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The Informer

Ann Marie Buerkle - a conservative Republican if there ever was one - celebrated her victory Dec. 8 at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center, smack dab in the middle of the 25th Congressional District's biggest bastion of livid liberalism.

Wouldn't it have been more fitting for Ann Marie to have hosted her big bash over in rural Wayne County where she trounced incumbent Dan Maffei 63 to 37 percent?

The Little Sodus Inn certainly could've used the Republican's business.

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Here in Onondaga County Maffei drew 53 percent to Buerkle's 47 percent, but the GOP challenger finished with a winning margin of more than 560 votes, squeezing by the disappointed Democrat by less than three-tenths of 1 percent.

Maybe Ann Marie's throwing the party here to patch things up with the thousands of CNYers who voted against her. Hey, if she parties hearty and doesn't obliterate their Social Security, those Maffei supporters might even vote for her re-election in 2012.

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Back at her victory party, Buerkle showed good taste by hiring a Dixieland band led by Skaneateles banjoman Dick Sheridan.

What sounds like America more than traditional jazz?

Sheridan's sextet performed a swinging version of "America the Beautiful" at the climax of Buerkle's speech, and the combo also fulfilled an audience request for "Darktown Strutters' Ball."

Now that the GOP has apparently regained the majority in the state Senate, will Syracuse Sen. John DeFrancisco be back in the bucks? Dozens of money-strapped area arts and performance groups, which DeFrancisco has long favored with state cultural, heritage and tourism grants, would sure like to get the state gravy train rolling this way again.

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A nemesis of DeFrancisco's, state Sen. Kevin Parker, a downstate Democrat, was convicted Dec. 7 of misdemeanor charges stemming from a confrontation with a photographer for The New York Post, but he was cleared of felony assault charges. Parker is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 27.

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