Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New York 24: Boehlert (R) Retirement Only a Small Opportunity

By Stuart Rothenberg

Another Republican retirement. Another Republican open seat.

But while Democratic strategists will try to make Congressman Sherwood "Sherry" Boehlert's retirement into an opportunity for a takeover, the Upstate New York district is likely to remain in GOP hands in November.

State Sen. Ray Meier (R) has decided to run for Boehlert's seat, and while a crowded GOP primary is possible, the party establishment is already rallying behind Meier. State Senator Jim Seward, who also represents parts of Boehlert's Congressional district, has signaled to friends that he is yielding to Meier.

Boehlert’s district went for George W. Bush by 52% in 2004. That’s not an overwhelming number, but then again Bush was not exactly popular in the Northeast.

The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination has been Oneida County District Attorney Mike Arcuri. Now that the seat is open, however, other Democrats may look.

Meier's candidacy means the Republicans will field a candidate who is at least as strong as Boehlert, who always had a problem solidifying the Republican base. Democrats will need to ride a big partisan wave in November -- certainly a possibility -- to win this open seat.

This piece first appeared on Political Wire on March 17, 2006.