New York Court Expert Proposes More Republican-Friendly Map (2)

  • Jeffries says map’s impact ‘would make Jim Crow blush’
  • Judiciary chair Nadler among those who’d face incumbents

(Updates with Nadler and Maloney committee titles, and comments from Rep. Jeffries.)

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New York Democrats would have the upper hand in just 16 congressional districts and Republicans would have a strong opportunity to win three or more seats under the map recommended Monday by the state’s court-appointed special master.

The draft map released by Special Master Jonathan Cervas is the foundation for replacing a congressional district plan that was struck down as unconstitutional gerrymandering. If adopted by the state Supreme Court in Steuben County, it would improve GOP prospects for winning a U.S. House majority this fall and for the rest of the decade.

The court can either accept the recommendation or adjust it.

Under the Cervas proposal, Democratic candidates would have an edge in 16 of 26 New York congressional districts, down from 22 Democratic-leaning seats in the version struck down as a gerrymander. Three congressional districts would be Republican leaning, and the map creates seven seats with smaller partisan divides. The state is losing one seat because of population growth in other parts of the country. Democrats now hold 19 of 27 seats.

It would significantly redraw the strongly Democratic districts of Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney. The two have represented New York City for decades, so if the map is adopted in this form the city is guaranteed to lose the clout that comes with the two chairmanships.

Both said on Twitter Monday that they would run in the revised 12th District, where Maloney currently represents 61% of the population and Nadler, 39%.

Source: Dave’s Redistricting

Maloney had a close primary in 2020, winning in the Manhattan portion of her territory while losing Brooklyn and Queens.

The special master’s plan would create an incumbent-versus-incumbent matchup between Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and freshman Democrat Mondaire Jones, and dramatically reshape the seats of some other incumbents.

Maloney said on Twitter that he plans to run in the 17th District, which includes his hometown of Cold Spring, but gets 73% of its population from Jones’ current district.

The proposal includes two mildly pro-Trump districts: the 11th District of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) on Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, and the 1st on eastern Long Island, where Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) isn’t running for re-election and is instead a candidate for governor.

And it would complicate the re-election of first-term Republican Rep. Andrew Garbarino, whose 2nd District on Long Island would get more Democratic-leaning voters.

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It’s unclear what Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) will do. Most of her current district was parceled out to the new 19th and 22nd districts, which are mildly Democratic.

She could seek re-election in the new 23rd District on the Southern Tier, a Republican bastion that doesn’t overlap with her current district.

Map Critics

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat who currently represents the 8th District, said on Twitter that the map “viciously targets historic Black representation” in the state, placing four Black members of Congress in the same district. “This tactic would make Jim Crow blush,” he wrote, adding that the draft is “unacceptable, unconscionable,” and “unconstitutional.”

Adam Kincaid, president and executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, said, “Even the map proposed by Common Cause had a smaller pro-Democrat partisan bias. This map is a step in the right direction, but still unduly favors Democrats.”

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, said the Cervas proposal “divides communities of interest and neighborhoods, particularly in New York City and ignores the cores of the existing congressional districts.”

The maps must be finalized by May 20, according to the court schedule.

Parties will select their nominees for political offices that aren’t part of the court case, including governor, on June 28. The congressional primary and one for state Senate seats were delayed until Aug. 23 after the Legislature’s districts were rejected by the court. Having two primaries means an additional cost to taxpayers.

Democrats had been sorely disappointed by the court-ordered redo. They had been counting on the New York configurationto offset Republican gerrymanders in other states.

The proposed replacement map includes 21 districts that President Joe Biden (D) would have carried in the 2020 election and five that former President Donald Trump (R) would have won. The draft includes seven districts that Biden or Trump would have won by fewer than eight percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, compared with no such competitive districts on the Democrats’ invalidated map.

View the proposed new congressional map HERE.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y. at kclukey@bloomberglaw.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com

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