Redistricting: Let the Speculation Begin

It's columns like this one from Steve Kornacki of PolitickerNY that get me really excited for redistricting: Every indicator suggests that, when all of ...
by | April 23, 2009

It's columns like this one from Steve Kornacki of PolitickerNY that get me really excited for redistricting:

Every indicator suggests that, when all of the counting, recounting and litigating is finally over, Scott Murphy will have defeated Jim Tedisco for the open House seat in the upstate 20th District. But the biggest loser could end up being a Long Islander.

That would be Peter King, the nine-term Republican congressman whose 3rd District is nowhere near the 20th. With Murphy's apparent victory, Democrats have lost what would have been an easy target for Congressional redistricting in 2012, when the state will lose at least one--and probably two--seats.

Had Tedisco prevailed in the historically Republican district, the thinking went, state Democrats would have sought to break it up, maybe throwing some of its G.O.P. areas into Republican John McHugh's 23rd District while pushing some Democratic areas into John Hall's 19th District or Paul Tonko's 21st. Or something like that.

But with Murphy in the seat, Democrats will want to protect it, meaning they'll be in the market for a different G.O.P. district to carve up. And, with just three Republicans left in the New York delegation, King's Long Island district could make an inviting target--especially with the incumbent now flirting with a run for the Senate in 2010.

Likewise, I think it's safe to assume that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Buffalo, then people who are allergic to butterflies are likely to leave upstate New York, meaning a greater proportion of New York's population will live in Downstate, which will result in the creation of a new Hispanic-majority district in New York City.

By the way, Kornacki correctly points out that the key variable ahead of redistricting in New York is who controls the state Senate. The Democrats 32-30 edge looks very precarious, but, of course, the 2010 elections are a long way away.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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