Governor Andrew Cuomo’s visit to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editorial board last Friday had appeared to settle the dust on whether would he sign or veto the new legislative boundaries. He was probably going to sign them, it surely seemed. However, this morning, his aides are insisting to the Daily News he’ll veto the maps.
Mr. Cuomo told the Democrat and Chronicle the “optimum you could have” is lines that are “less hyper political” and a promise to reform the process for when redistricting next occurs, ten years from now, via an amendment to the New York State Constitution.
These demands could be surely met by the legislature, even though it would make good government advocates yawn, minority groups upset and editorial boards livid. The Senate Republicans, who control the process along with Assembly Democrats, have long been pushing for redistricting reform in 2022 instead of 2012, and their initially proposed lines were grotesque and cynical enough that it’d be hard to change the lines and not make them “less hyper political.”
“[I]n softening his public position, Cuomo is unmistakably laying the groundwork for the possibility of a cop-out that he can sell as something else,” Josh Benson wrote in his analysis of Mr. Cuomo’s thought process yesterday. ”Perhaps he will sign the lines with a show of great reluctance, while also announcing he has secured a promise from the legislature for a constitutional amendment to ensure an independent redistricting process in a decade.”
Mr. Cuomo’s aides apparently did not wish for Mr. Benson’s mentality to set in, as this morning, Ken Lovett reported he “still stands ready to veto the legislative district boundaries drawn by the Legislature,” a confusing development in response to the specific plan he outlined just days before.
The game of parsing Mr. Cuomo’s varying words on the subject is not new, and it looks like it shall continue for yet another day.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he intends to pass the new lines by March 1st. We’ll know then, perhaps, where Mr. Cuomo ultimately stands.