Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration suffered a blow today with the release of emails surrounding the selection process of Cathie Black, the one-time schools chancellor who was forced to resign in 2011, after just 95 days in office. Ms. Black, who had no prior educational experience, drew widespread controversy amid a number of missteps. The city fought an extended, unsuccessful legal battle to keep the emails from being subject to a Freedom of Information Law request.
Overall, they detail the city’s public relations efforts to improve Ms. Black’s brand, including outreach to leading female figures like Caroline Kennedy for support. Additionally, the emails reveal debates over how much information about Ms. Black should be provided to reporters.
This afternoon, the Republicans controlling the New York State Senate filed their formal objection to the congressional redistricting plan currently being considered by a three-judge panel, and their arguments directly centered on the need for incumbency protection measures for Republican Representatives.
“Professor Persily generally dismisses the Senate Majority Defendants’ (and other parties’) concerns about ‘respecting the cores of prior districts,’ insisting such claims are merely ‘pretextual arguments for protecting incumbents,’ they wrote in their letter. “As a threshold matter, incumbency protection is a traditional redistricting principle, as Professor Persily himself has previously recognized.”
The letter further argued against placing incumbents politicians in the same districts if at all possible.
“[A]voiding incumbency pairings actually enhances the reality and appearance of judicial impartiality,” they wrote, again contending protecting sitting Representatives should be more highly prioritized in the process.
After much anticipation, the federal courts have released new congressional maps for the State of New York tonight. Assuming the Legislature can’t come to a last minute agreement, the boundaries below will likely represent the redistricting landscape on the federal level for the next ten years.
Last week, the court presented a draft map which contained a number of substantial changes to the electoral landscape. Notably, Congressmen Bob Turner, Maurice Hinchey, and Gary Ackerman saw their districts dismantled. Two of these districts inevitably had to be cut, as New York is required to lose two Congressional Districts this cycle. The plan additionally created a new Asian-plurality district in Queens that Mr. Ackerman has vowed to campaign for.
(Mr. Turner may be currently exploring a possible run for the U.S. Senate and Mr. Hinchey is retiring.)
In typical fashion, the State Legislature released their new redistricting maps for the State Senate and State Assembly in the dark of the night on Sunday in an unreadable 20,000 word textual format instead of actually providing visual map.
The Senate Democrats, however, apparently compiled the data and provided the new State Senate maps to reporters.
“Since the Senate Republicans are content on keeping the public in the dark and concealing the maps that they produced, we will do it for them,” Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy wrote. “Attached you will find the maps which show very clearly that there is virtually no change from their previous proposal.”
Over at Daily Kos Elections, they’ve been analyzing what the new court-proposed congressional map would mean for the partisan makeup of each district and the incumbent it houses. Based on the percentages Barack Obama and John McCain scored in the 2008 presidential race, a number of swing districts have gotten either more or less competitive.
Notably in New York City, GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s district is a touch more conservative, while the new district created in Queens, which both Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Congressman Gary Ackerman have their sights set for, looks solidly Democratic. More of Republican Rep. Bob Turner’s old territory is in this new district than anywhere else, but it would be a significantly uphill battle if he sought reelection there.
View the full breakdown below:
Earlier today, the courts dropped a small bombshell on New York’s Congressional delegation, releasing a “draft” map for the new set of districts. But what does that mean, and what happens next?
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann has given a deadline at 9 a.m. tomorrow for any parties to submit comments. She then has until Monday to submit her plan to a three-judge panel. That panel will then hold a hearing for the parties on March 15th and subsequently order a plan into effect.
David Nir, an attorney who now heads the left-leaning Daily Kos Elections blog that closely monitors redistricting developments across the country, said he expected the three-judge panel would adopt the proposed map wholesale.
“In all likelihood, I’d expect the three-judge panel to adopt the magistrate’s final map with few if any changes,” he told The Politicker. “Given the amount of work the magistrate has put into drafting these maps, and her close familiarity with the new lines, I’d be surprised if the three-judge panel chose to second-guess her.”
One of the interesting twists of the court’s draft proposal for New York’s Congressional lines is the new Asian-plurality district created in Queens, and Democratic Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who had been campaigning against GOP Congressman Bob Turner, just announced he would be likely to shift his focus there should the final boundaries look like the draft map.
“The Special Master’s lines came out today, and while I can’t predict what the final lines will ultimately look like, the Special Master’s district six is centered around my home and communities that I have represented in the Assembly, on the community board and as a civic leader for over twenty years,” he said in a statement this morning.
“I look forward to the opportunity to run for Congress when the lines are finalized,” he added.
The special master involved in redrawing New York’s Congressional districts released the court’s draft map this morning, and certainly not every incumbent is going to be pleased. And, unlike the proposals from the State Assembly and Senate majorities, this draft will likely contain far more legal weight as the process moves forward over the next week.
At first glance, the map appears to eliminate Congressman Bob Turner’s Queens-based seat and Upstate Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s one as well. The map additionally eliminates a Nassau County district, dismantling Rep. Gary Ackerman’s the most.
A new plurality-Asian district is created in Queens, which Mr. Ackerman may choose to run for. However, Congressman Joe Crowley, whose district was converted into a 48% Latino seat with more of the Bronx, might also prefer to run for that new seat as well, should the map hold.