ALBANY—Representative Eric Massa, in his first term representing the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, refused again this morning to endorse Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, or to utter any approving comment about how she's conducted herself on the job thus far.
"I'm not even going to go there," Massa told reporters on his weekly conference call. "I have not looked at anything she's done. I have been so focused on what I'm trying to do for the people of this district, that frankly I find it terribly unnecessary and frankly a waste of time to be focusing on somebody else's Senate race."
Massa noted that "there's also some 14 members of the delegation who haven't and who won't, including the senior senator from the State of New York" explicitly endorsed Gillibrand. (While Chuck Schumer has not explicitly endorsed Gillibrand, he has been giving her political cover and protection.)
While he was running for his current seat, Massa worked closely with Representative Steve Israel, who coordinated the efforts of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in New York. Israel had planned a run against Gillibrand, but backed out last week under pressure from the White House.
After that, some of Massa's Democratic colleagues in New York's House delegation endorsed Gillibrand. By remaining silent, Massa seems to be positioning himself on the side of the others. I asked Massa about his own hesitation in the light of actions from several colleagues.
"A senator's election does not revolve around the endorsement of members of Congress," he said. "I'm not a party-line person, and frankly, that's where I'm at. I'm much more focused on my district, period."