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New lines draw GOP angst

Republicans in southern Saratoga County not pleased with new congressional districts

Bob Dietrich, a Scotia banker, is the Republican choice in the redrawn 20th Congressional District. New district lines lump much of southern Saratoga County into the same congressional district as Democratic strongholds like Albany, Schenectady and Troy, drawing the angst ofsome GOP leaders in the area who are now represented by Republican Chris Gibson. (Submitted Photo)

Bob Dietrich, a Scotia banker, is the Republican choice in the redrawn 20th Congressional District. New district lines lump much of southern Saratoga County into the same congressional district as Democratic strongholds like Albany, Schenectady and Troy, drawing the angst ofsome GOP leaders in the area who are now represented by Republican Chris Gibson. (Submitted Photo)

— Newly drawn congressional districts that shift lines in Saratoga County are proving to be a boon to some, but not for others.

The others, it seems, are Republicans.

Congressional districts were redefined after the 2010 census, and the New York’s number of districts has dropped from 29 to 27. A federal court drafted the lines after State Assembly and Senate were unable to complete the task.

Southern Saratoga sits in what is to become the most northern reaches of the 20th District. North of Saratoga Springs will be the expansive 21st reaching up to the Canadian border. The new 20th District also encompasses areas like Albany and Schenectady and has a higher number of Democrats— and that is not sitting well with some Republican leaders.

Many Republican leaders in Saratoga County feel that this process yielded districts that are more focused at keeping officials in office, rather than representing the people.

Clifton Park GOP Committee Chairman Brian Telesh’s sentiments echo what other members of his party in the county feel about how the process was carried out.

“I’m actually very, very disappointed that the Legislature just failed to do its constitutional obligation and complete this process. And now New York is kind of the laughingstock of the nation because we had to go under federal supervision to have a judge to draw lines, similar to how the federal government needed to supervise the segregation of the South,” he said.

Telesh said he’s embarrassed to have New York, which he characterizes as “a trailblazer,” being put in the position where Clifton Park, a suburban, rural and agricultural community, is lumped into an urban congressional district.

“There’s nothing really in common other than the population exodus from those places to come to move to places like Clifton Park,” he said.

Telesh blamed both parties for the way redistricting lines fell, and said they knew this was coming and decided to “wash their hands of it.”

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