ALBANY, N.Y. – Upstate New York lawmakers could face-off in two battles of incumbents in opposing parties if a federal plan for redistricting congressional lines is approved.
Republican Sherwood Boehlert could meet Democrat Maurice Hinchey in east central New York and Republican Jack Quinn would go head to head with Democrat John LaFalce in the Buffalo area if the plan by Frederick Lacey goes through, said State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Lacey, a former federal court judge, was appointed by a federal court panel in Manhattan to reach a solution on congressional redistricting if the state Legislature and Gov. George Pataki can't agree on their own plan.
State lawmakers are hesitant to eliminate two sitting congressmen, but have no choice since the state must shrink their delegation. Congressional lawmakers have tried to avoid facing the ax by lobbying the Legislature and Pataki through campaign contributions.
Republican Bruno, who said he doesn't know how "realistic or reasonable" the Lacey proposal is, said he hated to see Boehlert and Quinn forced to fight for their seats against entrenched Democrats. That said, the Lacey solution may have the benefit of getting the Legislature and governor to meet the deadline for agreeing on their own redistricting plan.
"Some way or other we've got to resolve our differences and get on with our lives because we're already in the political season," Bruno told radio station WROW-AM in Albany. "If people don't know what their lines are we're going to have a problem creating an orderly election."
The new lines must be in effect for the Sept. 10 primary election and the Nov. 5 general election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.