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PAXON PROVIDES $43,000 LIFT FOR GOP IN SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT RANKS HIGH IN PLANNING FOR '92

Rep. Bill Paxon directly or indirectly contributed $43,000 to the State Senate Republican Campaign Committee earlier this year.

But the Amherst Republican says he does not expect any special treatment from the GOP-controlled Senate, which will play a major role in the reapportionment of the state's congressional districts before the next election for the House in 1992.

Paxon said he gave $20,000 from his own political fund and helped raise an additional $23,000 locally for the GOP Senate Campaign Committee.

"I have always contributed to Republican Senate campaigns," said Paxon, the junior member of the House delegation from Western New York.

But he acknowledged that he had an extra incentive this year.

"It was in all of our interests to maintain the Republican majority in the Senate," said Paxon, whose 31st District could be eliminated or drastically altered by reapportionment.

Paxon was elected to a second term in the House in November. He occupies the seat once held by Jack F. Kemp, now housing secretary in the Bush administration.

Had Democrats taken control of the Senate, they would have had dictated the realignment of the state's congressional, Senate and Assembly districts.

Most political observers think that a Democratic reapportionment would have eliminated Paxon's district by reallocating its population into other districts. Paxon said an all-Democratic plan probably would have cost the Republicans around half their 13 House seats in the state.

Because they retained a majority in the Senate, Republicans now are assured of a voice, along with the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Gov. Cuomo in the redrawing of legislative boundaries.

Based on 1990 census figures, the state would lose three of its 34 congressional districts.

Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, said the makeup of the new districts is strictly guesswork at this time.

"The only thing we know for certain is that there will be three fewer congressional districts in the state and that one will probably be carved out of the Central-Western New York area," said LaFalce, who represents the 32nd District.

LaFalce said he is referring to a region that now has 10 congressional districts.

"Everything else is up to the State Legislature and the courts," he said.

The reapportionment plan approved by the Legislature and governor is subject to court challenge.

Rep. Henry J. Nowak, D-Buffalo, 33rd District, said reapportionment is "all speculation until we see a plan from the Legislature." The plan is not expected until late 1991 or early 1992. Both Nowak and LaFalce were first elected to the House in 1974.

Because the State Senate remained in Republican hands and his district registered an increase in population in the last decade, Paxon said, he was "highly confident" of being returned to the House in 1992.

Assemblyman Thomas M. Reynolds, the Erie County Republican chairman, agreed.

"Bill Paxon will be running for re-election in 1992 in one of the redrawn districts," Reynolds said, "and he will win."

The new census figures place the population in Paxon's district at 527,000, a gain of 11,000 since 1980.

But in the Nowak district, the population dropped to 474,000, a loss of 42,000, and in the LaFalce district, the population fell to 496,000, a loss of 20,000.

The new congressional districts will have an average population of 572,000, up from the present average of 535,000.

Political leaders agree that a key factor in reapportionment will be retirements. House members who choose not to run for re-election in 1992 could see their districts redistributed into other districts to lessen the chance of having two incumbents running in the same district.

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