Tom Grace of the Daily Star over in Oneonta dropped a bomb on the 24th District congressional district this weekend with his article suggesting that incumbent Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert is likely to quit the race, and not seek re-election in 2006. Sam Marchio, a spokesman for Representative Boehlert, has said that there will be an announcement sometime in March, when the House of Representatives is in recess.
Grace cites Boehlert's strong challengers within the Republican Party, and Boehlert's apparent difficulties gathering donations for his campaign. With Boehlert losing the chairmanship of the House Committee on Science, his ability to bring money into the district is greatly diminished, and donors appear to doubt that Boehlert has the clout necessary to gain another influential chairmanship.
Republican Brad Jones, former mayor of Seneca Falls, is already challenging Sherwood Boehlert for the Republican nomination, and has raised about 90,000 dollars. Republicans who are considering running for the GOP nomination, assuming Sherwood Boehlert's retirement, are state senators James Seward and Raymond Meier.
Whether or not Boehlert continues his re-election campaign, it looks like the race is wide open on the Republican side. Chances are increasing that the Republicans will nominate a right wing ideologue, making it more difficult for the Republicans to hold onto this seat in the general election.