Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Help wanted


Since becoming an Internet phenomenon in the mid-1990s, Craigslist has offered virtually anything that could be bought, sold or bartered.

From apartments for rent to numerous items of merchandise and job openings, this classified ad website has it all. And for those daring enough to engage in online flings, Craigslist has personal ads offering — let’s say — a variety of social arrangements.

But some local political activists recently used Craigslist for something truly unique. They are attempting to recruit a candidate to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Their ad read:

“The Economic Populist for Congress in NY 21 ad-hoc Committee is seeking a dedicated, honest candidate to support for the 2014 election as representative to Congress in New York’s 21st District. Applicants should live in the 21st Congressional District or be willing to relocate, be at least 25 years of age with demonstrated ability and commitment to represent the 99% of Americans who can’t buy political influence, and not be beholden to Wall Street and the richest 1%. We are seeking a candidate dedicated to: ending economic inequality and income disparity; protecting and expanding Social Security; allowing students financial consideration equal to that enjoyed by banks; restoring public schools to a state of health; ensuring that corporations and the rich pay a fair share of taxes; reinstituting financial regulation; getting the corruption of money out of politics; ending poverty and in the interim demonstrate a willingness to assist the poor.”

Hey, why not? If you can find someone competent enough to run your office through Craigslist, you should be able to identify someone qualified enough to run your congressional district.

This campaign resulted from last month’s news that U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-21st District, of Plattsburgh will not seek re-election this year. Mr. Owens was first elected in late 2009 and won re-election in both 2010 and 2012.

Mr. Owens’s decision to retire from the House changed the dynamic of this contest. Some high-profile Democrats and Republicans have declined to enter the race, leaving it open to lesser-known individuals.

Elise M. Stefanik of Willsboro, who announced her candidacy last year, was recently endorsed for the Republican nomination for this race by GOP county committees in the 21st District. And Democratic committeemen have thrown their support behind Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker who owns a grocery store in Brooklyn.

Whether this Economic Populist committee will find a suitable candidate is anyone’s guess. Members said their role models include U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as well as Pope Francis. The chaos that is American politics has compelled many people to try some far-fetched ideas. But then again, something remains far-fetched only up until the time it works.

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