Federal Magistrate Puts Out New Congressional District Lines

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–Ed Towns moves from representing 10th Congressional District to the 8th District —
The 10th Congressional District that incumbent Ed Towns has represented for 32 years will now be the 8th Congressional District according to new congressional boundaries that a federal magistrate proposed earlier this week.

U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann put out the new boundaries after state legislative leaders were unable to come to agreement on redrawn district lines. Mann was empowered by a panel of three federal judges to come up with a plan that eliminates two of the state’s 29 congressional seats as required because of national population shifts over the past decade.

The district is a federally mandated voting rights district and the new lines are 58.1 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic and 22.3 percent white. The total constituency in the district is 717,708 people.

The new boundaries come as Towns is expected to face a tough primary challenge from Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and City Councilman Charles Barron on June 26.
“I really don’t have a problem with the new lines,” said Towns. “It’s a district for minority people to win.”

The new lines, though, could spell trouble for Jeffries as the northern portion of the new district where he is popular and/or already represents in the state legislature including Downtown Brooklyn and parts of DUMBO, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, were given to the newly created 7th Congressional District as part of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s district.

Replacing these portions of the district isa small section of Queens in former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s district, which is one of the two districts eliminated, as well as the southern tip of Brooklyn including Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island.

Jeffries did not return calls at press time.
Meanwhile, Towns said he is waiting to see who actually circulates petitions and gets the necessary 1,250 signatures to run in the primary before he steps his campaign into high gear.
“My experience is a lot of times people verbalize and they waste each others time,” said Towns. “People get drunk in bars and say they’re running. Once the petitions are filed I will debate all the other candidates any time.”

Barron said he also liked the lines as well as his chances of winning the primary.
“We’re hitting the ground running. While they (Towns and Jeffries) are raising money, we’re raising people,” said Barron. “Candidates can come up with endorsements, but my campaign is people-centered with rank-and-file members of the unions.”

Before the lines become official, the federal judicial panel needs to approve Mann’s proposed lines.

Also, the state legislature may come up with their own lines and the matter may ultimately be decided in the courts.

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