Race For 26th District

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM EDT

By WKBW News

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Since the shirtless photo of former congressman Chris Lee was made public just over a month ago, followed by his swift resignation, the political landscape in Western New York has been upended.

Chris Lee resigned, leaving the 26th congressional seat vacant. That has forced a special election that Governor Cuomo has scheduled for May 24th.

The first party out of the gate with a candidate was the GOP who unanimously nominated NY State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who has since picked up endorsements from the Conservative and Independence parties.

Jane told Eyewitness News, "At this point, I'm not really focused on opponents or who is out there. I'm focusing on getting out to people in the district and talking to people about issues that matter to them."

Businessman Jack Davis failed to win the GOP endorsement, but he is still throwing his hat into the ring...even though he is not on the ballot.

Davis is currently in the process of gathering 3,500 signatures so he can possibly run on the Tea Party line.

"The petition is going very well. It's exceeded my expectations. For awhile there, the first couple of days I was worried, but now I sleep well at night knowing I will be on the ballot," a confident Davis told Eyewitness News.

David Bellavia, an Iraq War vet, is also gathering petitions so he can appear on yet another minor party line.

Corwin, who was endorsed Thursday by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, says she isn't concerned about third party candidates eating into the sizable Republican base in the district.

"Seriously, I'm really not worrying about that at all. I'm not considering that," Corwin stated at the Partnership endorsement event.

The Democrats have yet to announce a candidate, but all the signs seem to be pointing towards Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul.

Last week, Hochul filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, allowing her to raise money for the special election.

Hochul, however, has not yet officially announced that she is running.