New York State Senate Republicans
Friday, March 09, 2012
State Supreme Court Judge Richard Braun agreed to dismiss a lawsuit over Senate Republicans' proposed 63-seat redistricting maps, saying the proposed lines are just that, a proposal, and thus wasn't subject to a constitutional review.
"The controversy in this action/proceeding is simply not ripe for the court's review," Braun wrote in his decision. "At this point, a 63-seat State Senate is merely a recommendation...that may not be enacted by the Legislature or signed into law by the Governor, and thus the matter is not justiciable."
Senate Democrats, who were behind the lawsuit, say the decision today doesn't mean the issue is settled.
"The Judge made it clear that this is simply a procedural move related to timing and if Republicans try to pass their unconstitutional lines containing a 63rd Senate District the Court will be ready to step in," Senate Democratic spokesman Michael Murphy said in a statement.
Senate Republicans haven't released a statement yet but if and when they do we'll update.
Senate Republican spokesperson Scott Reif sent this response: "The size of the Senate is dictated by a formula in the State Constitution, and that formula requires us to add a 63rd seat. We are pleased with this ruling and continue to believe that our plan is legally and constitutionally sound."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The post from yesterday about Senate Republican plans to create a new Orthodox Jewish district in southern Brooklyn received some attention that's worth going back to (not the typos; that I apologize for and have been fixed).
One commentor, mugwump, made this observation:
What this article neglects to mention is that most of the D senators in that area were unopposed in 2010, and this simulator doesn't correct for that since it uses raw vote totals. So what you're saying is that Democrats will win SD-17 if no Republican runs. In reality the number of R votes in the Orthodox seat (and in Golden's as well) is likely to be far higher.
That's a fair point. While working on the piece, I reached out to CUNY Center for Urban Research to see if they could help me figure out if there were more metrics we could look at.
What I got back late last night was a thorough breakdown of the voting registration totals for the proposed districts. Since we can't know the true voting breakdown in an actual election for a district that hasn't been created yet, this is probably the next best metric behind the simulation highlighted in the article yesterday.
According to the state Board of Elections' most current enrollment figures, the 27th Senate District has 83,731 active Democratic enrolled voters, and 25,482 Republicans, with 30,785 unaffiliated enrolled voters. That's 58.1 percent, 17.7 percent, and 21.3 percent of the total enrollment respectively.
According to the analysis by the CUNY folks, the proposed 17th Senate District would have an enrollment that looked like this:
Democrats: 79,003 / 62.1%
Republicans: 19,393 / 15.3%
The CUNY data doesn't provide information on unaffiliated voters.
Now, on a technical note, the numbers LATFOR used for determining voter totals in districts is an older set of enrollment numbers. There are actually more Republican voters and less Democrats in the 27th now--just under 500 less Dems and about 1000 more Republicans.
It's also worth noting that these sorts of numbers are present in the enrollment numbers for the 9th Congressional District, which saw a Republican elected in a special election last year.
That seems to be the playbook Senate Republicans are working with--the right sort of Republican can motivate even Democrats to come on board in the new 17th State Senate district. But if that were a recipe for certain success, you'd have to wonder why Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver feels like keeping the 9th district around.
But I stand by my point: in trying to carve out two districts for Republicans in southern Brooklyn, Senate Republicans increase the chance they'll lose both. As the numbers above show, the new Orthodox Jewish district--all things being equal--would appear to favor a Democratic candidate.
I also mentioned Senator Marty Golden's numbers in yesterday's post. The percentage of Democrats enrolled in the district Golden would represent in the draft maps would increase from 50.4 percent Democrat currently to 51.4 percent in the proposed district.
Again, to be fair: Republicans increased by a nearly equal proportion. But upping the percentage of the opposing party's voters in your incumbents district might not be the best reelection strategy. But more it goes to show that, in a process designed to help those who draw the lines, there's only so much Senate Republicans can do (and you see the real need for a 63rd seat; 62 seats would make the districts even larger, likely bringing even more Ds into places like Golden's district).
The question will be, are they beginning to stretch these districts to the point of breaking?
Friday, February 03, 2012
NYPIRG's Bil Mahoney has a new report out detailing the cash flow into the state political parties. According to his analysis, 127 donors gave $50,000 or more to state-wide candidates and political parties over the past year. These 127 all told gave nearly $17 million. As Mahoney points out:
Many of these donors took advantage of the various loopholes in New York’s campaign finance law: individuals gave more than the $150,000 annual limit by donating to political parties’ housekeeping accounts, and businesses used corporate subsidiaries and multiple LLCs to greatly surpass their corporate $5,000 annual aggregate limit.
And who was the single biggest recipient of these generous donors' bucks?
Of the donors who gave $50,000 or more, Governor Cuomo received the most money: $2,959,426.04 from 79 of these 127.
It's also worth noting that, out of the top ten donors, the Senate Republicans' campaign committee got the single largest donation from seven of them. So while Cuomo may have banked the most overall, Senate Republicans are the most favored political group of the top donors.
The full report is after the jump.