Sullivan Not Running For Congress


Watertown's former Assistant Attorney General John Sullivan is not running for Congress.

The Democrat had been considering throwing his hat into the ring since Bill Owens announced he's not seeking re-election to the 21st Congressional District.

In a news release, Sullivan criticizes Democratic chairs for planning to select a candidate behind closed doors.

"A closed door top down selection process is the wrong way to go about candidate selection, and consequently, I have chosen not to participate in that process," he said.

Sullivan said the party chairs are scheduled to meet Wednesday to interview potential candidates and then make an endorsement.

Last Friday, Republican Party chairs endorsed Elise Stefanik to run on the GOP ticket.

Here's Sullivan's full statement:

Democratic chairs will gather tomorrow in Long Lake, NY to interview , behind closed doors, potential candidates for Congress, and then make an endorsement. This is what happened in 2009, except , since it was a special election, the decision of the chairs, which was greatly influenced by the DCCC and the White House, was final, as there was no opportunity for a primary. This time around it is different, as there can be a primary, and so selecting a candidate behind closed doors seems to me to be too insular a procedure, without openness and an opportunity for rank and file Democrats and other political activists to either be heard or to participate . Why not an open, District wide convention? That would spark media interest, and keep the manipulative forces at bay. There is still time to do that. They should let the sunlight in. It can be a powerful disinfectant.
A closed door top down selection process is the wrong way to go about candidate selection, and consequently, I have chosen not to participate in that process.

Our political and electoral system is broken. It is badly in need of repair. Without significant and fundamental reform, we are left with but an illusion of democracy which our forefathers would hardly recognize.

For me, the question has been , should I work to fix it? Is it fixable? And if so, how best do I go about it... From the inside out, or outside in? Could I succeed in getting elected to Congress with my integrity intact, or would I have to so prostitute my principles to achieve success in the electoral process that I would myself become part of the problem I have been seeking a solution for? If you are not The Lord of the manor, you are lorded over by the special interests. It is they who control the political process, and too often, the outcome.That is a sad, but true commentary on our system.
After three weeks of travel, deliberation and discussion with friends, family, and supporters, it is my conclusion that any real effort to reform the system on my part, should be directed from the outside in, and consequently, I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the 21st Congressional District.

For several years, I have owned the domain name " I think the time has come to launch that website and work toward promoting that goal, instead of becoming so caught up in the process of raising money myself to seek elective office, that I could lose sight of that very goal.

So I will continue to write, to speak, to teach, and to advocate governmental reform , unencumbered by the burden of being a candidate for public office myself. I thank those who expressed offers of support and encouragement for my potential candidacy, and I would encourage their continued involvement in supporting a progressive populist to replace outgoing Congressman Bill Owens.

In so doing, I would encourage our local Democratic leaders to open up the process instead of shrouding it in secrecy and closing the doors to public participation and scrutiny. That would be an important step in the right direction. Barring that,
to quote Yogi Berra. It seems to me that this is "déjà vu all over again" .

Friday, December 9, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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