If this report is true, and if this denial is false, a redistricting... ahem... "understanding" that helps out the Independent Democratic Caucus could have ramifications for state Sen. Patty Ritchie's new district.
Bear with me here as I do some semi-informed speculation about total inside baseball.
The state needs to redraw its political boundaries to account for shifts in population. Mrs. Ritchie, a Republican, needs to pick up population because of a relative decline in population and because prisoners in Ogdensburg, Watertown and Cape Vincent may no longer be counted in her district.
Where does she go?
Here's one scenario: Republican State Sen. John DeFrancisco gives up the parts of his district that are becoming more Democratic to state Sen. David Valesky, a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus. The IDC is a break-away faction of former Dems that has been supportive, at some turns, of Senate Republicans. (And if this Daily News story is right, Republicans are inclined to help out the IDC in return.) Mr. Valesky's district basically wraps right around Mr. DeFrancisco's, so swaps would be relatively easy.
To make up for this, Mr. DeFrancisco's district goes north into much safer Oswego County territory, a big-time Republican stronghold that has closer ties with Syracuse than it does the north country, anyway. That shores up Mr. Valesky and Mr. DeFrancisco.
But what about Mrs. Ritchie? Mrs. Ritchie is currently in Oswego County, so this becomes a game of whack-a-mole. She could move into Lewis County, a safe Republican area that has fewer than 30,000 residents. She could also take over the rest of St. Lawrence County. There's some argument over whether the rest of St. Lawrence would really help Mrs. Ritchie out. She is from Ogdensburg, so it's her home turf, but if I'm a Republican, I'm saying no-thank-you to college town Potsdam (the only place that Republican Sen. Joe Griffo didn't win in his 2010 campaign) and union stronghold Massena.
One also must wonder where Mr. Griffo goes if he loses Lewis County and parts or all of his stake in St. Lawrence County.
So, the short version of all that is: In one possible scenario, Valesky and DeFran swap territory, Ritchie loses all or part of Oswego and gains in St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.