While the Assembly Democrats declined to weigh in on the Special Master’s court-drawn map released yesterday, the Senate Republicans had a number of specific issues raised with individual districts. However, despite the judge indicating no desire to protect incumbents whatsoever, the Senate GOP’s legal arguments continued to press the point, along with arguing the need to better conform to tradition and protect select communities of interest.
Unsurprisingly, the Senate Republicans arguments seem to favor Republican incumbents’ reelection chances. For example, with GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s new 11th district, they pushed for public housing to be removed from the seat and for ideologically conservative Orthodox voters in Midwood to be added instead.
“Traditionally, Marlboro Housing Development and Coney Island have been in the same Congressional district. The Proposed Plan, however, places Marlboro indistrict 11, and Coney Island in district 8. Moreover, the Proposed Plan splits Midwood between districts,” they wrote. “To preserve the cores of existing districts and preserve communities ofinterest, Marlboro should be placed in district 8, and in exchange, all of Midwood should be located in District 11.”
Their submission further fought for a district for GOP Congressman Bob Turner, who saw his district sliced up between neighboring districts. They wrote the court’s map failed by “needlessly pairing incumbents Rep. Meeks and Rep. Turner and by creating an unnecessary open seat in light of this pairing (district 6).”
“At the same time, the Proposed Plan fails to respect communities of interest by dividing among a total of four districts (districts 5, 8, 9, and 10) traditional Russian and Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and traditional communities of interest in Far Rockaway Peninsula, Howard Beach, and Ozone Park, which also include substantial Jewish populations,” they contended. “These are communities that were previously unified and should remain unified in Rep. Turner’s district.”
How much significance their letter to the court will have is unknown, but it is unlikely the judge will significantly modify the map in response. However, as both the Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans have called the judge’s map a “template,” for their own negotiations, the Senate Majority’s letter could indicate their redistricting wish list should a compromise map emerge from the Legislature.
Read the full letter below: