17 March, 2006

Upstate Congressional Seat Is Suddenly Up For Grabs

A congressional seat in New York is suddenly in play. Veteran Republican lawmaker Sherwood Boehlert, who represents the 24th district which includes Utica and Rome, announced today he would not seek re-election this fall. The retirement of the 24-year congressional veteran should touch off a competitive race in the fall, giving the Democrats a chance to pick up a House seat. The Washington Post's political blog, The Fix, offers a few thoughts about what might happen in the district. Congressional Quarterly, upon word of Boehlert's retirement, quickly put the district in its `no clear favorite' category.

Yesterday we told you about an American Research Group poll that indicated 48% of Americans favor censuring President Bush for his wiretapping program. Today, another poll and a different outcome. In a Rasmusen Reports survey, only 38% of those questioned said they thought Bush should be censured while 45% are opposed to the idea, promoted by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin. Senate Republicans tried to force an immediate vote on this issue when Feingold introduced it earlier this week, but Democrats argued they need time to digest the proposal (or perhaps check the political winds back home). John Spencer, the former mayor of Yonkers who hopes to beat Hillary Clinton out of her Senate seat this fall, is trying to make a little political hay of his own on the issue. In a press release Spencer accused Clinton of condemning Bush's wiretap program but not having the political will to take the step of supporting censure. "Senator Clinton - after condemning the President for `a secret program that spies on Americans' in a fundraising letter - lacks the intellectual integrity to support Feingold. Polls and personal ambition seem to come first and principal comes last, " Spencer said.

For what it's worth on this St. Patrick's Day, CQPolitics.com, the Congressional Quarterly's political Web site listed the most-Irish congressional districts in the country, the districts that had the highest percentage of people in the 2000 census list their ethnic background as Irish. Many are in New York, including New York's 19th, which covers parts of Rockland, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess counties as well as all of Putnam County.





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