You have heard it mentioned frequently that the GOP is going to throw the race in the 23rd Congressional district. It is not so much throwing the race, that will not happen, national GOP and Republican Congressional Campaign Committee will not let it happen, but here is political reality.
It is widely thought that New York is destine to lose two congressional seats after the next round of redistricting in 2012. Therefore, should a Republican win the 23rd Congressional seat and the Democrats regain control of the New York State Senate then this district is as good as gone. So is a Republican win really a win? It will be a short term venture at best.
Is Aubertine likely to be the next Congressman; sure, that is political reality. He made his move by being elected to the NYS Assembly over Patty Ritchie in a race where parochialism played a larger role than politics in Jefferson County and where ability was never a consideration. Parochialism over all other characteristics will carry the day again in the Congressional race, NNY will want to retain a Representative. Darrel Aubertine will not be the most qualified candidate by any stretch but, Northern New York will retain its Congressman. Aubertine has never been the most qualified to serve, he is not a leader nor a deep thinker, but he is a nice guy and his smile, demeanor and image have masked his weaknesses that is why he continues to win elections.
Of the likely Republican candidates in the field, Dede Scozzafava is capable of being our Representative and she could run and win, but only to be redistricted into newly elected Scott Murphy's 20th Congressional seat. The 20th seat needs more Democrats and they will be looking to expand that district north over the top of NY into St. Lawrence County.
Matt Doheny is also very capable of winning the election and serving as our Representative, only to face Mike Acuri from the 24th district in a runoff after redistricting. The 24th district surrounds Jefferson and Lewis Counties and we will likely end up there with Utica becoming the base of the district with a Republican win.
Will Barclay has the best chance of long term survival as a Congressman, but not as our Representative. Barclay is capable of winning and serving but he will be pushed into Dan Maffei's district, as they look to move Oswego into the 25th district. But then Barclay runs in his base area of Central New York and is capable of beating Maffei and retaining the seat.
If Aubertine runs and wins, then the Republicans are likely favored to win the 48th Senate seat back. The Democrat's bench is not deep, Addie Russell or John Burns are not ready for
the prime time of a Senate race or the responsibilities of the job. Therefore, the GOP is likely to retain their majority status in the NYS Senate which puts them at the table to decide redistricting and the continued balance of power in New York State.
Further, take the perspective of a freshman member of the House of Representatives. A Democrat such as Aubertine will simply be a pimple on the donkey's backside, having little effect on legislation or anything that effects our lives, while McHugh will be watching over our largest asset - Fort Drum. Aubertine will wander aimlessly through the halls of Congress into retirement. A freshman Republican Representative on the other hand will be given a telephone booth for an office, a tin can and string for a telephone and told not to sign a long term lease on an apartment, rent a hotel instead.
It is called political reality.