Maurice Hinchey announces his retirement, and a redistricting-reform champion calls it a ‘godsend’

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NY-22. (hinchey.house.gov)
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News that twenty-year ten-year Democratic incumbent congressman Maurice Hinchey won't seek re-election, in a district covering eight counties and stretching from Ithaca to Binghamton and the outskirts of Poughkeepsie, is "a godsend," according to former Mayor Ed Koch.

That's because Hinchey's retirement comes as New York legislators are redrawing legislative lines in order to eliminate two congressional seats, following the 2010 census.

"That will be the upstate seat," Koch told me. "And there's nothing wrong with that."

Koch, who is leading the charge for an independent redistricting process, said he's OK with nixing Hinchey's seat, because "you're not manufacturing the seat. You're just taking advantage of the fact that you don't have to eliminate another member who is resigning."

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"In a way it's a godsend to the legislature not to have to fight as to who is going to be eliminated," he said. "God eliminated him."

Shortly after Politico reported that Hinchey, a reliable liberal who was facing, at the very least, a challenge from former federal prosecutor Tom Engel, wouldn't be running for reelection, the congressman's office sent out an advisory confirming it, with the details of an announcement:

Kingston, NY -- Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), 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.