Hochul was elected in a May 2011 special election, and saw the already conservative western New York district turned even redder in the recent redistricting process. 

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The New York congresswoman had taken advantage of the controversial Medicare overhaul that Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump's approval takes hit after failed GOP healthcare plan How the GOP’s ‘Access to Care’ bill cuts down states’ rights Tax reform an important part of pro-consumer energy policy MORE (R-Wis.), the GOP vice presidential nominee this year, had included in the House budget. 

Her victory and campaign had energized Democrats, and fed some speculation that Ryan’s inclusion on the ticket this year could make Medicare a central issue of the presidential campaign. 

But Hochul sought reelection by criticizing the partisanship in Washington, and playing up her bipartisan bona fides. 

Collins, meanwhile, criticized Hochul for her ties to President Obama and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), both unpopular in the newly redrawn district.