“Who is going to bother going against them in New York state?” he asked.
Former state Assemblyman Anthony J. Casale of Cooperstown, a moderate Republican who served in former New York Gov. George Pataki’s administration, said he believes both Gibson and Hanna voted as they did based on their convictions as representatives of their constituents.
“Both of them are principled individuals,” he said.
Casale also said he isn’t convinced that any member would pay a significant political price based on the weekend vote.
“Very seldom does one vote make the difference in an election,” he reasoned.
Hartwick College professor Laurel Elder, the chairwoman of the school’s political science department, noted Gibson and Hanna are both in competitive districts where neither major party commands a lopsided majority, and where unaffiliated independents could tip the scales in a close election. In 2010, Hanna, then a challenger, won a close race against Democratic incumbent Michael Arcuri, while part of Gibson’s current district had been represented by former Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a liberal Democrat.
The fact that President Obama did well in those districts in 2012 is a “political reality” that likely factors into the deliberations of both congressmen as they approach controversial votes, she said.
Elder said Gibson and Hanna appear to have staked out positions similar to that of another Republican in a blue state, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Collins, who is also a critic of Obamacare, warned Monday that a government shutdown would slow efforts to bring the economy out of recession.
While they didn’t disagree with the votes cast Sunday by the two GOP congressmen, local Democrats said the best way to address Washington gridlock is to replace them with Democratic candidates.
“They are still part of the do-nothing Republican Congress,” said Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate.