Redrawn congressional lines dividing Democrats, ‘earthquake’ for New York politics – New York Daily News
ALBANY — New York’s once-a-decade redistricting process has unfolded in protracted court battles, confused voters as well as candidates, and exposed deep divisions within the Democratic Party.
The state’s Congressional and Senate District maps finalized Friday by a court-appointed independent expert set the stage for what will be an incredibly messy primary season as the incumbent Dems face off in several key races around city and state.
The maps crafted by Jonathan Cervas, the court-appointed special master tasked with drawing competitive, nonpartisan districts, follow a Byzantine back-and-forth in the courts that culminated in what the state’s highest court determines. Democrats unconstitutionally in their favor earlier this year.
As a result, critics say communities are being unnecessarily divided and intra-party battle lines are being drawn ahead of the Aug. 23 primary as Democrats desperately hope to retain control of the House.
Longtime Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf described the results of the redistricting mess as an “earthquake for New York politics” that will cause most elected officials to think only of their own preservation.
“People are going to show up to protect their jobs, those really good jobs that pay a lot of money and come with a lot of prestige,” he said. “They’re going to do whatever they have to do for themselves.”
In Manhattan, two longtime lawmakers, Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, are on a collision course after Cervas united their formerly separate Upper East Side and Upper West Side districts.
Nadler announced early last week that he would challenge Maloney in the 12th congressional district after being removed from his own district, which now only covers Lower Manhattan and more of Brooklyn.
On Thursday, Maloney said she has no plans to step down.
“It’s my neighborhood,” she said. “I live in New York 12. I represent him now and will be running for re-election in New York 12.”
The pair of politicians each served in Congress for more than three decades. Maloney was unwavering in his decision to hold on.
“I think we are all going to run alone. Many of us have many challenges,” she said. “As you know, a number of us have gone against each other because they made the decision to move to my district, or to someone else’s district.”
The uptown foray is far from the only showdown on the horizon as Democrats across the state prepare to face off in reconfigured districts.
Even before the lines were finalized, the fractures within the congressional delegation became clear as a representative. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, announced his intention to abandon his current district of the Upper Hudson Valley and run in the 17th district south.
The decision to recruit progressive primary freshman Representative Mondaire Jones drew rebukes from several senior Democratic colleagues and accusations of racism.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has publicly called on Maloney to resign as House Democrat campaign chairman if he goes through with his plan.
“Given the resources he has at his helm, this creates a conflict of interest,” Ocasio-Cortez said. Policy.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, whose own district was redrawn to exclude sections of the North Bronx and now stretches further into Westchester, criticized Maloney and bristled at rumors that Jones should run in his district.
“(Two) two black men who have worked hard to represent their communities, who fight for their constituents in Congress and speak up for the dire needs of our communities should not be pitted against each other, all because the Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a little easier district to himself,” Bowman said. “The Democratic Party should not condone or condone those who attempt to dismantle and tear down black power in Congress.
“The solution is simple. Congressman Maloney is expected to run in his own district. I will run in mine,” he added.
Jones turned the debate upside down by announcing that he will join a crowded group vying for a new seat covering Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
“I am thrilled to show why I am the right person to move this district forward and continue my work in Congress to save our democracy from threats from the far right,” he said.
The newly drawn district has attracted the interest of former Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as several state lawmakers, including State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblyman Robert Carroll, Jo Anne Simon and Yuh-Line Niou.
De Blasio said Friday he was ready to travel to Washington.
“I’m ready right now to serve and solve the issues that run so deep in the communities of Brooklyn and Manhattan,” he said when announcing his run on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
The new boundaries will benefit incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the city’s lone Republican in Congress, since her Staten Island-centric district will no longer include deep blue Park Slope as Dems had proposed.
“Today, democracy has been preserved in New York City through the actions of our state courts and their approval of new district lines for seats in the United States Congress,” Malliotakis said in a statement Saturday. “Allow me also to warn my opponents; whether the Democrats nominate puppet Pelosi Max Rose or AOC contender Brittany Ramos DeBarros, I will defeat them in November.
In Brooklyn, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whose home in Prospect Heights was removed from his district, criticized the new maps for splintering several historically black neighborhoods before the amended maps released Friday.
“That would make Jim Crow blush,” he said.
the brooklyn native fumed that the new maps were compiled by an outside expert appointed at the request of an upstate Republican judge in Steuben County.
“I don’t know where Steuben County is. I had no idea it existed. Neither do the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers,” Jeffries complained last week. “It’s in the village of Bath. Closer to Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Toronto, Canada.
Cervas eventually united Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights into one district.
New York’s redistricting process was meant to be a drama-free affair, as a bipartisan commission was supposed to redraw the state’s political boundaries based on the 2020 census.
Instead, the panel deadlocked, prompting the Democratic-controlled Legislature to propose its own maps, which were declared unconstitutional by the Court of Appeals last month.
This led to the postponement of the state Congressional and Senate primaries to give Cervas time to come up with more competitive districts than those crafted by the Democrats.
Maps drawn by the Legislature would have given Democrats an advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts. Now, the newly proposed lines include eight competitive districts, giving Republicans a shot at winning midterm seats.
“Who controls the House of Representatives can be determined here in New York State,” Sheinkopf said. “That’s how bad it is.”