April 29, 2012

22nd District Congressional Race Heats Up

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The fight for New York’s newly-redrawn 22nd Congressional District is starting to take shape, with a Democrat and two conservatives set to face off against incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.).

Democrat Dan Lamb, a longtime aide to Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), has filed a petition with the state Board of Elections to compete against Hanna, according to The Ithaca Journal. Hinchey currently represents the 22nd District, but is not seeking reelection.

Additionally, Michael Kicinski, an unemployed electrical engineer and founding member of Norwich Tea Party Patriots, is challenging Hanna for the Republican nomination. Julie Miller, a Utica resident, is seeking to compete with Hanna for the Conservative Party’s nomination, The Journal reported.

Hanna currently represents the state’s 24th District, which includes much of central New York, including Cortland and parts of Tompkins County. However, he decided to run in the 22nd District after the state’s political boundaries were shifted during this year’s redistricting process. The new district, anchored by Binghampton and Utica, stretches across parts of eight counties from the Pennsylvania border to Lake Ontario.

While the 22nd District currently encompasses Ithaca and much of Tompkins County, the city will now be part of the 23rd District, which stretches from the Broome-Tioga county border and extends to the westernmost portion of the state in Chautauqua County. Attorneys Melissa Dobson and Leslie Danks Burke, along with Tompkins County Legislator Nate Shinagawa, are vying for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Rep. Thomas Reed (R-N.Y.), The Sun reported on April 17.

While the district has long been represented in Congress by Democrats, it now leans slightly to the right due to its new boundaries. Of the 404,901 registered voters in the district, 165,909 are registered Republicans and 132,074 are Democrats, according to The Journal.

Still, Lamb said he was confident that a Democrat could win the seat in the November election, noting that President Barack Obama carried the area in 2008. Half of the district is also currently represented by either Hinchey or Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.).

“This is a district that has a history of electing Democrats,” Lamb said, “and I expect to build on that history.”

So far, Hanna has maintained a considerable fundraising advantage over Lamb, raising $599,102 between Jan. 1 and March 31 to Lamb’s $46,364. As of March 31, Lamb had $44,990 cash on hand and Hanna had $353,070, according to the Federal Election Commission.

However, Lamb said that the long redistricting process meant he has not had much time to raise money for his campaign.

“We only got this district on March 20,” Lamb said, “and for us to raise what we did is pretty impressive in that short amount of time — given that I haven’t been able to tell people where I’m running or whether there would be a primary, or any number of variables that impact fundraising.”

Original Author: David Marten