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U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) announced Thursday evening that he will not seek re-election for his congressional seat this year after a more than three-decade stint as a lawmaker, possibly kicking off a domino effect of other campaign announcements.
“The residents of Queens and Long Island have honored me with their trust and support for the past 34 years, first as a New York state senator, and for the past 15 terms as a member of Congress,” Ackerman said in a statement. “I’ve been truly privileged to have had the opportunity to fight for the beliefs of my neighbors in both the state capital and in the halls of Congress.”
His term is scheduled to end Jan. 2, 2013.
State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) had hoped to run against U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) in the upcoming congressional election. After the freshman Republican’s district was eliminated through the redistricting process, Turner pledged to run for the U.S. Senate instead.
That meant Lancman would have been faced with a run against Ackerman, a Democratic veteran who Lancman once worked for.
Earlier Thursday, Lancman said in a statement he would not run against Ackerman.
“My enthusiasm for running against Republican Bob Turner on a platform of leveling the economic playing field for working people doesn’t extend to running against fellow Democrat Gary Ackerman,” Lancman said.
But Ackerman’s sudden announcement could mean Lancman might reconsider a run on the national stage.
In addition, several local civic leaders have told TimesLedger Newspapers that they would run for Lancman’s seat if he should run for a congressional seat, although they requested to remain nameless until Lancman makes a final decision.
The National Republican Party had been predicting that Ackerman would call it quits, and sent out a Feb. 28 e-mail with the subject line: “Retirement Watch: Gary Ackerman.”
“Are New York Democrats trying to delay Gary Ackerman’s retirement for political gain? Despite his defensive response, all the signs are there that Ackerman is prepared to throw in the towel,” National Republican Congressional Committee Spokesman Nat Sillin said in the e-mail.
Also contained in the missve was a link to Ackerman’s Twitter account.
On Feb. 25, Ackerman tweeted: “Republican rumor mill is 100%, Absolutely Wrong. I’m running.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
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