One of the consistent questions that Republican Matt Doheny has fielded as he embarks on attempt No. 2 to unseat Rep. Bill Owens is this: What happens if you're in the same district as Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle?
It was possible that, with redistricting, the 23rd Congressional District would dive into Onondaga County. The maps that the Assembly and Senate put out didn't do that, though; nor has any independent proposal that I've seen. So it appears unlikely.
But what if Ms. Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, decided to run in the 23rd anyway, leaving her current district for a district that includes neighboring Oswego County?
That's the possibility that Onondaga County GOP chief Tom Dadey put before Capital Tonight's Liz Benjamin.
Here are the reasons it's possible: You can run in any congressional district in the state, as long as you live in New York.
Is it politically plausible, though? One could argue yes — if the district stays the way it is, Ms. Buerkle would have a good chance at whipping up support from people in the district, particularly Conservative Party leaders. Len Schick, the Conservative Party chairman in Oswego County, told me that the only definitive prediction that he could provide was that if Ms. Buerkle were in the race, she'd be endorsed by the local parties over Mr. Doheny and Kellie Greene. (Mr. Doheny has already received the St. Lawrence County committee's endorsement.)
Mr. Doheny wouldn't say whether he'd step aside in the unlikely scenario that he was in the same district as Ms. Buerkle.
But here's the big caveat: A federal court could end up deciding all of this, so perhaps Ms. Buerkle's new district won't be as liberal as the Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans have proposed.
The other caveat, of course, is whether Ms. Buerkle would want to run in the district. She would have to fight carpetbagging allegations — and I don't think you can draw a direct line from her proposed NY23 candidacy to Doug Hoffman's, who was running in a special election. It's not like he had a choice between the district he lived in and NY23 (and don't forget: He lost). This would be a sitting congresswoman who would immediately be accused of picking another set of constituents because her original ones got too Democratic. That might not play well.
Here's an interview that Ms. Buerkle had on a Syracuse radio station.
She called it "premature," but didn't exactly rule out a north country run.
"I think it’s a little bit premature to be thinking about that. Right now, we need to see how we can weigh in on this," she said.