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Former assistant AG in Watertown, Oswego mayor Sullivan may run for Congress


A former Oswego mayor and assistant state attorney general in Watertown said Wednesday evening that he is weighing a run for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat.

John T. Sullivan Jr., Saratoga Springs, said he has fielded about a dozen calls since Tuesday from people encouraging him to seek the seat that will be up for grabs in November after Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, announced he would not seek re-election.

“I’m certainly going to weigh the pros and cons and the options and see who is serious,” said Mr. Sullivan, a Democrat. “If I think I have the energy enough and can generate enough support to carry this through, I’m going to do it.”

Mr. Sullivan was a finalist among Democratic candidates to run for the then-23rd Congressional District seat in 2010 before the party chose Mr. Owens. He was executive chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1995 to 1998, playing a large role in the creation of Democratic Rural Conference. He served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Watertown office from 2003 to 2007, leaving to accept a position as deputy inspector general and counsel for legislative matters with the state Medicaid inspector general’s office, relocating to the Albany area.

He retired from state service and taught government at three Midwestern universities before returning to Saratoga, where he still performs some legal work and pens newspaper columns, most recently appearing in Wednesday’s New York Post.

“I have spent the better part of my life striving for, working for and improving the lives of people in the north country,” he said.

Saying he is a “Harry Truman Democrat who can relate to Rockefeller Republicans,” Mr. Sullivan said he would run a grass-roots campaign, eschewing large corporate or large union donations.

Mr. Sullivan currently lives just outside the 21st Congressional District, but said he’d “literally have to move five blocks” to be within it and would move into the district should he win the seat.

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