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House: Upstate New York Republican to Retire

Twelve-term Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) announced his retirement from Congress this afternoon, a decision that should set off a competitive race to replace him this November.

Boehlert's decision comes as little surprise, as he has long been rumored to be considering a departure from the House. Democrats are hoping to coalesce around Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri, but he may not have the September primary field to himself. Republicans are also likely to have a primary for their nomination, with state Sen. Raymond Meier the leading name in the immediate aftermath of Boehlert's decision.

The 24th District, which includes the towns of Utica and Rome (both of which are in Oneida County), should be competitive between the two parties. President George W. Bush won it with 53 percent in 2004; prior to the 2001 redistricting, Al Gore carried it narrowly over Bush in 2000.

Boehlert is the 26th member of the 109th Congress to announce his retirement. Seventeen are Republicans compared to nine Democrats. At a press briefing Thursday, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) said he wanted "members to stay put and enjoy a Republican majority." Reynolds added, however, that he "expects a couple more" retirements before November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 17, 2006; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Don't people like Laura take any lesson from the fact that roughly twice as many Republican House members have announced their retirements this year as compared to Democrats? Why do you think that is? Sure, part of it is Republicans' short-sighted six year term limits on committee chairs, but they also realize their party is in trouble and in serious jeopardy of losing its majority. 17 open Republican seats so far, and even the NRSC chair admits more are coming. Chris reworked his top 10 lists to focus on the premise that open seats are the ones that most commonly change parties. Wake up and smell the frustration; the times they are a-changin.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 18, 2006 2:30 AM | Report abuse


Tom Delay is one man, you are correct. However, Abramoff is another, Ney is another, Cunningham is another, Taft is another. I could go on if I really needed to.

Bush's approval ratings are on the rocks. Congress's approval rating is on the rocks.
The public would prefer a Democratic controlled Congress after the elections.

The Republicans are in trouble. Can things change? Yes, will the Republicans lose their majority? Not necessarily but it is possible.

Posted by: Rob Millette | March 17, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats can tie together Vietnam and Iraq, pinning the blame for both of them on the GOP and making a connection between Nixon and Bush (I'm agreeing with and building upon what Tabb Khan wrote), then they can make this a national election and create the tidal wave effect they need in November.

But the Democrats have to frame the debate, tell the American people what they would do (not just on Iraq but on the culture of corruption in Washington, on health care, on prescription drugs, on the failing corporate pension plans, on the $9 TRILLION federal DEBT, etc.).

It's not enough to say the GOP is sending the country to hell in a handbasket. The Democrats need to say why their solutions make sense.

Posted by: NoVA Dem | March 17, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Laura wrote: "The Dems seem to forget they lost 73 seats in 1994, and they had the Hillarycare fiasco as part of it."

No, the Dems lost 52 -- not 73.

The Republican Party is now flagged, tagged and soon to be bagged as the Party of Corruption and Failed Wars. Bad enough the GOP lost Vietnam, now they've lost Iraq. The American voter has had quite sufficient of this failed Party and its incompetent so-called "president," Little Boots Bush.

Posted by: Tabb Khan | March 17, 2006 8:02 PM | Report abuse

We'll see who the candidates are. There are some good Republican State Senators in that district who have a very good chance of holding this seat.

Posted by: Silent Cal | March 17, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The Dems seem to forget they lost 73 seats in 1994, and they had the Hillarycare fiasco as part of it. DeLay is one man, just like Dan Rostenkowski was one man, (he went to prison after he lost in 1994) and I doubt the voters are going to boot OUT their own members of Congress just for one Republican. "Q" might like to see each party only staying in power for 10 years, but it is the people who will be deciding which party stays or leaves. The voter anger of 1994 included the House Banking scandals and numerous resignations from the Clinton Adminstration. Worry? The Dems have to have an increase of 15 more seats overall than they have now, and there are not that many vulnerable GOP seats. All this talk in the media recently of 1994 inspired me to look at the archives and see how many Dems left office and those open seats went to GOP leaders with the Contract with America. One of the issues was self-term limits, and over 20 Republicans did in fact leave Congress; to either retire completely, or run for higher office (Senate or Governor). Sanford of S Carolina was out of office for a couple of years before he ran for Governor, so he is one example and Tillie Fowler of Florida is another.

Posted by: Laura | March 17, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The differance between 2000 and 2004 aside from political realignment is that 9/11 and the support of the president durning war ,as the war on terrorism was viewed as such ,held presidence over doubt to a seeming majority of 53% in the upstate areas of New York ,befor the esclation of the war in Vietnam many people in up state or western New York also thought that the war in Vietnam was about a freedom fight and democracy ,communinst spreading communism ,as serious threat to our freedoms,in fact with a world war 2 patriotic flar, you must defend our country,it,s your duty.In those days false military reports about the war goings on were being slipped pased the president, and Johnson inturn slipped those lies past the american people.Those lies ended up costing L.B.J. a great deal to his personal integrity and caused a tremendous amount of stress within the populas.I dare say than came Nixon.There is indeed a time line here that travels back to the Nixon adminstration at the time of the oil imbargo 1973.74.and so on to current.Declassified Brittish intelligence reports dating back to the oil imbargo support the fact that war was brewing in the middle east at the secound term of Nixons adminstration.Since 2004 much has come out about this so called war on terrorism.And the republican party is splitting over it,s support of this adminstration. The people will prepare to speak in the 2006 elections.After the people have spoken ,than we shall see in both houses in just what direction those chips will fall.In sports the younger ball players sit back and say little as the older more mature players stage the direction at all risk.And as the saying goes it aint over till it,s over.George Bush is not sitting fancy free right now.

Posted by: Deskjet | March 17, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

That seat will get picked up by the Democrats. Isn't it time for Tom Reynolds to remind us that "congressional elections are decided on local issues not national issues" and that "we may lose seats, but we'll keep our majority." If you want to know why the Republicans are in so much trouble, it's because of what Tom DeLay called the "permanent majority." DeLay believed that the Republican majority was so entrenched that there would be no way to lose it. Therefore, he could push a very right-wing agenda through Congress and never have to worry about a voter backlash. No matter how much they screwed up, there was no reason to worry. Why worry when you have a permanent majority. Well, now DeLay is on the verge of losing re-election and his party is on the verge of losing Congress. The Democrats once believed they had a permanent majority. They defied public opinion for years and paid hardly any price and then they were suddenly thrown out of office. It's probably for the best that neither party keep Congress for more than a decade at a time, lest they think they have a "permanent majority."

Posted by: Q | March 17, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

That's a huge loss for the Republicans. In the current political environment his district will probably flip to the Democrats.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 17, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

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