"Well I'm shocked to be honest with you," said Paul Ferrari, a resident of West Chazy.
Shocked is how most are reacting to Congressman Bill Owens' announcement Tuesday that he's not running for re-election.
"This is really a question of evaluating spending more time with my family and determining if this is the right time for me to move in this direction," Owens told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Martin Mannix of the Clinton County Democrats -- and the other county chairs -- are getting ready to see who their new nominee will be. "We will give people plenty of opportunity to come forward and make known their aspirations -- we'll give them opportunities to be heard," Mannix said. He says there's a likelihood of a Democratic primary, but hopes there isn't one. "(Prefer to avoid that if we could, in part because it's an expense," he said.
After several conversations with his family over the holidays, Owens says he decided to call it quits. He says he will spend the remainder of his term continuing to fight for the policies he believes in. "My intention is to continue to work to bring jobs and economic development to the North country. That will continue to be my primary goal," Owens said.
Congressman Owens' decision not to run again was met by disappointment from some people in the North Country. "(He) had the interest of northern New York at hand down in Washington -- disappointed. It's taken a long time for a Democrat to get elected," Paul Ferrari said.
Some say Owens was just getting started in Washington and it's unfortunate he's leaving so soon. "He was just getting traction at the house and he was getting on some good subcommittees and stuff. Sad to see someone with the experience he has leave," said Jason Ormsby of Plattsburgh.
Republicans look at the opening as an opportunity. Elise Stefanik, one of the candidates already in the race released a statement saying: "We are in a great position to win this seat back and bring new ideas and new leadership to the 21st Congressional District."
But Mannix remains optimistic that another Democratic congressman will be elected this November after Owen's success. "He's opened the door, and that door can stay open," he said.
Owens says his reasoning not to run has nothing to do with his health, scandals, or being afraid to lose the next election.