Queensbury and Glens Falls would be drawn into a new state Senate district stretching west to Utica, in Oneida County, and Oneonta, in Otsego County, under a plan proposed by Democrats on the state’s new Independent Redistricting Commission.
The change could potentially set up a primary next year between Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, and fellow freshman Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, in Otsego County.
Warren County would be split into two Senate districts, with towns from Lake George north drawn into a district that would stretch to Plattsburgh in Clinton County, and west to Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County.
Political leaders emphasized that the maps are merely first drafts that will be discussed at a series of public hearings in the coming weeks.
“It’s all conjecture. … What we’re seeing now is not what we’re going to ultimately see,” said Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher.
“I think these maps will change yet again,” said state Assemblyman Matt Simpson, R-Horicon.
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There also has been discussion that Glens Falls and Queensbury might be drawn into the district that Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, now represents, setting up a potential primary next year between two regional stalwart conservatives.
Boecher said that scenario would seem more realistic than the one currently mapped out.
“That’s fine with me,” she said, referring to the second scenario.
Under either scenario, the member representing Glens Falls and Queensbury, Stec, and Republicans Elizabeth Little and Ronald Stafford before, would no longer be the primary voice in the Senate on Adirondack Park issues.
For decades, since 1967, Glens Falls and Queensbury have been aligned with Plattsburgh, to the north, in a district that encompasses much of the Adirondack Park.
Franklin County Republican Chairman Kevin Mulverhill said he would not comment on the specific proposed district boundaries because he has not yet seen the maps, but, in general, it is important to keep the eastern Adirondack counties in the same Senate district.
“Any removal of Sen. Stec would be a loss for the North County. So, I would find it hard to support that,” he said.
Stec did not return messages left on two separate days with an aide at his district office seeking comment for this report.
Simpson said he’d rather not comment on the proposed Senate district boundaries, but that it’s been valuable, from an Assembly standpoint, to keep contiguous Adirondack counties in a common district for cohesiveness.
Oneida County Republican Chairman Peter Sobel said he would not comment because he had not yet seen the maps.
Local Assembly district boundaries would be less drastically altered.
One proposed district would stretch from Milton, in Saratoga County, north through Warren County and into Essex County.
It would include Horicon, the home town of Simpson, and Glens Falls and Queensbury.
Another Assembly district would cover portions of Saratoga and Washington counties, including Mechanicville and Malta, the hometown of current Democratic Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner.
On the congressional side, the southern boundary of the district that Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Scuylerville, now represents, would be extended to include Gloversville and Amsterdam, the home town of Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat.
The new district would still have a Republican enrollment advantage.
Boecher said she doubts that Stefanik and Tonko will ultimately be in the same congressional district.
The plan is one of two plans that the commission will soon be holding a series of public hearings on.
The commission also will hold public hearings on a plan that Republican members of the commission proposed.
Political experts say that there is virtually no chance of the Republican plan being enacted, as Democrats have a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature.
The commission has until Jan. 15 to submit a final plan to the Legislature, which the legislature can either accept or reject.
If the Legislature rejects the first plan, it would be sent back to the commission for revision.
If the revised plan is rejected, the Legislature would take over the redistricting process.
Congressional and legislative district boundaries are redrawn every 10 years, based on the U.S. Census.
New York is losing one House seat, dropping from 27 to 26 representatives statewide, under the once-a-decade redistricting process based on the U.S. Census.
New York’s overall population actually increased over the past decade, but that wasn’t enough to keep pace with the growth of other states. If the 2020 Census had found just 89 additional residents statewide, New York would have avoided losing any of its House seats, according to data the U.S. Census Bureau released in late April.
The number of state Senate and Assembly districts will be the same.
Boecher said there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the first set of maps.
“I don’t think either the Democrats or the Republicans are happy with the maps,” she said.
Simpson said he supports the independent commission process and expects maps will be revised after the public hearing process.
“I’m looking forward to the next set of maps that will hopefully reflect an independent redistricting,” he said.