By Sam Foster
The tale from Maggie Haberman at Politico is a telling one (By the way Maggie, I miss your NY blog and congrats on your new baby):
POLITICO has learned that Democratic Reps. Joe Crowley, the Queens County party chairman who also holds a leadership position on the party’s congressional campaign committee, and Brian Higgins, from the Buffalo-based district, have both signed lobbyists to oversee their interests in the decennial remapping process, aides confirmed
Now, I’m sure this isn’t going to be limited to Democrats. However, I think this says something for what seats are about to be eliminated. NY is suppose to have an independent commission do the redrawing, but I think state politicians have a real good idea who’s two seats they are likely to eject and the implications of doing so. Before 2000, Higgins seat was a strong Republican district, but once George Pataki redrew the lines it began a boon for the Democrats.
This doesn’t mean we can’t glean anything. Last time the state redistricted, Dems and Repubs split the two eliminated seats and axed one R and one D. The early flock of Democrats to lobby redistricting would indicate that they believe one of their jobs is up for grabs.
This is just speculation, but I believe Brian Higgins is concerned over the potential for NY-29 getting absorbed. I base my guess on NY-29 on Dem Matt Zeller’s threat during the last election cycle. It seems to make sense. I like Tom Reed, but he’s a congressman that few people recognize in polling, even in his own party. He’s in a safe district now, but if NY-29 were made competitive he’d be at risk. Should NY-29 evaporate, it is likely to affect Higgins in NY-27, Slaughter in NY-28 and the open NY-26 seat.
That covers the Republican seat but not the Democrat seat. I’ve been inclined to believe that the State was going to follow normal modis operandi contain all the electoral pain in Upstate by eliminating NY-23. Frankly, Bill Owens is a politician elected twice by luck and quite frankly it can’t last. However, more than one Queens Dem has been talking about how certain they are that they are not on the short list. Anthony Weiner denied the possibility that Queens would be hit. Yet, it seems that at least one Queens Dem, Crowley, is concerned about how his district will be drawn, leading me to believe Weiner doth protest a bit too much.
In all likelihood, long island Democrat Tim Bishop will be the likely victim. He narrowly won the closest house race in the last election. A missing NY-1 would certainly create a different map for Queens congressmen.
Regardless, I think the fact that Dems are ponying up bucks for lobbyists is a likely indicator that someone on the Democrat deligation is bound for curb.