Long Safe for G.O.P.

, House Seat Is Now in Play - New York Times

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Long Safe for G.O.P., House Seat Is Now in Play
By JONATHAN P. HICKS Published: April 2, 2006
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Photos: State Senator Raymond A. Meier, left, a Republican, and Michael A. Arcuri, a Democrat who is district attorney of Oneida County, are running in the 24th Congressional District of New York. (Photo by Michael J. Okoniewski for The New York Times); (Photo by Stewart Cairns for The New York Times); Candidates also include Brad Jones, left, a Republican, and Leon Koziol and Les Roberts, Democrats. (Photographs by Michael J. Okoniewski for The New York Times) Map of New York State highlighting 24th Congressional District: The House district represented for 24 years by Sherwood L. Boehlert.

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SHARE Already the House campaign has produced sparks. Mr. Meier has been criticized by Democratic leaders in Washington and New York for broadcasting television ads, paid for by his State Senate campaign funds, on lobbying reform in Albany. The ads ran before Mr. Boehlert announced he would retire.

''Inappropriately skirting campaign laws is quite a way to introduce yourself to voters,'' said Blake Zeff, a spokesman for the State Democratic Party. ''During this time of corruption and deception in Washington, D.C., it appears that Raymond Meier is a step in the wrong direction.'' Mr. Meier said the ads were ''perfectly legal'' and ''were touting a bill that I've sponsored to prohibit gifts from lobbyists.'' He added that they ran before he knew Mr. Boehlert planned to retire, a point disputed by Democratic officials. Mr. Meier faces a vigorous Republican primary challenge from Brad Jones, a former mayor of Seneca Falls. Mr. Jones, 54, announced his candidacy last year, long before the congressman disclosed plans to retire. At the time, Mr. Jones said he considered Mr. Boehlert too liberal for the district. The three Democratic candidates are busy trying to make their case to the voters of this huge Congressional district, a horseshoe-shaped area that takes in counties from Herkimer in the northeast to Seneca and Ontario Counties to the west. ''The Republicans want everyone to believe that this is a Republican-leaning district,'' said Michael A. Arcuri, 46, one of the three. Mr. Arcuri, who is the Oneida County district attorney, added: ''There are a huge number of swing voters. And Boehlert's moderate positions on most issues make me believe that the district would go for someone of either party, as long as he had the moderate views of this district.'' Les Roberts, another Democratic candidate, said the district ''had been much more driven by the personality of the congressman than ideology.''

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Long Safe for G.O.P., House Seat Is Now in Play - New York Times

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E1DE1330F931A35...

The third Democrat in the race is Leon Koziol, 47, a former member of the Utica City Council. Mr. Roberts, 44, a former official with the United States Public Health Service, said the Democrats were heartened about their prospects. ''Democrats are in the mainstream in this district,'' Mr. Roberts said. ''What people really care about is having someone with clear plans to revitalize the economy here, solve the energy crisis and help get us out of Iraq.'' The date of the primary is Sept. 12.
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