New York Redistricting Proposal Could Bolster GOP Chances

A new congressional districts map for New York has been released by a court-appointed official that removes Democratic Party gerrymandering and appears to improve the electoral outlook of Republicans in this year’s midterm elections.

The new map may even pit some incumbent House Democrats against each other, with new lines putting them in the same redrawn district.

The original redistricting proposed by Democrats took a big chance by aggressively redrawing the map to gerrymander at least three likely Republican seats out of existence. Democrats were likely reacting to expected upcoming GOP gains in red states around the country that threaten the razor-thin Democratic advantage currently in place in the House.

The highest state court in New York acted last month to declare the Democratic map unconstitutional. The court determined that the map violated the state constitution’s prohibition on partisan gerrymandering.

The court also appointed Carnegie Mellon political scientist Jonathan Cervas as a “special master” to act on behalf of the court in drawing a legal map. The Cervas map was released on Monday. It includes eight competitive districts, whereas the Democratic proposal had included only three.

The Cervas map is also drawn to minimize split counties, with only 15 now split between districts. The Democrat proposal had 34 counties split between districts.

Several House races will be affected if the new map is adopted. Two powerful Democrat incumbents, Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, would have to face each other in the Democratic primary because their two districts have been consolidated on the new map.

Seats held by Democratic incumbents Tom Suozzi and Antonio Delgado are likely to become toss-up districts under the new map.

Political reporter Jeff Coltin said that his “quick and messy analysis” shows that the new map is potentially devastating for House Democrats. The new map could now include 12 out of 26 districts that are either safe or in play for Republicans. This year’s House has only seven Republicans from New York.

The map released on Monday is a draft and public comment is being accepted until the final map is due to be filed on Friday. Analysts do not expect significant changes to the map before a final draft is adopted.

The congressional primaries in New York are set to take place on August 23.