By JOE MAHONEY
The Daily Star
---- — Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, is hoping to keep his seat in Congress next year in a revamped district where he is getting competition this fall from Democrat Dan Lamb, a former aide to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, who is retiring at the end of this year.
The new 22nd district — part of a realignment that is causing New York to surrender two of its current 29 congressional districts — would no longer include any parts of Otsego County. The new territory includes all of Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties and parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties.
Hanna, a former construction company owner who defeated then-incumbent Michael Arcuri of Utica two years ago, has become one of the most independent congressional Republicans in Washington.
This year, Hanna, 61, declined to endorse GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney and broke ranks with his party by refusing to back cuts to Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Energy.
While no public polls have been conducted in the district, political rating organizations have scored the district a safe one for Republicans. Hanna has said he fears the GOP could lose control of the House majority if conservatives continue to take charge on social issues.
Lamb, 49, of Tompkins County has tried to score points by arguing Hanna voted with his fellow Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform legislation.
Lamb has also opposed hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and criticized Hanna for not coming out in favor of having the U.S. Environmental Protecting Administration regulate drilling. Hanna has said he supports having states oversee shale gas regulation.