By Sam Foster
Via Olean Times
Does anyone else find Matt Zeller's story regarding his election bid, weird?
Normally, I wouldn't delve into something as mundane as a candidate's motivation to run for congress, that's what the campaigning process is all about and quite honestly the value of one's ideas should always outweigh their location of residence. However, Matt Zeller's story for how he came to Victor to run for NY's 29th congressional district is so full of strange nuances that, I couldn't let it go without mention.
Matt Zeller was out campaigning the other night in Olean looking for donations. He gave the following explanation for his arrival immediately following Eric Massa's resignation:
A visit to the district last fall to thank his aunt and her friends for knitting hats he and members of his unit handed out to Afghan children, he saw evidence of businesses that were closing and lost jobs. Besides getting homesick for Western New York, he started thinking about how he could "help put folks back to work."
After talking about doing something for months with his fiancée and friends, he finally decided to move back home to Victor in Monroe County to try to make a difference. He wasn't sure what he would do.
"As fate would have it, Eric Massa resigned that day," he said.
Mr. Massa was elected to represent the 29th Congressional District in November 2008. He resigned his seat March 8 over reports of health and allegations of sexual harassment involving a male aide.
Mr. Zeller, 28, convinced a majority of the Democratic chairmen in the eight-county congressional district that he would make the best candidate in the special election. Republicans had earlier chosen former Corning Mayor Tom Reed to run for the seat.
Here is the standard mold for a local politician;
1. Politician grew up in the area
2. Or at least moved to the area for sometime before
3. They decide to run for office
4. And often, they've held a previous office.
Not so with Matt Zeller. Although he grew up in the area, he really hasn't lived here in over ten years. I have no doubt that a run for NY's 29th congressional district was his reason for moving back, but was his motivation solely a matter of heartfelt homesickness?
In an interview he did for the Brighton Pittsford Post. A number of oddities emerge. Zeller had been working in the Department of Defense for the CIA in Washington DC immediately before his move. In case you forget, DC is where all those national politicians meet. After being forced to resign due to his run for office, he takes residence not at his aunt and uncle's residence, but at the Monroe County Democrat Committee headquarters. Within a short time Zeller convinced the Democrat County Chairmen, to nominate him for the special election of which these chairmen supposedly had never heard of Matt Zeller. The Mr. Zeller went straight to work parroting every single Democrat talking point from no drilling, to imaginary green jobs, to a two-state solution for Israel, with no divergence from the party line.
Matt Zeller calls it fate and it may even be the true, but I call it weird.