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Old 02-19-2008, 08:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Dan Humiston Announces Run For U.S. Congress in 27th Congressional District

Founder of Tanning Bed chain aglow with potential as challenger to Higgins

Is Daniel J. Humiston another Collins?

Updated: 02/19/08 8:09 AM

One thing you can say about this year’s challenger to Rep. Brian Higgins: He’s tanned, rested and ready — especially tanned.

Daniel J. Humiston, president and founder of the Tanning Bed chain, is expected to face the popular Democratic incumbent on the Republican line and possibly minor party lines, too.

Though his assignment is a tough one, party sources are smiling as broadly as the familiar Tanning Bed logo over the prospect of another wealthy businessman in the mode of County Executive Chris Collins facing a “career politician.”

“He’s been to Washington, he has a consultant, and he’s been to candidate school,” said a knowledgeable party source. “He’s ready to run a real campaign for Congress.”

The source also said Humiston will officially announce his candidacy soon. He is a member of the Independence Party but is not expected to encounter any difficulties in gaining the GOP endorsement.

It is known that Humiston, 44, is quietly building an organization and talking with leaders of several parties. He did not return a call seeking comment.

The new candidate lives at Admiral’s Walk on the Buffalo water-front. With a loan from his grandfather, he built his operation into a company with 34 outlets across New York State.

The company’s Web site says the Tanning Bed is the largest operator of tanning facilities in the United States, with as many as 50 beds in many of its outlets.

Though Higgins enjoys advantages of incumbency and party registration (207,740 Democrats to 122,198 Republicans in the 27th Congressional District), Humiston will provide far tougher competition than token opponent Michael J. McHale in 2006.

Humiston is expected to bring a substantial amount of his own dollars to the campaign and be able to tap into a fundraising network of close friends and business associates both locally and nationally.

In addition, Humiston starts in good shape with the top minor parties, Independence and Conservative, which often can prove important in a close election.

As an Independence member, he is automatically entitled to seek that line (after circulating designating petitions), while party leaders would have to endorse a candidate from another party and provide an authorization to run on the Independence line.

While Higgins has run with Independence backing in the past, some members of his political operation have encountered rocky relations with Erie County Independence Chairman Anthony L. Orsini over the last year.

Higgins also has run afoul of the Conservative Party in recent years, though the party often backed him in his races for the Assembly. In 2006, state Conservative Chairman Michael R. Long overruled local Conservative leaders and denied the party’s endorsement to Higgins because he supports late-term abortions. State Conservative leaders consider opposition to the procedure a prerequisite for support.

At the time, Higgins blamed his denial of the line on Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, and then-Gov. George E. Pataki, who both maintain strong ties to Long. He called the organization a “party in decline.”

While Long has not specifically addressed the Higgins situation this year, he has not espoused any change in his position on late-term abortions. .html
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