Today it was leaked that proposed redistricting maps for New York could redraw the 25th district, which is represented by Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, to include the city of Ithaca. If true, this is terrible news for Republicans and conservatives – especially since the Club for Growth recently gave Buerkle a 92% fiscal conservative rating, which is the best ranking in the state, and among the highest in the House.
The Post Standard reported that the new district lines will need to be approved by a federal judge, and noted the party breakdown in Tompkins County, where Ithaca is located.
The ultimate decision on the shape of the district rests with a federal judge in Brooklyn, who ordered the state Assembly’s Democratic majority and the Senate’s Republican majority to submit their competing plans today. The judge also will consider proposals from the public, including one from the group Common Cause.
Buerkle’s reshaped district would likely benefit her Democratic opponent, either former Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, or Syracuse lawyer Brianne Murphy, who are seeking the Democratic nomination.
Tompkins County had 27,200 enrolled Democrats as of Oct. 19, compared to 14,107 enrolled Republicans.
Buerkle was elected in 2010 by 648 votes, although she lost Onondaga County by eight percentage points. She dominated in Wayne County, Cayuga County and three Monroe County suburbs of Rochester.
Under the proposal to be filed today, Buerkle’s district would retain all of Onondaga County under both the Republican and Democratic plans, according to the sources.
It was not immediately clear whether the district would lose Republican stronghold Wayne County and the northern portion of Cayuga County. Some political analysts have suggested it would make sense for the district to move south and east, picking up Cortland County on the way to Ithaca and Tompkins County. (Read More)
This is weird, as Rep. Richard Hanna’s district currently covers most of Tompkins County, with Ithaca sliced out like it was done with a jigsaw. Without seeing the redrawn maps this is just speculation on my part, but it appears Hanna – whose Club for Growth ranking is a terrible 44% - is being protected by the powers that be in the New York State legislature.
The Democrat and Chronicle has more on the redistricting in New York, but it doesn’t really clear things up.
Rep. Buerkle remains upbeat, and released the following statement when this news broke.
“A story earlier today citing anonymous sources indicated that the current 25th Congressional District could be redrawn to include all of Tompkins County. This is just one step in a lengthy redistricting process and these maps will be presented to a federal judge, who will determine what shape the lines will take by March 12th. I will be on the ballot in 2012 and intend to continue the work I’ve started in Washington. If the results of redistricting require us to introduce myself to a new set of voters, I look forward to carrying my message of smaller government, personal liberty, and economic prosperity across central New York.”
You should contribute to Buerkle’s campaign now, the way things are shaping up this race could be tougher than expected. At the moment we don’t know who she’ll be running against, but it will probably be Dan Maffei. He’s a pretty weak candidate, but the DNC is prepared to spend quite a bit of money in their effort to win this seat back and take back the House.
Update: Cross-posted at Right Wing News.
Update 2: After the maps were released, Congresswoman Buerkle sent a letter to the judge objecting to both versions.