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New York: First Look at New (but Far From Final) Maps
Posted at 8:51 a.m. on March 1, 2012
Updated 12:25 p.m. | It’s no surprise that all the action is in the Big Apple.
The New York state Assembly Democratic majority released a proposed Congressional map late Wednesday that eliminated the upstate district of retiring Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey and pitted freshman Rep. Bob Turner (R) and powerful seven-term Rep. Joe Crowley (D) against each other in the heart of New York City.
Even though more of the newly configured district comes from Turner’s current territory, Crowley would have a substantial edge if there were to be a battle between the two Members.
The Democratic map also draws Rep. Gary Ackerman (D) into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel’s Long Island-based seat and makes Ackerman vulnerable to a primary challenge in his reconstituted district. A map from the state Senate Republicans completely eliminates Ackerman’s district.
Upstate, a big point of contention between the proposed maps is the district of Rep. Kathy Hochul (D), which grows substantially more Democratic under the Assembly plan but remains Republican-leaning under the lines proposed by the state Senate. Vulnerable Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) sees her already Democratic-leaning district grow more Democratic under both plans.
It will be weeks before New Yorkers know the final lines of their new Congressional districts — those are likely to be decided by a judge.
But, for the first time, the Legislature revealed its vision for the new map in New York, which lost two seats in reapportionment. As required by a federal magistrate, the plans were uploaded by midnight.
“Reps. Crowley and Turner share the population with a split of 35 percent from Congressman Crowley’s current district and 46 percent from Congressman Turner’s current district,” the Assembly Democrats explained in a filing with the federal magistrate. The district they would both live in would be numbered as the 5th in the plan.
The map proposed by state Senate Republicans, who control that chamber, would also eliminate Hinchey’s district. But instead of pairing Crowley and Turner, the GOP made the case that the most sensible district to eliminate was the 5th district, currently represented by Ackerman.
The “plan … collapses District 5, the district that was overwhelmingly in Queens but had one of the five Long Island incumbents. It maintains the remaining Long Island and New York City districts in a manner that respects their cores and communities of interest and avoids retrogression of minority voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice,” they wrote.
While the Democrats’ plan leaves Ackerman’s district intact, the way it’s configured — with just 48 percent of his current territory and a very large minority population — leaves him quite vulnerable to a primary challenge.
The fact that he is targeted in both maps means he’s probably in some political trouble.
Ackerman spokesman Jordan Goldes saw the lines in a positive light. “They gave us two fantastic districts. They gave us a fabulous district in Queens with no competition, most of which Congressman Ackerman has represented for 34 years,” he said in a statement to Roll Call. “They also gave us a phenomenal district in Nassau County, most of which he has represented for 20 years. We’re evaluating the pros and cons.”
See the proposed Democratic plan for the Big Apple below: