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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Career Pol Plots

New York State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) has it figured out. The best way for Weprin to be elected New York City comptroller in 2013 is for him to win the Tuesday, Sept. 13 contest to succeed former Rep. Anthony Weiner in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sounds like an odd scenario, right? But my source on Assemblyman Weprin’s projected career path is the Assemblyman himself who, upon learning he’d be the Democratic nominee in this year’s special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District (CD), told The Wall Street Journal he “would be interested in running for [city] comptroller if it were an open seat.” Incumbent city comptroller John Liu has hinted he may run for New York City Mayor in 2013, and that would create the opening.

The backdrop to all this is the once-a-decade redrawing of boundaries for the state’s Congressional, Assembly, and Senate seats, which is what’s driving Assemblyman Weprin’s thinking. New York State today has 29 U.S. House seats, a number that will drop to 27 in 2012. The reason: the 2010 U.S. Census found that New York’s population grew slightly between 2001 and 2010 but not nearly as fast as some Southern and Western states, which will gain U.S. seats (the national figure is fixed at 435 U.S. House Members). As such, the state Legislature must over the next year determine which two U.S. House Members must either retire or find another line of work as their district lines are melded into neighboring CDs. The conventional thinking goes that Rep. Weiner’s crash and burn made the 9th CD a prime target for extinction.

Assemblyman Weprin seemingly shares this view, and the former city Councilman is ready to allocate the time and effort to win a U.S. House seat that will presumably no longer be in existence at year-end 2012, when the balance of Rep. Weiner’s two-year term concludes. Weprin’s thinking: look at the goodwill I’ll build in 2012 as the Congressman representing parts of Queens and Brooklyn, thereby laying the groundwork for the 2013 city comptroller race.

Yup, the outcome of the Sept. 13 Congressional election is a foregone conclusion. The Democrats’ party leaders have determined that Assemblyman Weprin will become Rep. Weprin. The 9th CD’s voters just have to get used to it.

The arrogance of Weprin’s nomination is even more breathtaking when considering Weprin doesn’t even live in the 9th CD. He resides in Holliswood, Queens, a few blocks outside the district’s boundary lines, The New York Times reported. In fairness, I should note the Republicans did the same thing in 2009, tapping upstate Assemblyman James Tedisco for the Congressional seat vacated by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand. Tedisco lost, and his out-of-district residency was a primary reason.

Here’s a scenario that Assemblyman Weprin hasn’t envisioned. The Republican Congressional candidate wins on Sept. 13. And when the time comes to eliminate a downstate Congressional seat in 2012, the GOP-controlled state Senate and the Manhattan-centric Democrats in the state Assembly agree to keep the 9th CD largely intact. The upside for Weprin: he remains in the state Assembly and has time to draw up an alternative escape route from Albany.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net