Congressman Richard Hanna has told WIBX that he will announce his retirement on Monday at a press conference in the district.

Hanna said he 'took the only poll that mattered' when he asked his family if he should run again and the results were unanimous: his two children and wife each voted no.

Hanna made the announcement in a video interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard.

"I love my wife, my two kids and my community and they mean more to me than anything else," Hanna.  "I've got another year here, I'm looking forward to that, we've got a lot on our plate."

Hanna is expected to join WIBX's First News with Keeler this week.

This announcement by the 64-year-old Congressman is already causing a ripple effect on the area's political landscape.

Republican strategists are reportedly scurrying in fear that Hanna's retirement could put the seat at risk for Republicans. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call has already changed its rating on the upcoming district race from Safe Republican to Pure Tossup.

Political Upheaval

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney announced last month that she's running for Hanna's seat and despite the fact that she's the only one to make it official so far, she doesn't seem to be alone. Over the past few months, both Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and Republican Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente have each shrugged off a possible run; however, rumors have been swirling that supporters have been urging them both to step into the race. Former NYS Senator Ray Meier has also been mentioned. Meier unsuccessfully challenged Michael Arcuri in 2006 after long-time Congressman Sherry Boehlert (R-24) retired. Political insiders have told WIBX that it's likely that at least one other Republican will enter the race locally to challenge Tenney in the primary which will be held in June. A handful of possible candidates outside our area are also being mentioned, such as Catherine Bertini of Cortland County and Oswego County GOP Chairman Michael Backus.

As the dust settles following Monday's official announcement, the stage is clearly beginning to be set for what could turn out to be a very interesting local 2016 election cycle.

Consider the following possible local scenarios-

  • Assemblywoman Tenney's Assembly seat will most likely be up for grabs in November. Her supporters claim they are looking for a 'suitable replacement' for Tenney as she's hinted that she won't run for re-election if she were to lose in the congressional primary. Tenney told WIBX that she'll make that decision in January.
  • Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is up for re-election and if he runs for Congress, that would open up his seat for Democrats and Republicans. Several names are already being tossed around for that seat such as Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri and Utica School Board President Chris Salatino.
  • Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente has previously told WIBX he has no interest in running for higher office; however, if he did consider a run for Congress the doors would be open for a November race for his position at the County.

"I'm still here for another year," Hanna told WIBX this morning.  "I still believe in the 2-party system and I have a lot to accomplish." However, he said we have to work to move away from pandering to the extremes such as the far-right and the far-left.  "My fundamental values are very Republican," he said. "It's the party that has changed."

Hanna said his announcement will be made from his home in Barneveld on Monday.

Update 12:40 p.m.: WIBX spoke with Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi who said he is out of town and will release a statement soon.  He did confirm with us that while he has not made a decision, he is considering a run for Congress.  

Update: 5:24pm Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. has released a statement as well saying that he will also consider a run for Congress.

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