With control of the U.S. House on the line, an overhaul of the congressional map in New York could be a boon for Democrats — presenting them with an opportunity to pick up crucial seats.
Several New York Democrats on Capitol Hill praised Thursday’s ruling by a state appellate court, which ordered the state’s map be redrawn by an Independent Redistricting Commission.
What You Need To Know
- A state appellate court Thursday ruled New York's redistricting commission should draw new congressional lines, a victory for Democrats and one Republicans in the state signaled they will work to appeal
- An overhaul of the congressional map in New York could be a boon for Democrats - presenting them with an opportunity to pick up crucial seats, inching them closer to control of the U.S. House
- Rep. Mike Lawler, whose Hudson Valley seat could be in jeopardy if the maps are redrawn, accused Democrats of trying to “rig” the election
- In a statement, House Democrat Leader Hakeem Jeffries called for the redistricting panel to create a map that “fairly reflects the racial, ethnic, cultural, regional and socio-economic diversity” of the state
“It says: let’s follow the state’s constitution. Let’s have the independent commission do their job and finish their job,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks, who also serves as chair of the Queens County Democratic Party.
Republicans in the New York delegation blasted the ruling, which is set to be appealed to the state’s top court.
New York’s current district lines, long criticized by Democrats, were drawn by a court-appointed expert after an extended legal fight last year. The court had rejected lines crafted by the Democrat-led state legislature as unfairly gerrymandered.The final map helped Republicans make inroads, picking up several House seats in competitive districts on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.
Thursday’s ruling, if upheld, would once again give the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature final sign-off on the maps.
“I’m hoping that the legislature — if it goes to that — learned from last time and does its best to keep communities of interest whole while also … drawing lines that are, you know, fair and respond to what the court’s decision was today,” said Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.
If Democrats win control of the House next year, it would set up Brooklyn Democrat Hakeem Jeffries to become the next speaker.
In a statement, Jeffries called for the redistricting panel to “work expeditiously” to create a map that “fairly reflects the racial, ethnic, cultural, regional and socio-economic diversity” of the state.
New York Republicans on Capitol Hill ripped the ruling as a power grab.
Rep. Mike Lawler, who made waves in 2022 by unseating House Democrats’ campaign chief Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, accused Democrats of trying to “rig” the election. His Hudson Valley seat could be in jeopardy if the maps are redrawn.
“Hakeem Jeffries and Albany Democrats know they can’t win on fairly drawn maps, so they’re doing everything in their power to rig the system,” Lawler said in a statement.
Nassau County Republican Anthony D’Esposito, who represents a district President Joe Biden carried by nearly 15 points in 2020, expressed confidence that Republicans could hang on in New York.
He described Democrats as overreaching, saying, “They do realize that there’s no other way for them to win but to play dirty, and that’s what they’re doing now.”
Asked about the ruling and the potential for a new map, Rep. Marc Molinaro said the process will play itself out and he will accept the outcome. His competitive district includes parts of the Hudson Valley, the Capital region and the Southern Tier.
Molinaro is not new to navigating multiple maps. In 2022, he competed in a special election and later a regularly scheduled election for New York’s 19th Congressional District. Both times, the district map was different.
“What I’ve come to learn in New York is never expect what you expect,” he said.