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Politics

Redrawn District Map Could Hurt Malliotakis Reelection Bid

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis is running for re-election this year and is once again facing Max Rose for the seat that represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. “Democrats in New York have redrawn a key congressional district to give former congressman Max Rose a big advantage in his bid to reclaim the seat from Republican incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis — packing it with more liberal precincts in Brooklyn to counter conservative Staten Island,” political observers told the New York Post on January 31.

“Malliotakis and fellow Republicans charge the fix is in after a ‘bipartisan’ panel all but endured to be at loggerheads failed to come up with a compromise — leaving the redrawing of districts in the hands of the majority Democrats,” the Post reported, adding that “the 11th District currently includes all of Staten Island along with like-minded neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn just on the other side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bath Beach.”

“But in what sources say was a clearly partisan gerrymander to boost a Democrat’s chances of winning the 11th and several other congressional seats, the proposed district snakes from the island to Bay Ridge and then to the northwest to take in the heavily Democratic neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Gowanus and Park Slope — ending at the border of Smith Street, State Street and Flatbush Avenue,” the Post reported, noting that “the move has left the Malliotakis camp crying foul.”

“This is a blatant attempt by the Democrat leadership in Albany to steal this seat, even after New Yorkers voted twice by ballot referendum for non-partisan maps,” Malliotakis campaign spokesman Rob Ryan told the Post. “These are the same cynical politicians that gave us the disastrous bail reform, released criminals from prison, and raised our taxes. They know Congresswoman Malliotakis is popular and they can’t beat her on the merits or public policy, so they are changing the boundaries to tilt the scale.”

Malliotakis “defeated Rose by about 6 percentage points,” the Post reported, noting that the district voted for former president Trump in the 2020 election with 55.3 percent to Joe Biden’s 44.7 percent, but “if the redrawn district were in place in 2020, Biden would have taken about 55 percent of the vote and Trump 45 percent — a reversal at the top of the ticket that would have aided Rose.”

“Independent experts and even Democrats agree that the lines were drawn for maximum partisan advantage,” the Post reported.

“It’s clear that the increase in Democratic voters in the Brooklyn side of the 11th CD is amazing. Cutting the Republican vote in half in Brooklyn is equally amazing,” said Steve Romalewski, director of mapping services at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center who has analyzed the new district, the Post reported, adding that “Romalewski noted that voters approved a 2014 ballot measure calling for a more ‘independent’ redistricting process, but that plan was thrown out the window because of partisan squabbling this year.”

“I don’t think you could find anyone who spoke up at a public hearing saying that Park Slope should be in the same district as Staten Island,” he told the Post.

“Longtime Staten Island Democratic activist Allen Cappelli admitted the redrawn district is a Democratic gerrymander but insists it is ‘no less a gerrymander than what Republicans in charge of redistricting do in states such as Texas,’” the Post reported.

“The party in charge draws the lines to their advantage,” Cappelli told the Post.

“In New York, the Democrats who control the state Senate and Assembly draw the congressional maps every 10 years following the census count,” the Post reported, adding that “Malliotakis campaign spokesman Rob Ryan accused state Democrats of attempting to ‘steal’ the seat.”

State Senator Diane Savino “agreed that the newly carved district is a potential gift and pick-up for Democrats,” the Post reported.

“There are more Democratic-leaning voters on the Brooklyn side of the district. These are high turnout voters. That would benefit a Democratic candidate for Congress,” Savino, a Democrat whose own district includes parts of northern Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, told the Post, noting that “Staten Island still makes up about two-thirds of the voters in the district and that the 11th CD is ‘still a very competitive seat.’”

“It’s not a walk in the park but it’s better turf for any Democrat than it was before,” Savino told the Post.

“Even some Democrats complained the redrawn congressional districts are too unwieldy,” the Post reported, adding that “Long Island Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi is running for governor instead of seeking re-election to the 3rd Congressional district, which has expanded from three to five counties.”

“The 3rd CD currently cuts across the north shore of Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk counties and takes in parts of northeastern Queens,” the Post reported, pointing out that “the redrawn 3rd CD runs from Suffolk and Nassau through Queens to a small piece of the Bronx and then into Westchester County.”

“I understand the goal the legislature is trying to achieve with this map, however I believe it could have been accomplished and served the interests of the residents better by having a more compact 3rd district that’s not spread out over parts of five counties,” Suozzi said.

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