New NY congressional maps look rather dismal for Democrats

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool

The allegedly final version of the new congressional maps for New York State is not due to be officially released until Friday. But the “special master” appointed to draw up the new maps allowed a draft version to be viewed today. As you may recall, state Democrats drew up a heavily gerrymandered map that would have likely given the Democrats three or four more congressional seats, leaving the Republicans with only two or three. That map was rejected multiple times in the courts until this compromise solution was ordered. The Democrats likely won’t be very happy if the final map looks anything like the draft. Instead of gaining three or four seats, they could readily gain none and potentially even lose one depending on turnout levels. As if their battle against the potential red wave wasn’t tough enough already, right? (Politico)

The special master tasked by a Steuben County court with drawing new congressional lines for New York has released a set of draft plans.

Carnegie Mellon fellow Jonathan Cervas, the special master, is expected to finalize his maps by Friday.

His plans would lead to a radically different set of races than those that began to take shape after a different set of maps was enacted by Democrats earlier this year.

You can view the draft of the new map here. There are still a couple of districts that look as if they’ve been tortured a bit if you ask me, but they are nowhere near as bad as the Democrats’ original map.

There is clearly going to be a lot of scrambling among both incumbents and challengers as we previously predicted. But that applies to Democrats as well as Republicans. Some incumbents will wind up going head to head with members of their own party as their homes land in what was formerly another member’s district. One problematic area for the state’s GOP delegation is the location of the district that Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro had been hoping to represent. He was hoping to capture the seat being vacated by Democrat Antonio Delgado, who is leaving to become the state’s Lt. Governor. But Molinaro would now be in a significantly more liberal district.

One Democrat with a problem is Congressman Paul Tonko. His home would now land in the new version of the northern district currently held by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. That district will still lean heavily Republican and Stefanik is very popular up there.

The biggest change, however, is on Long Island. The gerrymandered map would have twisted the region into three Democratic-leaning districts with one heavily Republican one. The new map establishes one clearly Democratic district, one for the Republicans, and two that are projected to be very competitive. In the state and local elections last November, Long Island swung sharply to the right in response to crime rates associated with New York’s bail reform laws. If the GOP can somehow take the two new competitive seats on the Island and do well in the north country, rather than losing three seats, they could potentially gain one.

The Democrats have now come out on the losing end of the gerrymandering wars in at least three states, including Florida and Maryland in addition to New York. And if the red wave does arrive and washes over a number of other states, the Dems’ current slender margin giving them the House majority and the Speakership is looking very, very shakey.