2013 mayoral candidates all want to see New York create a new Latino congressional seat

Current congressional lines. (Center for Urban Research)
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Each of the 2013 mayoral candidates has come out in support of the creation of a new majority-Latino congressional district in the current redistricting process.

"I support the creation of a third Congressional District to ensure our growing Latino community is appropriately represented in Washington," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement today.

Noting the Latino population in New York "grew by 8.1 percent" since the 2000 census, Quinn said, "The creation of this new congressional district is the best way to ensure the diverse voting interests of New York City are represented in Congress."

Quinn's statement was released after her likely rivals also publicly declared their support for Latino district.

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Bill Thompson, the former city comptroller and 2009 Democratic nominee for mayor, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer signed a Feb. 23rd letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to ensure a new Latino congressional district is created.

(It may be out of Cuomo's hands now; after the legislature failed to agree on draft congressional lines, a federally appointed master is now in charge of putting a map in place in time for this year's early congressional primaries.)

Stringer also spoke about the issue at a Dominican Independence Day event last night. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was there too and, according to an attendee, he said, "Is the Dominican community ready to go to Congress?" and after a cheer from the crowd, he added, "I think so too!"

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said the creation of the new seat could be done "without significant changes to current 'minority-majority Congressional districts."

City Comptroller John Liu announced his support for creating a new Latino congressional seat during another Dominican Independence Day celebration this week.

Publisher Tom Allon, who is making his first run for office, said he supports the move, but the focus shouldn't just be on the Congress.

"Not only do I support the creation of a Latino congressional district, I think it's long overdue that New York finally has a Latino citywide elected official in 2014," Allon told me.

He went on to praise "great candidates" like Freddy Ferrer, Roberto Ramirez and Herman Badillo," who ran for office in the past, but noted "no one from the Latino community has succeeded in attaining citywide office. I am doing extensive outreach now in the Latino community to see if I can find a Democratic and Liberal party running mate for the office of Public Advocate or Comptroller. I have had some very interesting discussions with leaders in the Latino community and am hoping to find the right person by this summer."

If a new majority-Latino congressional seat is created, it would be New York's third. The district the candidates are advocating would cover parts of northern Manhattan, the south Bronx and a portion of western Queens. (The two Latinos in the current New York delegation are Jose Serrano of the Bronx and Nydia Velazquez, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.)

One likely candidate for a new majority-Latino seat is State Senator Adriano Espaillat who, if elected, would be the first Dominican-American to serve in Congress. Former Bronx Borough President Adoflo Carrion Jr., who is Puerto Rican, is also a possible candidate. Carrion has $1.2 million in his campaign account from his 2009 comptroller race, which preceded his leaving for a job in the Obama administration. He also served one term in the City Council representing a portion of the South Bronx that could be included in the new congressional district.