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Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D)
Politico first reported it earlier in the day, but now news outlets everywhere are confirming:
Ten-term Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey of Ulster County is retiring.

Hinchey, who recently completed treatment for colon cancer and has been declared cancer free by his doctors, will announce tomorrow that he will not seek reelection and will retire at the end of his current term, his office said.

The announcement will be at 1 p.m. at the Senate House State Historic Site located at 296 Fair Street in Kingston, NY where Hinchey announced his first campaign for Congress in 1992.

It's a relief to hear that Hinchey is cancer-free, but you can hardly blame him for wanting to retire after spending a year undergoing treatment, especially since he's 73. Hinchey also faced an unusually tough fight for re-election in 2010, winning by just six points over teacher George Phillips. While last cycle's red storm was unlikely to be repeated again this year, Hinchey probably didn't look forward to the rigors of another serious campaign. (Phillips said he'd seek a rematch, and former assistant U.S. attorney Tom Engel had also announced a run.) And as Brian Tumulty at the Ithaca Journal notes, Hinchey only had about $100K in the bank, a rather small sum for anyone facing a potentially competitive race.

With Hinchey retiring, everyone instantly began speculating that the 22nd District would get dismantled in redistricting, since New York is losing two congressional seats this year. That makes sense on its face, but as you can see from the map below, every district which touches Hinchey's—the 19th, 20th, 24th and 29th—is currently held by a Republican:

NY-22 map
They are also all swingish seats which were all occupied by Democrats as recently as 2010, so these Republicans probably aren't eager to take on blue turf, especially the college town of Ithaca. Still, some creative line-drawing could probably do the trick, so let me pose this challenge: Using Dave's Redistricting App, can you redrawn upstate New York in a way that would satisfy Republicans? (Let's assume there's a compromise plan that also involves taking out GOPer Bob Turner in NY-09.) I'll be curious to see what people come up with.

P.S. If somehow the 22nd survives past this year, Roll Call's Joshua Miller says that Ulster County Executive Mike Hein could potentially run for the Democrats.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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