Could Anthony Weiner’s district be spared, thanks to non-partisan redistricting?
Governor Cuomo said his plan to have an independent panel draw legislative lines in New York would replace “a process that has been widely criticized for placing political considerations that protect incumbent office-holders and partisan objectives above the people’s interest in fair and equal representation.”
But the proposal’s biggest supporter, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch said he woudn’t have a problem if Weiner’s seat was drawn out of existence.
“It would be stupid to think there are no political considerations,” Koch told me in an interview. “If you have someone who is under attack for a host of reasons, similar to that of Weiner, and the Democratic Party believes it would lose that seat if Weiner ran, there’s nothing wrong with if they have to give up the seat, to say that’s the seat we will give up. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
Koch, though, did say Weiner could be protected, if redrawing following empirical census information.
“The city hasn’t lost population,” said Koch. “It’s upstate that lost population. So, it may be that they have to look upstate to eliminate two seats; one Democrat and one Republican.”
Another supporter of non-partisan redistricting, Citizens Union executive director Dick Dadey, said there’s always politics in the way legislative lines are drawn.
“Before this revelation, he was assured of having a safe seat. I would imagine that he is now in a position like [Kathy] Hochul, who just got elected” said Dadey, referring to the congresswoman who recently won a surprising victory in New York’s 26th congressional district, near Buffalo.
Dadey said the process of drawing lines under the new plans are “based more on merit but they’re not apolitical. You can never take the politics out of redistricting, whether it’s non-partisan or not. There’s always going to be decisions made who to place up against each other. Those who are not on strong ground are more vulnerable, no matter who draws the line.”
He added, “Non-partisan redistricting is not apolitical.”
For what it’s worth: Weiner doesn’t support non-partisan redistricting.