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.
The judge involved in drafting the redistricting plan was more than dismissive of these incumbency-protection claims and there’s a reasonable probability the three-judge panel that will effect the final plan will share a similar view.
The specific objections were all centered around Republican districts, notably adding more Republican voters to the districts of GOP Congressional Members Pete King, Bob Turner, and Michael Grimm in the immediate New York City area. For example, the letter argued for a housing project, likely inclined to vote Democrat, to be removed from Mr. Grimm’s district and for ideologically conservative Russian and Jewish voters to be added back into Mr. Turner’s.
View the full 14-page letter below: