Lancman opts out of Mann-made primary against Ackerman

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Rory Lancman, talking about Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (Rory Lancman, via flickr)
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Assemblyman Rory Lancman won't challenge fellow Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman, nixing what could have been a bloody intra-party feud in the wake of redistricting lines that were drawn by a court, rather than the majority parties in Albany.

"My enthusiasm for running against Republican Bob Turner on a platform of leveling the economic playing field for working people doesn't extend to running against fellow Democrat Gary Ackerman,” Lancman said in a statement.

Lancman had been preparing for a possible run for Congress against freshman Republican Bob Turner, but that possibility was nixed after Turner's district was effectively eliminated in the proposed maps drawn by the court's special master, Roanne L. Mann. (On Tuesday, Turner declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.)

That left Lancman in the western portion of Ackerman's newly-divided district, where the incumbent said he was planning to run. Ackerman, who hasn't had a serious challenge in years, is a progressive Democrat and hawk on Israel, leaving little room for a potential challenge on the left.

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The potential showdown between the two Democrats would have been the first major challenge to an incumbent that came about as a result of the independently drawn congressional maps. Advocates for redistricting reform have complained the state legislative lines-- drawn by majority parties in each house in Albany--unduly protected incumbents.

Mann's map, advocates said, paid little attention to incumbency and, overall, drew districts more in line with what good government groups like Common Cause advocated.

CORRECTION: A state court drew New York's congressional lines in 1992. An earlier version of this article omitted that fact.