans, and independents as we fight to make the Hudson Valley a better, more affordable place to live and work.”

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