In a surprising announcement today, six-term Republican Rep. Jack Quinn (R-NY-27) announced that he was retiring from Congress. His retirement creates big headaches for national Republicans and a big opportunity for Democrats to pick up a GOP-held seat. Quinn’s solid hold on this Buffalo-based district belies its Democratic leanings. Not only did Gore win the district handily (53 percent to 41 percent), but our research shows that he represents the second most Democratic district of any Republican in the country (Rep. Rob Simmons has the distinction of representing the most Democratic district). President Bush took just 41 percent of the vote in Quinn’s district and got 40 percent of the vote in Simmons’ southeastern Connecticut district.

Quinn’s moderate voting record, and his good relationship with labor, helped him to withstand the harsh political climate of the district. Because Quinn’s announcement took the political community by surprise, both sides are likely to have fluid candidate fields for a while. Mentioned as possible Republican candidates are Quinn’s son Jack, an assistant district attorney for Erie County, and Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan.

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