07-07-2011 by Linda S. Carbonell
There will be a special election in New York’s Ninth Congressional District to replace Anthony Weiner. The leaders of the Queens and Brooklyn (Kings) County Democratic Parties are set to announce their choice for a candidate for the seat – State Assemblyman David Weprin.
Weprin, 55, served fro eight years in the New York City Council before being elected to the Assembly in 2010. He ran unsuccessfully for City Comptroller in 2009.
No matter who the Republicans pick to run against Weprin, they are not expected to make a viable run against any Democrat. Had it been left up to Weiner’s constituents, he would still be in the House of Representatives. The 9th is a very secure Democratic seat. The question now is, will the district still exist in 2012.
New York State is going to lose two Congressional seats in 2012 because of the census. There is a commission studying the census data to make recommendations for the reapportionment of the Congressional districts, and in spite of New York Republicans desire to put off the reapportionment until 2022 (can’t happen because of Federal law), the reapportionment must take place in the next six months or so. Of New York’s existing 29 districts, only seven are held by Republicans. One is the New York City borough of Staten Island (with a small part of Brooklyn), one is in the center of Long Island (Peter King’s district). Two follow the Hudson River north from the city around the capital to a point midway up the Vermont border. The other three are in the center of the state and along the Pennsylvania border. New York has made noises about keeping the reapportionment process out of the political arena, and this would give the state the opportunity to make its upstate districts more contiguous and less obviously gerrymandered. Of course, there are plenty of New York Democrats who would love to see the 3rd district absorbed into the 2nd and 4th and Rep. Peter King have to fight for a seat in a district that isn’t so overwhelmingly white.
The reapportionment of Congressional districts is going to bear watching in the next few months. The reason so many Southern states gained seats is because of increased Hispanic populations. As Republican state legislatures have declared war on Hispanics, it will be interesting to see how badly they gerrymander the new districts to prevent Hispanics getting any real power out of this increase in population.