Redistricting master Mann makes victims of Gary Ackerman, Bob Turner and Hakeem Jeffries, among others
10:45 am Mar. 6, 2012
Last night, not long after Magistrate Judge and special redistricting master Roanne Mann grilled legislative lawyers about the merits of considering incumbency, she released a set of proposed maps that seems to take the current configuration of congressional districts as a very loose template, but with some significant changes for a number of existing office-holders.
New York currently has 29 congressional districts; thanks to a relative population decrease in the last census, that number has to be reduced to 27.
Mann's maps don't exactly start from scratch, like the ones submitted by the good-government group Common Cause, but they appear to avoid the gerrymandering that legislative leaders traditionally use to provide protection for incumbents from their own parties, and also ignore the dreaded "pairings" that pit officeholders against each other.
Downstate, Mann's map effectively confirms that the rumors about the impending demise of Gary Ackerman's district, which straddles Queens and Nassau Counties, are true. The territory that was in the district will be roughly split between districts in each of the counties. Ackerman has previously said both options would be appealing to him as a candidate, but they each come with their own headaches. To the east, he would face a primary with fellow Democrat Carolyn McCarthy; to the west, he could face a primary challenge from Democratic assemblyman Rory Lancman, who quickly released a statement saying the new 6th district was nicely centered around his home in Queens.
The lines cut close to Republican Peter King's home, and could put him in McCarthy's district too, though he would have the 2nd Congressional District to himself, just to the east. (It's not clear from the map which side of the line King's home is on; he could run in either district, since there's no residency requirement for members of Congress, but it would be potentially uncomfortable for him not to live in the area he represents.)
Mann's map also draws Republican Bob Turner, who won a special election last year, into a heavily African-American southern Queens district with Democratic Representative Gregory Meeks, who would seem to have a significant advantage there.
In Brooklyn, the map expands Carolyn Maloney further into the northern part of the borough, shifting Nydia Velazquez to the south, and stretching Ed Towns all the way to the southern end of the borough. (Maloney's district is also in eastern Manhattan and northwest Queens.)
It also draws Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries out of Towns's district, which would seem to complicate Jeffries' current primary challenge to Towns.
In Manhattan, Mann's map extends Representative Charlie Rangel's district into the south Bronx.
Upstate, Mann appears to have favored keeping cities intact, with Albany, Rochester and Buffalo getting their own representatives.
UPDATE: Ackerman released his own statement, calling the proposed 6th district a "fantastic district in Queens where I grew up, went to public school and college, and started my family and my business," and said he looks forward to representing those constituents for "many more years to come."