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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye, Maurice; goodbye, 22nd District

Take a good look at New York's 22nd Congressional District in the map at right (click to enlarge). And then forget about it, because you can bet your bottom dollar that it won't be there come election time this fall.

With New York needing to eliminate two congressional districts this year, due to population shifts reflected in the 2010 Census, and with longtime Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who occupies the seat in the 22nd, announcing this week that he'll retire at year's end, getting rid of the district is a no-brainer.

My guess is it will chopped into three pieces and that each piece will be attached to an adjacent district.

I see it going down one of two ways:

1. The thin, L-shaped western arm of the district — the piece that includes Binghamton and Ithaca — gets absorbed into District 24, just above it; and the fat eastern part of the district — which includes Ulster and Sullivan counties and small parts of Orange in Dutchess — gets sliced horizontally, with the top half joining the 20th District and the bottom half joining the 19th.

2. The Binghamton-Ithaca part of the district still joins District 24; the top half of eastern 22 and the westernmost counties in District 20 are added to the 21st District, which includes Albany; and the bottom half of eastern 22, as in the scenario above, joins the 19th.

I could be wrong about the exact boundaries, but one thing is certain: New York's current 22nd Congressional District is a goner.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All about Iowa

If you're getting caught up in all the hype about the GOP's Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, consider this: John McCain, the Republican Party's eventual presidential nominee in 2008, came in a distant fourth in the Iowa caucuses that year, with barely one-third of the vote total of winner Mike Huckabee.

Also finishing ahead of McCain in Iowa that day: Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

Are the Iowa caucuses important? Sure. But will they foretell a party's nominee for the fall election? Maybe, maybe not.

The process of picking a major-party candidate to run for president is long and drawn out, and with good reason. To suggest that one day of caucuses in a single state 10 months before Election Day is the be-all and end-all is to completely misunderstand the process.