Politics

New York judge finalizes congressional map, opening door for Democratic chaos in primary race



A New York judge finalized the state’s congressional and state Senate district maps late Friday night, changing very little from Monday’s proposed map that set off consternation among Democrats.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister appointed Carnegie Mellon University fellow Jonathan Cervas to redraw the new district lines after a batch of DemocratIC-drawn maps were previously rejected.

Justice McAllister in the five-page order disputed criticisms of Mr. Cervas and the court related to the new maps, declaring the new boundaries “almost perfectly neutral” with 15 safe Democratic seats, three safe Republican seats and eight competitive seats.

The new map is stark difference from what New York’s Democratic state legislature attempted to adopt in February which was map featuring 22 safe Democratic seats to four safe Republican seats. New York Democrats presently hold 19 seats.

“Unfortunately, some people have encouraged the public to believe that now the court gets to create its own gerrymandered maps that favor Republicans,” wrote Justice McAllister, a Republican. “Such could not be further from the truth. The court is not politically biased.”

The court-approved maps were released four days after Cervas’ initial map proposal triggered incumbent lawmakers and candidates to declare where they planned to run. In up to five districts, incumbents were potentially facing one another in primaries.

In the final maps, Mr. Cervas made minor changes, pushed by politicians, New York-based interest groups, and individuals, from his original map proposal.

The changes included reuniting the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn in the new 8th Congressional District instead of splitting it up. By doing this, other districts in Brooklyn were altered.

The 11th Congressional District, held by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican, which added the Bensonhurst neighborhood, became a more Republican district.

Mr. Cervas also tweaked the boundaries of Long Island, creating a district  based in Nassau County within its South Shore region.

Other than reuniting Manhattan’s Chinatown with Sunset Park in Brooklyn in the 10th Congressional District, Manhattan’s congressional boundaries were primarily left alone since Mr. Cervas’ map proposal was initially introduced.

This means longtime Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler are set up to primary each other in the new Upper East and Upper West Side 12th Congressional District.

Following the release of the finalized maps, Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Democrat and first-term lawmaker who represents the 17th Congressional District, announced he would run in the newly drawn 10th Congressional District.

“I have decided to run for another term in Congress in #NY10. This is the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Since long before the Stonewall Uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders,” Mr. Jones, a gay man of color, tweeted Saturday.

Mr. Jones was caught up in a conflict with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman, after Mr. Maloney announced Monday he would change districts and run in the same district that Mr. Jones represented this Congress.

Mr. Maloney’s move angered fellow Democrats causing a firestorm of criticism against him. Now, with Mr. Jones deciding to run in the newly drawn Manhattan-Brooklyn 10th Congressional District, both incumbents can avoid a nasty primary, and he will, instead, face former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, among several others in the primary scheduled for August 23.





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