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51st and New York's ninth district

New York's ninth district will be the scene of a special election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Anthony Weiner for baring his cheat [that would be cheSt and whatever].As multiple questions about budgets, entitlements, jobs and so much more roil Washington, what has emerged as the big issue between the candidates vying for Weiner's old job: When both are pro-Israel, who is more pro-Israel? Who? You decide! Here: the NYTimes has the story.

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Chest?Here's an almost useless Times article on Turner:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/nyregion/bob-turner-is-gop-pick-to-rep... least there's a photo, albeit a terrible one.Since the seat's apparently likely to disappear next year, voters might be more likely to choose Turner as a protest vote against Obama - and also, maybe, as a protest vote against Weprin's pro-gay-marriage vote. On the other hand, Turner's 70 and Weprin's only 55. But maybe advanced age isn't as strong a negative with orthodox voters as it might be with the general population.Interesting that the Times slants this as a joke. Could that be partly as a way of hedging against the possibility that the Democrat will lose?

Oy Vey

I've been told that, due to redistricting, this district might be amalgamated into another and this is all about nothing.NY is 2 lose 2 house seats and FL to gain 2.

Reports are that district 9 will be merged so winning this special election guarantees nothing to the winner. The Democrat is in the NYState Legislature and presumably would have to resign if he won a seat in Congress. Not sure of the political calculations here.

Perhaps, after redistricting, whoever wins will run for the new district. When districts are merged and two current occupants run for the same seat, it's not clear who enjoys the advantage of incumbency. Perhaps the candidates for NY 9 figure that, after redistricting, s/he will have a winning track record, and a political organization in place, in a big part of the new district.

Take a look at District 9; gerrymandered to a T (or maybe a W). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:New_York_District_09_109th_US_Congress...

10, 12 and 5 are roughly the same shape. I do wonder, though, why we prefer simpler, cruder shapes, like a nice square or rectangular congressional district? Because a district encompasses nine complete wards or three intact counties, rather than bits and pieces of sixteen wards or 11 counties, doesn't make it ipso facto more fair. Arguably, the former could also be strategies to disenfranchise minorities, or one of the parties.Perhaps it all goes back to 4th grade math and our struggles with calculating the perimeters of complicated shapes :)

Take a look at District 9; gerrymandered to a T (or maybe a W). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:New_York_District_09_109th_US_Congress...

Do fish vote?

I believe there is an aquarium somewhere in that territory. So perhaps you're on to something.

I was thinking of all that bay water in between the land parts. Of course, they may have gerrymandered that out of district 9, but the map doesn't show that. Fish got rights, too.

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.