The federal judge chosen to redraw New York state’s congressional district lines released her preliminary map Tuesday, which if approved would set up a showdown between U.S. Reps. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) and Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) in a battle for southern Queens.
The congressional district now represented by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), who was facing a possible challenge from Turner if the lines had been redrawn differently, would be split in half, picking up the northern part of Turner’s district in the west and putting the northeasternmost parts of the borough in a predominantly Long Island district.
The current districts held by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) remain largely unchanged.
According to Magistrate Roanne Mann’s map, Turner’s Breezy Point home and the western section of the Rockaway peninsula would be in the new Congressional District 5, which combines parts of Jamaica Estates, Holliswood and Long Island into Meeks’ current district.
“The redistricting plan introduced today by the special master is just another step in the process,” Turner said. “I am prepared to run in whatever district I reside in once the final lines are adopted and signed by the governor.”
Meeks said that while he did not know what the final lines would look like, if they remain as proposed it is “absolutely correct 1,000 percent” that he would be “running and running hard” for election in the new District 5.
Turner won his current District 9 seat in a special election after disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned amid a sexting scandal. His Republican victory stunned the political establishment in a district that had remained in Democratic hands for generations.
The middle section of Turner’s current district — Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Lindenwood — gets pushed into an area now held by Brooklyn Democrat Ed Towns, and Woodhaven is moved in with Rep. Nydia Velazquez’s (D-Ridgewood) district.
The northern part of Turner’s district — which includes parts of Bayside, Oakland Gardens and Auburndale as well as Fresh Meadows, Utopia, Pomonok, Electchester, Kew Gardens Hill, Briarwood, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale — would go into a new District 6, which will also include Elmhurst, Queensboro Hill, Flushing and Murray Hill.
Ackerman announced Tuesday this is the district where he plans to run for re-election.
“The new 6th CD is a fantastic district in Queens where I grew up, went to public school and college, and started my family and my business,” he said. “It contains my political base and longtime roots, and I have had the privilege of representing approximately 90 percent of it during my 34 years in the state Senate and U.S. Congress.”
State Sen. Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) had previously announced his plans to challenge Turner for his seat and released a statement in response to Mann’s proposal.
“The special master’s lines came out today, and while I can’t predict what the final lines will ultimately look like, the special master’s District 6 is centered around my home and communities that I have represented in the Assembly, on the community board and as a civic leader for over 20 years,” he said. “I look forward to the opportunity to run for Congress when the lines are finalized.”
In northeast Queens, parts of Whitestone, Fort Totten, Bay Terrace, Little Neck, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, Floral Park and Bellerose would be put into a predominantly Long Island district.
Mann was placed in charge of drawing the congressional lines as the result of a lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s impasse on redistricting.
State legislators had until Wednesday morning to make their objections to the current congressional proposal. A three-judge federal court will hold a hearing on the proposal March 15, which is also the deadline for lawmakers to report to the courts on their progress toward redrawing Assembly and Senate district lines.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said rumors about the state’s lines, and when there could be a possible vote on them, change from day to day.
“I don’t lose sleep over it. I do my work regardless of the lines,” he said. “There were a lot of rumors at one point and I was very confident that [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo would veto any proposal drawn by legislators. I’m a lot less confident now.”
Addabbo said even if Cuomo approves the state lines, there are several pending lawsuits that could have the decision sent to the courts.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@
©2012 Community News Group
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