(Updates throughout with additional analysis of court-drawn map)
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Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are headed for an incumbent-vs-incumbent showdown after a New York court on Saturday imposed new district lines merging many of Nadler’s constituents on the West Side of Manhattan with many of Maloney’s constituents on the East Side.
If the map is allowed to stand, it will guarantee that a long-serving Democrat with seniority and a chairmanship will be forced out of Congress — an extra setback for the party as it tries to avoid losing control of the laws that get passed in Washington. Generally the presidential party loses seats in the midterm election, and this November a net change of five seats would flip the US House majority, and power over President Joe Biden‘s agenda, to Republicans.
Under the new map, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Maloney represents 61% of people in the new 12th District, compared with 39% for Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler.
“Location of the candidate received zero consideration from the court,” acting Supreme Court Justice Patrick F. McAllister wrote in his redistricting order.
“What this map does do is create eight competitive districts in which either party has a reasonable chance to win and three districts in which the Republicans will likely win. On the other hand the Democrats have 15 safe districts,” the order said.
Biden would have won 21 of the 26 reconfigured districts in the 2020 election, though in six of them — the 1st, 3rd, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 22nd — his margin of victory was 10 percentage points or fewer.
Most if not all of those districts could be politically competitive in November.
Donald Trump would have carried five districts, two of them by single digits — the Long Island-based 2nd District of Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R) and the Staten Island-Brooklyn 11th District of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R).
The court-drawn plan is more favorable to Garbarino and Malliotakis than an earlier draft by a contracted expert, Jonathan Cervas, though both districts should be competitive in most elections. The invalidated Democratic map would have given Malliotakis a Democratic-leaning district.
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Cervas said that of the 28 proposed changes that “had some substantial support” in thousands of public comments, he implemented 21 of them wholly or in part. That included consolidating the minority-majority Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in the 8th and 9th Congressional Districts, respectively, and honoring other requests to maintain communities of interest.
“Communities of interest are notoriously difficult to precisely define,” Cervas wrote.
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D), who now represents Rockland County and part of Westchester County north of New York City, said he would seek re-election in the revised 10th District, which includes lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn including Red Hook, Park Slope, and Sunset Park.
Jones doesn’t presently represent any of the population in that district, which former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera have said they’ll seek.
Jones’ hometown of White Plains was drawn into the 16th District, where Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D) represents most of the people. Most of Jones’s constituents were included in the revised 17th District, where Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney lives and is seeking re-election.
New York’s delegation is being reduced by one US House seat after the state’s population grew more slowly over the decade than other states.
The new map could be subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court; or to the state’s highest court, the Appellate Division; or even federal court.
Primary elections under new congressional and state Senate lines, which also were contested in court, are scheduled for Aug. 23. Nominees for statewide offices and posts not covered by the redistricting lawsuit will be selected in separate primaries on June 28.
The case is Harkenrider v. Hochul, N.Y., Decision 4/27/22
With assistance from Keshia Clukey
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at email@example.com