One Less Opponent Looking to Unseat Gillibrand

Michael Bloomberg’s former aide Rich Wager, who was looking to unseat freshman Democratic Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, is out of the race.

Still in the primary race for the nomination to run against Gillibrand–in this Republican-leaning district upstate–are former state party chairman Sandy Treadwell, real estate broker John Wallace, and retired Army officer Mike Roque.

Here’s Wager’s full statement:

"I am enormously grateful to all those who have supported my candidacy for Congress. Your friendship and faith in my abilities alone have made this campaign worthwhile.

"I entered this race because I am disappointed in Washington and I am concerned about the direction in which our nation is headed. I also am fearful for New York. The Empire State is shrinking in population and influence, yet the tax load on our families and businesses continues to increase, with no relief in sight. I know we can do better.

"I had hoped to help to bring fundamental change to New York and to Washington by winning this election and joining with a growing number of legislators across the state and nation who are ready to put politics aside and begin accomplishing things on behalf of the American people.

"I also had hoped to help carry the mantle of a new and energetic generation of New York Republicans who believe in the principles of our Party and are willing to work, shoulder to shoulder, to advance them for years to come. I continue to harbor those hopes, but after speaking with my wife and family, I realize that the current Primary contest—which could have been avoided with a fair and open process—makes both objectives impossible to achieve. My staying in this race will only fracture support within our Party and delay the urgent goal of engaging the incumbent Democrat in meaningful debate. Replacing an ineffective representative is our common and principal goal. I am therefore respectfully withdrawing my candidacy for this seat today.

"I have not hidden my disappointment in the intra-Party selection process. But the failures of a few Republican leaders does not mean that the Party’s selection won’t be a strong one. All of the remaining candidates are solid Republicans, offering starkly different strengths. And I plan to fully support whomever this year’s Republican candidate is, while continuously striving to empower the true foundation of this Party, the individual Republican committee members.

"I am an ardent believer in our Republican philosophy, and I strongly believe that as New York Republicans we should refocus our energies on communicating an affirmative platform, emphasizing what we are for rather than against. Our reformist principles are the solutions to the challenges before this nation and the right medicine for a great state suffocating on government excess and stifling partisanship. We can either fundamentally change direction now or succumb to self-imposed failure. Going forward I hope to be a partner in this effort and a catalyst for the principled reforms so desperately needed in this state.”