Rep. Eric Massa is poised to announce this afternoon that he will not seek re-election in the 29th Congressional District this fall as planned, a Democratic source confirms.
The freshman congressman is going to make his announcement at 3 p.m., according to the source. It's unclear if that event is taking place in the district or in Wahsington, D.C. A call to Massa's spokesman has so far not been returned.
UPDATE: Massa's office says he will be speaking with the press on a "very important" conference call at 3:30 p.m. He's in Washington.
Massa is calling around the district to inform party leaders and supporters of his decision.
The source said he assumed that Massa's move is "health related," but said the congressman also gave him a rather nebulous warning that he would be "hearing things that aren't true."
Sources close to the congressman say there has been talk of an ethics investigation, but a staffer in Massa's district office contacted yesterday insisted he had no knowledge of that.
UPDATE2: Politico is reporting the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that Massa, who is married and has two children, sexually harassed a male staffer.
The former US Navy officer received a diagnosis of terminal cancer while serving as as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, during the Bosnian conflict, according to the bio on his Web site. He returned to the US to undergo treatment, survived and is "completely cured."
Massa was already on the DCCC's watch list and is facing a challenge in a difficult political year from Republican Tom Reed.
With Massa out of the race, sources in the district speculated that Reed might be pushed aside in favor of a stronger Republican candidate - perhaps Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, who has been mentioned as a potential LG running mate for Rick Lazio.
Massa was elected in 2008, ousting then-GOP Rep. Randy Kuhl, 51-49. It was Massa's second attempt at unseating Kuhl. He tried and failed in 2006, but came close, winning 49 percent of the vote.
This is shocking. With this move, this race is a Tossup. Your thoughts.