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Judge approves new congressional district map

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CANTON - Candidates for Congress will have to say goodbye to Oswego, Oneida and Madison counties, while also getting familiar with the Capital Region.

A congressional map approved by a panel of federal judges earlier this week shifts New York’s 23rd District — which, after January, will be called the 21st District — east, all while making it more contiguous.

“I’ve met a lot of great people in those counties,” Rep. William L. Owens said of Oswego, Oneida and Madison. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have any control or any input in this process. We’ll just have to proceed along, and meet 225,000 or 250,000 new friends.”

The district adds the northern part of Herkimer Couny; the rest of Essex and Fulton counties; Warren County, Washington County and the northern part of Saratoga County.

Armchair politicial scientists are debating whether the district is good news for Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, or his likely Republican opponent, Matthew A. Doheny, of Watertown.

One thing that some analysts say works in Mr. Owens’s favor is the fact that Warren, Saratoga and Washington counties are along the Interstate 87 corridor, which connects to Plattsburgh, his hometown. Watertown is all the way across the Adirondacks, with few east-west connectors, which could hamper Mr. Doheny.

Asked whether he agreed with that analysis, Mr. Owens said “I think that every area has advantages and disadvantages. I think that we’ll just try to get out our message of job creation and keep up the level of activity we’ve engaged in since we’ve been in office, and essentially try to get the message out to those people.”

Mr. Owens said that if he’s re-elected, he would maintain a Watertown district office, despite the easterly political shift. He also said that until the end of the year, he’ll continue to work for his constituents in Oswego, Oneida and Madison counties.

Mr. Doheny, meanwhile, said the geographical handicap won’t hurt his chances. He spoke on the telephone with the Times from Warren County, where he was campaigning Thursday.

“They’re great Republicans,” Mr. Doheny said. “This is a region that (Republican) Congressman (Chris) Gibson carried pretty heavily.”

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