Redistricting plan would split state assembly’s ‘River District’

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 4:50 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - New drafts carving out state assembly districts are out and it shakes things up in the north country.

The draft essentially splits what has been known as the “River District” in two. See the before and after maps here.

Jefferson and Lewis counties would become the 117th District. The 116th District would become all of St. Lawrence County and some of Franklin.

This setup would put Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush and Assemblyman-elect Scott Gray, both Republicans, in the same district, with a potential runoff in 2024.

“I don’t like being put in the same district as Scott. And I don’t like it when members are put in against other members,” said Blankenbush.

Gray says it’s too soon to speculate.

“It’s early in the process; it’s going to be a long process. Really, my focus is on the people in the 116th Assembly District,” he said.

In June, an appellate judge tossed outlines drawn by Democrats earlier this year but ruled there wasn’t enough time to redraw them before the November election.

If these maps become final, could it be Blankenbush vs. Gray in two years?

“You know, I’ve been there since the 2010 election. Scott’s there for two years. We’re going to take all that into consideration before I make a decision on what I’m going to do. But the bottom line is, I really don’t believe these maps are going to be the maps,” said Blankenbush.

“It’s gonna have to go through a legislative process and at that point, we’ll give it some thought. I’m just a person that doesn’t worry about anything that’s out of my control, and it’s not in my control yet,” said Gray.

Public hearings on the draft start in January.