The Fate of Rangel & Engel: More Bronx Redistricting Discussion

7 Mar

From reader Jack commenting on previous post.

Not sure what Mr. Kappstatter means by “Charlie Rangel totally screwed out of the Bronx.” The maps I’ve seen aren’t too precise, but from what I can see Rangel’s district (the 13th under Mann’s numbering) does move up the far west of the Bronx starting along the Harlem River around Highbridge. It starts jutting further east around University Heights, covering all of Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, and Norwood. A lot of us Bronxites in the Northwest move from Engel to Rangel.

Kappstatter is also wrong about “only Riverdale” staying in Engel’s district. The maps show Woodlawn and a significant portion of Wakefield and other east Bronx neighborhoods (can’t tell if it stretches as far as Co-op City — don’t think so. That would be interesting though, since Co-op City is Engel’s original base. He first won a seat in Congress as a Co-Op City guy.)

I imagine Engel isn’t happy with all the money he spent on lobbyists (including the convicted tax evader Nick Spano!) Frankly though — his district was absurdly drawn to maximize his Jewish vote. I don’t see Engel running in Rockland — he was only up that far to capture the Jewish vote. The question is — is his Riverdale base strong enough to carry him in parts of Westchester where people will have never even heard of him. (Except that he camps out for the State of the Union) My question — who would run against him? Stewart-Cousins would seem to have a good base for this district. Who are some of the ambitious pols in lower-Westchester who may be tempted?

Bob Kappstatter responds:

Nita Lowey vs. Engel?

And Jack is right, Engel’s new district would swing across the top of the Bronx over to Co-op City (Darn those small maps!), but it’s questionable whether he could still pull votes from there after Joe Crowley (who would lose it in his new district) has had it for a number of years.

Professional political numbersmeister Jerry Skurnik pointed out to me that “Engel’s present district is only 40% Bronx and he hasn’t faced a serious Westchester or Rockland opponent since 2002.”

As for Charlie Rangel, although the new district DOES cut into a piece of the northwest Bronx, Charlie (who’s father was Puerto Rican) would being running in an overwhelming Latino district (55.1% Hispanic, 35.% black), with a large number of Hispanic electeds already chomping at the bit to run there.

“Carlito” might/maybe squeeze through in a primary if they all pile in and dilute the vote.

Right now, this is all so much political bloviating. We shall see, and let the games begin!

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2 Responses to “The Fate of Rangel & Engel: More Bronx Redistricting Discussion”

  1. Jack March 8, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    There is a really interesting piece in El Diario today from Roberto Pérez. Pérez is reporting an agreement between Keith Wright and Heastie that would lead to the Latino super majority district that many Manhattan-based Dominican leaders (Espaillat, being one of the strongest voices) have been pushing for. The district would be 30% Manhattan, 40% the Bronx and 30% Queens. The deal would also mean Serrano gets part of Queens added to his district. Finally — Pérez also reports that Heastie and BP Diaz would support Espaillat for this seat in Congress.

    Of course all this would still have to get past the court process and a Cuomo veto.

    Personally — I would be against this plan — if for no other reason than the Bronx would lose it’s one “Bronx only” CD if Serrano’s district picks up part of Queens. Secondly — it gets my Bronx ire up just a bit that a plurality Bronx-based district goes to a Manhattan pol! Ugh. That being said — I like Espaillat. Just wish he lived in the Bronx. Maybe the BP and Heastie should hold back their support for a promise that Espaillat would move to the Bronx! Finally — I think a three county split is a really bad and likely to weaken the Bronx-ness of the district. I fear the joint 60% Queens and Manhattan drowning out the Bronx.

  2. GAX March 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    As I understand it, Rangel would become my congressman. What does he actually know about the issues and problems facing my community? This doesn’t sound like progress to me.

    The only advantage I can see is that now he might be interested to be a guest on BronxTalk and that would likely make for a pretty good show.

    But outside of that? What’s the point?

    Also, I haven’t been following too closely, but I understand that the 78th A.D. is being specifically gerry-rigged to include Joel Rivera’s home so he can succeed his father and keep a political job after he’s term-klimited out of the Council. Shouldn’t this be a foucs of Bronx media debate or is this sort of patronage maneuvering so commonplace in the Bronx no one cares anymore?

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