News

New Congressional Map For New York Doesn’t Help Democrats As Much As Expected

A bipartisan re-districting committee in New York has approved a new congressional map that makes slight changes to three New York districts but does not affect the rest of the state’s lines in any considerable ways.

New York’s redistricting process has been closely watched as it could have an outsized effect on which party controls the House of Representatives this election cycle.

The new map, proposed by the panel seems to favor Democrats in two of the re-drawn districts, and the GOP in one. The moderate changes are a move to help the new district lines stick, unlike in 2022 when Democrats were embroiled in legal battles after trying to drastically alter congressional districts to shift up to six seats in their favor.

The most significant change would affect New York’s 22nd district, represented by Republican Rep. Brandon Williams. Currently settled over Syracuse, the district would expand to contain blue cities Auburn and Courtland.

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On X, David Wasserman, a redistricting expert for the Cook Political Report in Washington, D.C., cited the redrawing of the 22nd as “the most drastic partisan change in this plan.”

The rest of the changes, however, seem to help the incumbent representatives, be they Democrat or Republican. Democrat Rep. Pat Ryan will have his 18th district stretched north to include Woodstock, and other surrounding Democratic areas. Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro will have his district, New York’s 19th, expanded to include other nearby conservative areas.

The state has been trying to get redistricting done for two years now. In 2022, the redistricting committee could not agree on new lines and passed the task on to state lawmakers. The Democratic-controlled legislature took the opportunity to draw their own map, which highly favored Democrats, jamming Republicans into a few “super districts” and diluting their influence across the state.

Republicans quickly sued for the map to be thrown out. They were successful, even though the legal battle delayed the congressional primaries. A judge eventually assigned an outside expert to come up with a map for 2022. Republicans performed well under those new lines, flipping long-held Democratic seats and winning a narrow majority in the House.

After the election,  the Democrats sued, prolonging the legal battle over the lines. The state’s high court ruled a new map be re-drawn and gave the redistricting committee another chance. This time they reached an agreement, and the new map passed out of the committee, made up of equal parts Democrats and Republicans on a 9-1 vote.

It is now up to the Democratic-controlled state legislature to decide whether to accept the maps or to draw their own and risk further court challenges.

Clark Franzman

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