"There were many variables that I considered, including continuing my rewarding work on behalf of the people of the 118th River District as well as the upcoming birth of my second child," Russell said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing to work in the Assembly on the many projects in which I am currently involved, and with Senator Aubertine on the critical issues facing our region."
Russell follows Aubertine out of the race. Sources indicated that one of the largest determining factors was personal: she is due to give birth within a month. A special election for the seat is expected within that time frame.
That leaves an increasingly sparse Democratic bench: There's Dan French, a former U.S. Attorney; John Sullivan, the former mayor of Oswego; Stuart Brody, the former chairman of the Democratic Rural Conference; Bill Owens, a businessman from Plattsburgh; Andrew Bisselle, who failed to secure the Republican nomination and Brian McGrath, a Manhattan attorney. McGrath has hired the D.C.-based polling firm of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner and has committed to spending a large amount of his own money in the race.
A conference call among the 11 Democratic county chairs comprising the district–as well as outgoing State Chairwoman June O'Neill–will take place tonight. Democratic sources said they expect the chairs to schedule interviews with candidates who have expressed interest. No decision about the party's candidate is expected until August 10.