Daily Point

Whose district?

The newly proposed 3rd Congressional District is one of the more tortured creatures on the State Legislature’s maps. What used to cover three counties has now ballooned to five: parts of Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, the Bronx, and Westchester, all ringing Long Island Sound.

So which county or counties can really claim it as theirs?

That’s what campaigns have been scrambling to figure out. The Point has learned of one estimate from Melanie D’Arrigo, the left-leaning Port Washington Democrat who unsuccessfully ran a 2020 primary against incumbent Tom Suozzi, who is not running again in order to pursue a bid for governor.

In the 2020 general election, a presidential year, turnout in the areas that are set to become the new CD3 was 66% from Long Island, 20% Westchester, 11% Queens and 3% the Bronx, according to D’Arrigo campaign estimates.

The Democratic primary electorate this June won’t necessarily be the same but it likely won’t be all that different, multiple campaign operatives and consultants told The Point. D’Arrigo campaign manager Anthony Pavone suggested that during the Democratic primary, an even greater share of voters could be from LI due to what he characterized as normally low Democratic primary turnout in places like Pelham and Rye.

Other Long Island candidates who had launched their races long before the new lines were announced made similar arguments.

Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman observed that LI is a "significant portion" of the district. Public relations executive and Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman joked that he’s looking for friends with boats but also noted that, being from Great Neck, he’d still be "centrally located."

Nassau County Legis. Josh Lafazan’s spokesman Ross Wallenstein noted that a majority of the proposed district’s residents would still be based on the Island.

The unspoken aspect of all this LI-centering is the possibility that a new candidate comes in from mainland New York and disrupts what had been an already-feisty primary to replace the governor’s-mansion-chasing Suozzi. Chief among those potential candidates would be State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester, is a vocal presence on social media and among the state’s young Democratic cohort, and is the granddaughter of longtime former Bronx congressman Mario Biaggi. The younger Biaggi’s spokesman has said she’s "seriously considering" running, an entrance that would add a fairly well-known name to the mix. As a prominent left-leaning candidate, she could also be running in the same lane as progressive-presenting candidates Zimmerman and D’Arrigo.

On the off chance that Biaggi doesn't go for the big prize, other Westchester candidates appear to be already percolating. No matter how distant Smithtown is from Rye.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

The lines change, but redistricting game stays the same

When the newly proposed congressional lines for New York’s redistricting were released this week, they inspired hope, fear, and … nostalgia.

Some of the biggest changes contemplated in the plan were also on the table in 2012, particularly in regard to the 1st District.

Had they been enacted, Tim Bishop might never have lost. Pete King could have timed his retirement differently. And Lee Zeldin might still toil in the State Senate, only dreaming of a gubernatorial run.

The new rendering of the 1st District adds largely Democratic parts of the towns of Islip and Brookhaven along the central spine of the Island, all the way past the Nassau County line. And it would give up highly Republican areas on the South Shore to the 2nd District.

This could make incumbent Republican Andrew Garbarino’s CD2 seat a safe one, and make the Democratic nominee in the 1st a favorite now that GOP incumbent Lee Zeldin has decided against another term in order to run for governor.

But the existing lines nearly never happened.

"I was supposed to have nothing to worry about," former Rep. Peter King told The Point of the 2012 process. "We had maps that I and Steve [Israel], Carolyn [McCarthy] and Tim [Bishop] were all happy with."

But as King remembers it, Charlie Rangel’s anger with the way his Harlem-based, super-safe seat — from which he’d planned to retire soon — was being redrawn in that statewide plan kindled a fight between Dominican, Puerto Rican and Black NYC powers looking to control the seat once Rangel retired. That led then-Assembly Speaker Shelley Silver to oppose the deal.

Israel remembers the Rangel controversy well, and agrees that Silver had a bone to pick, but feels in the end it was more former Gov. Andrew Cuomo who squashed the plan.

"When I asked him to step in and deal with this, Cuomo asked, ‘On what basis should I, as governor, interfere with this congressional redistricting process,' " Israel said. "And he said Silver had problems, and Silver blamed Cuomo, and it got thrown to the courts."

Bishop, who survived the changes in 2012 but succumbed to Zeldin in 2014, said Monday, "The intent then was similar to what it is today: Make the 1st safe for Democrats, and the 3rd and 4th strong for Democrats, too, in exchange for making the 2nd quite red."

And Zeldin, who lost to Bishop under the old lines in 2008 before beating him in 2014 with the new ones?

"They are saying the new lines create a 1st District that Biden carried by 11 points," Zeldin said. "But that’s on the basis of how those people felt and voted in November 2020. If you look at how they felt and voted a year later, in November 2021, that’s a very different story."

Zeldin said that while he knew redistricting could change his race, it did not have any bearing on his decision to leave the House. He also says he has no doubt he could win the 1st under the new lines. And he believes the eventual Republican nominee for his seat will have a much better chance than the Democrats drawing the lines might believe.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Trial by fire

Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune/Steve Breen

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Quick Points

Mixed signals

  • Billie Eilish is the latest big name to decide to bring a tour to UBS Arena at Belmont Park. The latest big name to decide to bring a tour to Nassau Coliseum is … well … there isn’t any.
  • Carlos Beltran will be a broadcaster on 36 New York Yankees games this season. Perhaps they should cue Beltran when it’s his turn to speak by banging on a garbage can.
  • Musicians Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren joined Neil Young in demanding Spotify remove their music to protest the platform continuing to host podcaster Joe Rogan, a notorious purveyor of COVID-19 misinformation. That’s great, but until someone with as much heft as Rogan joins the protest it’s not going anywhere.
  • Former President Donald Trump says that if he runs and is elected again as president, he will pardon the Jan. 6 rioters. Now there’s a campaign rallying cry — for Democrats.
  • Congressional Republicans have not decided whether they will offer a positive agenda in the 2022 campaign. Which might seem sad, but politics is one area where nothing can beat something.
  • UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia would not send 100,000 troops to the Ukraine border if it didn’t intend to use them. Given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demands, the Western world’s scrambling in response, and Monday’s debate at the UN, it’s clear the troops are already being used.
  • After an investigation into Downing Street parties held during times of rigid coronavirus restrictions in Britain found the 16 parties should not have been allowed to take place, embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "I know what the issue is. It’s whether this government can be trusted to deliver. And I say, Mr. Speaker, yes we can be trusted." To deliver parties, perhaps, but what else?
  • Who ever thought Tom Brady’s career would end on a busted play?

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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