Rep. Weiner: 'No way' downstate N.Y. can lose a House seat

Given the new population data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said he suspects there's "no way" downstate New York can lose a House seat in next year's redistricting process. 

That would make his district, which takes in most of Queens, safe, even though there are rumblings that Weiner could be a redistricting target. 

"If the Census Bureau shows the state gained 2.1 percent [in population], then there's just no way you can take a seat from downstate," Weiner told The Ballot Box. "The math doesn't work. There are just too many people."  

With New York the only state other than Ohio to shed two seats, the posturing among the delegation is already beginning, and downstate Reps. like Weiner and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) are pointing the finger upstate. 

"It seems clear to me that one seat will definitely come from upstate," said Bishop, who emphasized that "the bulk of the population decline" the state has seen is a result of people leaving that area. 

"I guess it's still an open question as to where that second seat will come from, though," said Bishop, who just survived a prolonged and nasty race with Republican Randy Altschuler.   

Democrats in the state would love nothing more than to put the squeeze on some of the newly-elected upstate Republicans, but the GOP is now assured a seat at the redistricting table, given the party's single-seat majority in the state Senate. 

Either way, observers in the state say upstate Democrats are in a good deal of trouble, too. Much of the population loss has come from Western New York, which could put Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Brian Higgens (D-N.Y.) in trouble

"Despite the kind of conventional notion around here that it'll be one seat from upstate, one seat from downstate, one Democrat, one Republican, the straw that stirs the drink is where the people are," said Weiner. "And I do know that Queens, where 70 percent of my district is, has had a population explosion."

Along with the congressional remapping, the state legislative redraw is expected to add to the tension as Democrats are already accusing the GOP of playing politics in the state Senate.

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