The Process is Political: What Republican Win in NY Special Election Means for Redistricting

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York State Congressional districts New York State Congressional districts

Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

New York Special Elections Change Redistricting Bargaining: Democrats scored a surprise win in a Congressional special election in upstate New York in May. Republicans followed up with their own win this week in Brooklyn and Queens. In redistricting, both parties are expected to lose a district as New York sheds two Congressional seats. And so a day after his headline-grabbing win in former Rep. Anthony Weiner's district, Republican Bob Turner could be wise to start lobbying lawmakers in Albany to ask that his seat be preserved. That would mean an upstate Democratic seat would get eliminated to strike a balance. Currently, Democrats hold 21 of New York's Congressional seats, compared to 8 for Republicans. (

StudentsFirst First in Michigan Lobbying: After only recently setting up its lobbying effort in Michigan, the education lobby group set up by former Washington, D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee to limit policies like teacher tenure, spent more than any other group in the state — more than $950,000. But StudentsFirst may look like such a comparative big spender because they just disclosed more information about their public lobbying than other groups. Ninety-five percent of StudentsFirst's spending went to advertising, "spending that likely didn't have to be reported to the state" because the lobbying disclosure law is meant to just track direct interactions with lawmakers. The Michigan Education Association, the largest teacher's union in Michigan that was on other side of many issues from StudentsFirst, reported just over $300,000, but didn't include expenses for mailings or advertising. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network said reporting on advertising is "uneven." (Associated Press)

In Connecticut, House Speaker Helps Decide Redistricting for a Seat He Wants: The top Democrat in the Connecticut House of Representatives, Chris Donovan, sits on a bipartisan panel to redraw district boundaries. He's got a clear interest in monitoring the 5th Congressional district — he just announced his plans to run for that seat in Congress last week. A Republican also running for the seat has called for Donovan to step down from the redistricting committee, calling it "a blatant conflict of interest." Donovan didn't deny that he's got a political interest in the redistricting results, but he argued he's not the only one. ""Every member of the committee is an elected official and therefore naturally political," Donovan said in a statement. "That's what the Constitution requires. Our positions on the committee are entirely appropriate. As speaker, I have a leadership role to play and I am fulfilling that responsibility." (Hartford Courant)


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