2012-03-09 / Top Stories

Dogfight On Tap For New House District

Congressmen Turner, Meeks In The Ring, Assemblyman Goldfeder In The Wings
By Howard Schwach

The new Congressional lines proposed on Tuesday by a federal magistrate judge set up interesting possibilities for Rockaway, especially since our current 9th District was wiped out in the process, insiders say.

With the state legislature unable to come up with an agreement to redraw the lines and delete two statewide seats, Brooklyn Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann was empowered by a panel of three federal judges to come up with a plan that eliminates two of the 29 Congressional seats.

Mann’s lines call for cutting the Queens and Brooklyn district currently represented by Breezy Point resident Bob Turner and a Hudson Valley district where the current representative is retiring.

The new district that would represent all of Rockaway, to be designated as the 5th District of New York, sweeps down from northern Queens, through Howard Beach and the airport and then takes in all of Broad Channel and the Rockaway peninsula, including the communities in the east end of the peninsula now represented by Congressman Gregory Meeks.

That would set up a battle between the Democrat Meeks, who is under investigation for wrongdoing by both the House of Representatives and other law enforcement agencies, and Turner, who has been in office since the sudden resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was under a cloud due to a sexting scandal.

Insiders told The Wave this week, however, that there is a joker in the deck.

“Senator Charles Schumer, who is the Democratic powerhouse in the state, wants big things for Phil Goldfeder, and you can see that in how the resident rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge was handled,” said a Rockaway Democratic big who asked not to be identified. “Schumer has big things in mind for Goldfeder, and now the new district includes his residence. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. It sets up a primary between Meeks and Goldfeder that, given Meeks’ problems and the growing Orthodox community in Far Rockaway, Goldfeder could win. That would set up a general election with newcomer Bob Turner against newcomer Phil Goldfeder, and all sorts of interesting possibilities.”

Mann’s design needs approval from the federal judicial panel. The legislature can still come up with lines of its own, or use Mann’s lines to hammer out a deal. Turner told reporters that he is in the race no matter what.

“Whatever district I live in, that’s where I am going to run,” he told reporters.

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