News Coverage on 2012 Redistricting Cuomo Amendment
Source: Pelosi Gets Involved In NY RedistrictingLiz Benjamin
Concern that the special master’s congressional maps will cost Democrats seats in true blue New York has spurred House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to get involved in the state’s redistricting battle.
According to a high-level Democratic source with knowledge of Pelosi’s efforts, the minority leader has placed calls to both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, urging them not to let the proposal released by US Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann earlier this week become law.
Her argument is twofold, the source said. First, as the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, Pelosi is concerned that “the bulk of people who get hurt – the main Democratic casualties in the court map – are women, namely Reps. Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter.
(Rep. Nita Lowey’s district also takes a big hit in Mann’s plan, but she’s still considered safe, and GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle is also in danger, but that’s House Speaker John Boehner’s problem, not Pelosi’s).
“Every male Democratic member of Congress has a path to run – even in a difficult district – and still win election, but the court’s maps are a real hit to women,” the source said. “They take out Hochul. She’s out of range, and doesn’t come back. Her district is gone. Louise Slaughter goes down to like a 53 percent district, so she’s a casualty…He’s also hearing from women’s groups that if (he) does nothing and lets map go into effect he’s got a concern from them.”
Pelosi is also pointing out that if Cuomo indeed has presidential aspirations, presiding over a Democrat-dominated state that loses Democratic House members in a presidential election year because he declined to get engaged in the House redistricting process will not play well with party insiders. And the fact that New York is the home state of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, who is fighting to win back the majority, losing seats in his own backyard would simply add insult to injury.
The Illinois Democratic governor fought it out for the Democrats,” the source noted. “Even in Missouri a Democratic governor fought it out for Democrats. All over country, Democratic governors have gotten involved and fought for their congressional delegations, and in New York State, a Democratic governor in a Democratic state allows a court map?”
It remains to be seen, however, whether all this is getting through to Cuomo, who so far has been more focused on LATFOR’s legislative lines and wrangling a constitutional amendment deal out of the Senate and Assembly than in meddling with the House lines. As the source said:
“He’s hearing it, yes. Is he listening to it? That remains to be seen…He understrands in theory. He understands the court map would hurt women, would hurt the New York delegation’s clout in Congress, and I think he’d like to see it resolved.”
You could argue that Cuomo dipped a toe in the roiling House redistricting waters through the efforts of state Democratic Party
Chairman Charlie King to broker a deal between the warring Manhattan and Bronx Democratic chairs, Keith Wright and Carl Heastie, over the future of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s district. But a source familiar with how those talks went down insists King was not acting at Cuomo’s behest.