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Politics

House Race Hotline Spotlight: New York Nicks

March 6, 2012

When New York kicked the redistricting process to a district court, each party caucus in the Legislature submitted a proposal as guidance for the magistrate in charge. The court's map came out today, and it appears to mostly go its own way, changing a few incumbents' reelection chances 8 months before Election Day.

-- This map would likely make Republican Bob Turner's stay in Washington a short one. New York's 9th District was subdivided 7 ways, and he would have to run for reelection against a Democratic incumbent in a district where President Obama carried over 60 percent in 2008. Even after a GOP wave, 128 of 129 Obama 60+ districts are Democratic-held. Turner could theoretically opt to run against Carolyn McCarthy in a friendlier, 44 percent John McCain district, but he has no connection to that area.

-- At the opposite end of the state, another freshman got disappointing news, too. Democrats hoped to shore up Kathy Hochul, but the district's White House lean goes up to 54 percent McCain, from 52 percent. Under this map, she gains more of Erie County, where she was county clerk, but not the Democratic-friendly parts.

-- Independent maps are generally dreaded by incumbents, but this one gave freshman Republican Ann Marie Buerkle as much help as she can get these days. Both the Democratic and GOP legislators' proposals stretched her district down to Democratic-heavy Ithaca, but the court map makes her district compact, and just slightly more Democratic. She's still in danger, but reelection isn't a lost cause.

Amazingly, this may not be the last act in New York's redistricting saga. New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the Legislature might cut a redistricting deal before next week's deadline. Perhaps the tangible threat to its plans will be enough to finally spur New York's legislators into action.

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