Seward says he won't run for Congress in 2016, ending months of speculation

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The state senator representing the Cortland area announced Sunday he will not seek an open congressional seat in 2016.

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In a statement released Sunday, Sen. James Seward, a Republican, dispelled rumors that he would leave his longtime post in New York politics for a shot at Congress.

Seward hinted at a potential run in January after U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, whose congressional district covers portions of Seward's state senate district, announced he would not seek re-election in 2016.

I was extremely humbled and proud to receive the Statesman Award from JM McDonald Sports Complex. It has been my pleasure to lend support and help this terrific multi-purpose complex grow over the past decade. My thanks to the people who operate this true asset to the Cortland community, they are the real award winners.

Seward receiving the Statesman Award from the JM McDonald Sports Complex in July (photo courtesy of Seward's Facebook page)

Seward says he was "extremely gratified" by the pledges of support he received encouraging him to run for the congressional ticket.

“While serving in Washington D.C. would allow me to address a number of important issues facing our region, I feel that at this time my standing as a senior member of the New York State senate majority enables me to better serve my district," Seward said. "Therefore, I intend to continue to use my seniority, leadership position, and experience in the state senate to focus on the needs and concerns of the people of my district and will not be a candidate for congress in 2016. This is how I can be of optimal service to our area."

Seward added that he expects the 19th congressional seat will remain in Republican control, regardless of who runs for the post.

Elected to the state senate in 1987, Seward represents the 51st senate district, which includes Cortland, Greene, Herkimer, Otsego and Schoharie counties, as well as portions of Tompkins and Chenango counties.

While the 19th congressional district covers some of Seward's senate district, it does not include Cortland County, which is represented by Rep. Richard Hanna in the 22nd congressional district.

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