“A Redistricting Surprise in New York: A Map That Plays Few Favorites”


When New York’s top court ordered the state to redraw its congressional map late last year, the state’s ruling Democrats were widely expected to exploit the opening to aggressively reshape district lines in their favor.

But on Thursday, a bipartisan state commission created to guide the redistricting process overwhelmingly approved a new proposed map that looks a lot like the current court-drawn map that helped Republicans pick up seats in 2022.

The panel’s 9-to-1 vote now thrusts a politically and legally thorny choice on the state’s Democratic-led Legislature. It can rubber-stamp the compromise, dashing the hopes of Representative Hakeem Jeffries and other Democrats in Washington, or reject it and risk ending up back in court by pushing for more favorable lines.

The answer could have far-reaching consequences for the national fight for control of the House this fall, where New York’s swing seats alone could be enough to tip the contest.

The commission’s map includes modest tweaks that would help Democrats flip one seat in Syracuse, and would most likely make a pair of vulnerable incumbents — one Democrat and one Republican — safer in the Hudson Valley.

But it does not touch lines on Long Island or in Westchester County, both major suburban battlegrounds where Democratic campaigns were looking for a leg up, or on Staten Island, where the party has long coveted a right-leaning seat. Even subtle shifts in those areas could have made a handful of Republican-held seats virtually unwinnable for incumbents in November.

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