A guest post from Lynn Krogh and Vince Casale. Look for their “Friendly Fire” segment to be returning to the show and the blog in the near future!
The long awaited new State Assembly and Senate districts were released this week and while the proposed lines are just that – proposed – their arrival has raised much discussion around the Capital District and throughout New York State. From “Congratulations!” to threats of vetoes, resignations and primary fights; the new legislative districts are sure to drum up some great political fodder over the next few weeks. Over the last 24 hours we’ve taken a deeper look (READ: OBSESSED) over the new lines and here is a rundown of who we perceive to be winners and losers from this first go round’ of redistricting:
GOP Senator #63
The Senate created a new 63rd District. The district, actually number 44, is located mostly in the Capitol District encompassing all of Montgomery and Green County and parts of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster Counties. The district, even though it includes the more Democratic areas of Saugerties, Woodstock and Kingston, shouldn’t be enough to overcome the more conservative areas of the remainer of the district. This should be an easy win for the GOP candidate and will help the Senate Republicans retain and perhaps, increase their majority.
The quiet and steady leadership of Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb seems to be indicative of the way the Assembly Republicans have survived this preliminary round of redistricting. Since becoming Leader, Kolb has masterminded a quiet and steady comeback, bringing the conference to it largest minority in years. The Assembly Republicans, with the exception of a couple of blips, saw very little changes in their district lines. In fact, many of their longer serving members increased their enrollment edge in important areas of the state. In the Hudson Valley, we see the creation of new districts and opportunities for fresh blood to enter their ranks.
The Senate Republicans smartly cutting two new districts in New York City. One is carved out as Conservative Jewish District and the other an Asian district. If Republicans can learn to court these two demographics successfully, it could be beneficial to the future of the party, i.e. the recent win by Bob Turner (NY-9). The only set back to this plan could be the recent party enrollment change of New York City Council Member Peter Koo, who is now a Democrat.
Hey this is Albany, and Shelly Silver always seems to come out a winner – even when you’re not really sure exactly how.
Former Mayor Ed Koch
For almost two years, Koch has been soliciting support for Independent redistricting. During the last cycle he handed out several endorsements crowning candidates and elected officials “Heroes of Reform.” But as the time came to collect, the lines were drawn using the same political process as usual with few members calling for reform. It could be due to the fact that most members are happy with their districts and hey, why screw up a good thing? Right? Koch can still hang on to the possibility of a Cuomo veto and push for independent lines, and if he believes that, we’ve got a bridge to sell him… It’s even got his name on it!
When it comes to redistricting, you can always tell who didn’t make out well by who cries “GERRYMANDERING” the loudest. Well, if that’s the case, the Senate Democrats are winners. But with the creation of the two New York City Districts, a new 63rd Senate District, an additional district on Long Island and moves to protect incumbents in the Buffalo area and the Hudson Valley, its left Senate Dems with very little to cheer about. If played correctly it could be a while until the Senate Dems can make a play at becoming the majority in the senate.
NY Congressional Delegation
As if they’re not already in a tough position – elimination of 2 districts, a number of relatively new members, collective low Congressional approval rating, running for re-election in a Presidential year, and now a June 26th Primary date – The members of the New York Congressional Delegation still find themselves without knowing their new districts. This only adds to the angst of what looks like, right this moment, a no-win situation. A few more sleepless nights for our members of Congress lay ahead.
Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney and Assemblyman Pete Lopez
These two upstate Republican members now find themselves residing in the same district, forcing a potential primary match up. Tenney lives in the new district’s western most town in Oneida County and Lopez lives much further Southeast in Schoharie County. The district runs from I-87 in Green County through the Schoharie Valley and narrowly snakes up through the Mohawk Valley with no major highway directly connecting the two. This is clearly a hatchet job, but by whom and for who still remains to be seen. And while initially, both Tenney and Lopez don’t find themselves in the redistricting winner’s column, we know both of them and something tells us that neither will finish as losers in this fight.
Governor Cuomo has said he would veto any lines that weren’t drawn by an independent commission. Now the veto stamp is in his hands. Will he use it and keep his word, continuing in his efforts to try and change the way business is done in Albany? Or will he back off to keep the Senate Republicans who have been helpful to him, happy? Who cares! With a 75+% approval rating, he can do whatever he likes with very little blowback…so We’ll see.
The Same Sex Marriage 4
These are the four New York State Senators (McDonald, Saland, Alesi, Grisanti) who are credited or blamed (depending on your view of the issue) with passing the same sex marriage legislation last June. All four have been showered with campaign contributions for their support and all four have been threatened with the loss of a Conservative Party endorsement. So while all four of their districts have become more Republican, whether that translates into an enrollment incumbent advantage or the opportunity for conservative backlash…We’ll see.
David Storobin and Lew Fidler
Storobin and Fidler are set to faceoff in the March 20th Special Election for the Senate District vacated by disgraced Senator Carl Kruger. On March 21st, one of them will wake up as the new Senator. The problem? Whoever it is will have to move. Neither Storobin, nor Fidler live in the newly drawn district. What does this mean for the Special Election and fall?…We’ll see.
Independent Democratic Caucus
The four members of the IDC (Klien, Savino, Velesky, Carlucci) made out pretty favorably with their new districts. This may have something to do with their indication that they will caucus(for the most part) with the Republican Senate Majority. Will this keep them from getting a major challenge this fall? Will this allow them to reap the rewards of leadership positions in a Republican Majority?…We’ll see.