Commission passes new New York House map that protects incumbents

Commission passes new New York House map that protects incumbents

New York’s bipartisan redistricting commission approved a new congressional map in a 9-1 vote on Thursday that makes only modest changes to the court-drawn map that was used in 2022.

The heavily Democratic legislature must approve the map before it can take effect, but lawmakers have the option to reject the proposal and draw their own map. Currently, it’s uncertain what Democrats will do, and the legislature isn’t set to return to session until Feb. 26.

However, state Sen. Mike Gianaris, who leads the Senate on redistricting issues, said that lawmakers were prepared to act swiftly if needed. One Senate Democrat, James Skoufis, already expressed his opposition to the maps, calling them a “disgrace.” And Jay Jacobs, the chair of the state Democratic Party and a close ally of Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, warned of “serious concerns being raised” about the new districts, noting that former Rep. Lee Zeldin, who was the GOP’s nominee for governor in 2022, came out in support of the maps.

The new map makes notable changes to just three upstate districts, all of which Joe Biden carried. One incumbent from each party would get a more favorable seat, while one vulnerable Republican would see his district get bluer. No other competitive districts would see any meaningful adjustments.

Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan’s 18th District in the Hudson Valley, which backed Biden by a 53-45 margin, would shift to a 55-44 Biden win, according to data from Dave’s Redistricting App. Directly to the north, freshman Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro’s 19th District would shrink from 51-47 Biden to just 50-48 Biden. And in the Syracuse area, first-term GOP Rep. Brandon Williams’ 22nd District would move a few points to the left, from 53-45 Biden to 55-43 Biden, which would boost Democratic chances against him.

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