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Judge's Proposed Congressional Districts Would Unseat Two Local Congressmen

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TWC News: Federal Judge Unveils New Congressional District Maps
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A federal judge in charge of drawing new Congressional districts released a proposed map Tuesday morning that could dramatically reshape New York’s political landscape.

Because of population changes around the country, New York is set to lose two members of Congress this year, going from 29 seats in the House of Representatives to 27.

Just how those districts would get redrawn and which members of Congress might get squeezed out in the process has been a matter of debate.

This morning, the picture got a lot clearer with the release of a draft proposal from federal magistrate Roanne Mann.

Most districts would remain largely the same, but there are some big changes, including a new Queens district that is almost 40 percent Asian and could leave Democrat Gary Ackerman out of a job.

The biggest potential loser is Republican Bob Turner, who won the special election to fill Anthony Weiner’s seat.

According to the proposed maps, the freshman congressman's district would be eliminated and absorbed into several other districts.

Nevertheless, Turner is not surrendering.

“I’m intent on running. And I hope I don’t have to move, but one way or another, I’m in the fight,” said Turner.

There had also been speculation about Democrat Congressman Charles Rangel’s seat.

His district would now extend well into the Bronx and become more Hispanic.

Queens-Bronx Congressman Joe Crowley, a Democrat, will also have his district encompass more of western Queens and become 45 percent Hispanic.

“I’m not going to comment on lines until this process and the lines are finalized. And then I’ll be happy to come back to you and let you know where I’m running,” said Crowley.

The courts took over the process because of inaction from Albany. However, it is possible state leaders could still strike a deal on new congressional lines, which would take precedence over the judge's maps.

Good-government groups say it is for the best that the magistrate has presented a proposal.

“They’ve drawn maps much more quickly and much more effectively than the official process,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York.

“It shows that when the Legislature’s not involved in the drawing of the maps, you can get fair and balanced lines,” said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.

In any case, new lines have to be in place by March 20, when congressional candidates can begin gathering petition signatures.

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