4:16 pm Feb. 27, 2012
Representative Gary Ackerman doesn't think there's anything to the Daily News report that has his district moving east and merging with that of a fellow Democratic representative, Carolyn McCarthy.
"I believe there's absolutely nothing to it," he told me last week. "There's absolutely no reason or motivation to put any two of us together in a Democratic primary. The Democrats have to give up one seat in the state, and we have one member retiring. Duhh."
The impending retirement of Representative Maurice Hinchey was supposed to make things easy on Democrats, in terms of New York's newly drawn congressional-district map. But the Daily News reported that party leaders were still planning to shed a representative downstate, in part to retain the seat of Bob Turner, the Republican freshman who Democrats think they can defeat in a a district that is, at least by registration, heavily Democratic.
And the target was said to be McCarthy, who has been raising money aggressively in recent months.
I asked Ackerman if he would run in a contested primary.
"Every primary is contested," he said. "Every election is contested. Of course."
He was even more emphatic in a tweet this weekend, saying: "Republican rumor mill is 100%, Absolutely Wrong. I'm running."
Ackerman also told me a story about the persistence of retirement rumors.
"You know what happened to me once upon a time, about 15 years ago?" he asked, before continuing. "Somebody in our local paper put in the paper that I was thinking of retiring. Of course I wasn't. And so that was in one of the weekly papers, and on the other side of the county, another weekly paper picked it up and said, 'Gary Ackerman is tired of the drudgery of going back and forth to Washington, as has been reported in the press and is contemplating retirement.' And the first guy comes back a week later, and says, 'As has been widely reported in the media."
Ackerman suggested there was one possibility that might entice him.
"One year they had me taking a judgeship," he said. "I'm not a lawyer. But if someone wants to put me on the Supreme Court, I'd really have to think about that."