Senate Recesses Without Acting on McHugh

ALBANY—The U.S. Senate has recessed without acting on the nomination of Representative John McHugh as secretary of the Army, meaning his confirmation by that body likely won’t come before September.

McHugh, who earlier cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee, was expected to be confirmed by the full chamber, and according to Senate sources the nomination was planned to be taken up this week. But McHugh’s nomination was held up by two Kansas senators concerned about Barack Obama’s closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

So, no confirmation. And no confirmation means no resignation, which means a special election for McHugh’s House seat cannot be called or held. The Senate is not scheduled to return to session until September 8.

According to sources, David Paterson had planned to call a special election in the district for the same day as either the primary or general elections. Paterson just called a special election for a vacant Assembly seat on primary day (September 15), but even if McHugh were confirmed immediately in early September, a proclamation could not be issued with sufficient lead time to place another name on the ballot in the North Country on primary day.

Calling the special election also starts the official process for designating candidates, but it hasn’t stopped them from moving anyway. Republicans have informally settled on Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava; Democrats will meet Monday to interview and announce a candidate. Conservatives met today, and are expected to designate Doug Hoffman as their candidate.

Senate Recesses Without Acting on McHugh