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Ackerman's Retirement Catches Fellow Dem by Surprise Ackerman's Retirement Catches Fellow Dem by Surprise

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Politics

Ackerman's Retirement Catches Fellow Dem by Surprise

March 16, 2012

New York Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman's retirement announcement Thursday evening seems to have surprised nearly everyone -- especially one fellow Democrat, Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman.

As his colleagues in the state legislature dithered on redistricting plans, Lancman ramped up a congressional exploratory committee over the last month under the assumption that the final redistricting scenario would leave intact GOP Rep. Bob Turner's 9th District and Lancman would challenge him. But the federal court that took over New York's congressional line-drawing chose Turner's seat as one of two to contract due to slow population growth, placing Lancman in Ackerman's new 6th District.

Ackerman had earlier insisted that he was running for reelection, so on Thursday afternoon, Lancman dropped his congressional bid. The New York Daily News:

"If there was a Turner district to run in, I would have run it in. But the redistricting gods had other ideas," said Lancman, who will seek re-election to his Assembly seat instead of mounting a primary challenge against fellow Democrat Gary Ackerman.

Lancman said he had about $120,000 cash raised for a Congressional run -- and would give his donors a chance to get a refund.

"But I think most people will be more than happy to have me hold on to it," he added. "If they were excited for me to be in Congress in 2012, I think they might be happy for me to be in Congress some other year."

...

"The rationale of running against Bob Turner was very clear and very compelling. There is not a rationale to run against Gary Ackerman, and that really drove my decision."

Mere hours later, Ackerman announced he would retire at the end of this term. That leaves Lancman looking a little silly, but with a month's worth of effort behind him, $120,000 in his federal account, and an obvious desire to become a congressman, there appear to be more reasons for Lancman to resume campaigning, this time for New York's 6th District, than to stay out.

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