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Politics

Proposed NY Political Maps Could Hurt GOP in House Battle

January 31, 2022

ALBANY, NY — Proposed political maps released by the leaders of New York’s Democrat-dominated legislature would give the party an advantage in 22 of of the state’s 26 congressional districts and mean re-election trouble for several Republican members of the US House.

The new maps, released late Sunday, could lead to Democrats picking up as many as three House seats and Republicans losing as many as four in the 2022 election.

An initial vote on the new congressional and legislative maps, which are being redrawn as part of the nation’s once-per-decade redistricting process, could happen within days.

New York is set to lose one seat in the House in 2023, due to slow population growth. Republicans had braced for Democrats to use their dominating majority in the state legislature to redraw district boundaries in a way that would carve up GOP strongholds.

The new maps would do that, forcing several incumbent Republicans to run in districts redrawn to make them far more Democrat-friendly.

In New York City, U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, would have to run in a district stretched to include some of Brooklyn’s most liberal neighborhoods, including the one now home to former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican running for governor, would see his eastern Long Island district stretched, too, to include Democratic suburbs closer to New York City.

The congressional map in upstate New York would be realigned to create three Republican super districts — one of them now home to U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican — but make it tough for the GOP to win anywhere else upstate.

In part, the maps reflect population shifts in the state. New York City, where Democrats dominate, gained 629,000 people in the 2020 Census, while rural upstate areas home to many Republicans saw their populations shrink.

Currently, Republicans hold 8 of New York’s 27 seats in Congress.

New York’s redistricting process is being closely watched nationally because it is one of just a few states where Democrats hope to use their map-drawing power to offset significant gains that Republicans are expected to make elsewhere in the battle for control of the U.S. House.

New York’s new maps were, at least in theory, supposed to have been the product of a bipartisan commission, newly created by voters in a 2014 referendum.

But the commission’s Republican and Democratic members — predictably — couldn’t come to consensus on what the maps should like look like, leaving the legislature free to come up with maps of its own.

Once the maps are approved by the legislature, they may still have to overcome legal challenges. In Ohio, aggrieved groups have persuaded courts to toss out heavily gerrymandered political maps.

Republicans argue Democrats have gone too far to manipulate political boundaries to benefit their party.

Lawmakers face pressure to finalize district maps before March 1, when political candidates can start gathering signatures for petitions to run for office.

Statewide, about 50 percent of registered voters are Democrats and about 22 percent are Republicans.

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