News Coverage on 2012 Redistricting Cuomo Amendment

Capital Tonight

Redistricting: What’s Next?

Nick Reisman
Wednesday, February 22, 2012


That’s the main question here at the Capitol as we continue to parse through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s words on the subject.


As amplified earlier by Colin Campbell of The New York Observer, the Democrat and Chronicle posted a 14-minute audio clip of Cuomo’s editorial board visit in which he basically admitting that he isn’t going to get what he wants with redistricting this year, namely an independent panel.


Cuomo insisted he tried to press the case, but blamed the Legislature for not going along.


“I’ve done it, they just said no,” he said. “I just lost, is what happened. It’s not that they didn’t hear me, they just said no.”


Cuomo also told the editorial board that he saw progress being made in the form of a Constitutional amendment


“I think we’re making progress and I think it’s going to have support from the people of this state,” he said.


We’ll probably continue that parsing after today’s 12:15 cabinet meeting in the Red Room where the topic of redistricting is sure to be brought up by reporters.


The stakes are highest for the Senate, where Republicans are trying their best to keep and even expand their thin majority, currently at 32-29 with one vacancy.


Senate Democrats continue to press that Cuomo will follow through with his veto and are trying to apply back-channel pressure through minority advocacy groups like the NAACP, the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and others.


Lawmakers want to vote on the maps, at least the already-proposed and revised districts for Senate and Assembly maps by March 1. That means any bill would need to be introduced by Monday in order to comply with the three-day aging requirement (it is highly unlikely Cuomo would issue a message of necessity).


There are a multitude of scenarios and permutations that could be played out in the coming days.

The Democratic-led Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate could possibly fail to reconcile their differences on House lines, producing two different maps that eliminate or merge different districts.


The federal lawsuit on redistricting could be fast-tracked starting Monday, when all sides are due to meet with a magistrate. Democrats hope the judge could start the process right then and there with a special master beginning to draw their own maps that week. That’s very possible, given the June 26 primary date for House elections.


But a lot is riding on whether the governor would follow through with his veto as he and members of his administration continue to insist.


“I think the main question is does the governor want to force a real confrontation,” said Bob Ward of the Rockefeller Institute. “And for that matter, do the courts? Starting with the courts, will the Legislature try to work around, try to do something that the federal court would accept? Or would they try to work around that with an appeal?”




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