Third-party congressional candidate Jack Davis says he will caucus with the GOP should he win the May 24 special election to fill the vacancy in the 26th District.
"I think I'm closer to the Republicans," he said this week when asked with which party he would ally.
His acknowledgment means that for purposes of votes in the House of Representatives, two Republicans are running in the election. That tally includes Jane L. Corwin, the Clarence assemblywoman also competing as a Republican. They are both running against Democrat Kathleen C. Hochul, the Erie County clerk.
Davis was a lifelong Republican until a 2003 fundraiser in Buffalo featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney. His experience in being denied an opportunity to speak with Cheney about his opposition to free trade policies prompted him to switch to the Democratic Party and launch three congressional runs -- in 2004, 2006 and 2008 -- for the seat held by former Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, all as a Democrat.
But Davis switched back to the GOP after losing the 2008 Democratic congressional primary to attorney Alice J. Kryzan, and was a major donor to local Republicans until he was denied the congressional nomination earlier this year. He then launched a petition drive for an independent line and is now the official candidate of the tea party.
He said this week he will join the tea party caucus, which represents mostly Republican members of Congress who sympathize with the tea party movement devoted to major cuts in spending. He also said he will seek to start a Save Jobs Caucus under the name he used for a minor party line (Save Jobs Party) in a previous campaign.
But until he was asked where he would caucus, Davis said this week he did not know for whom he would vote as speaker.
"I haven't even thought about that," he said.
But he also indicated he feels much more comfortable with Republicans, who he said advocate less government and reduced spending.
Most political observers are still uncertain as to where Davis will draw votes. Some say he could hurt Democrat Hochul because he ran for the seat three times as a Democrat. Others say he could hurt Republican Corwin by drawing those votes now that he has indicated he will caucus with the GOP.