By Rob Gurwitt
As the legislature tangles with Governor Paterson's budget, it will be keeping a close eye on a crucial event 20 months away. This is the 2010 election, whose victors will redraw the state political map for at least a decade, perhaps more. It's not so much an issue in the Assembly, where Democrats could afford to lose almost one-third of their seats and still hold a majority. It means everything in the Senate, where a shift of one or two seats could nullify the Democrats' map-making advantage. Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Group goes so far as to say that a map drawn by Democrats could make New York as lopsidedly Democratic as neighboring Massachusetts. If the Republicans get the votes to help write the map, on the other hand, they'll have the chance to hold off further Democratic gains, at least for a while.
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