Republican Rep. Jim Walsh of New York is expected to announce his retirement soon, according to a GOP aide familiar with the decision, giving Democrats another pick-up opportunity following a wave of Republican retirements this cycle.
Walsh represents New York's 25th district, which lies a bit to the North of us. The 25th is another of those tortuously stretched out, ink blot test shaped districts (a result of New York's endless history of gerrymandering) which encompasses the major population center of Syracuse and then winds around to the North and West along Lake Ontario, dodging several other moderate size cities. Walsh barely hung on to a razor thin win in the 2006 bloodbath and Democrats in Syracuse were already setting the stage for another tough run at him this year. It's not hard to imagine that Jim saw the writing on the wall, following Democrat Mike Arcuri's seizure of the long time Republican stronghold 24th to his Southwest last election.
It's just a hunch, but I'm betting you'll see NY-24 popping up on The Line very soon, possibly replacing California-11 or Louisiana-6. Without the inertia of an entrenched incumbent, the general wave of unhappiness with the GOP which is still running around since the 2006 massacre will likely make upstate New York voters a fertile field for the next Democratic nominee. The economy is still being listed as the top concern for voters, and this section of New York has been battling recession-like conditions for several years now.
Stay tuned. I'll try to find out who the likely challengers are for that seat and see if we can't get some of them on Mid Stream Radio as the season progresses.
UPDATE: Chris Bowers is already on the trail of this story, and reports that Democrat Dan Maffei will once again be running for the seat. Maffei was the candidate in 2006 who came within a single percentage point of unseating Walsh, and should be starting out with much better name recognition this time around. I'll see if we can get hold of Maffei's campaign this week.