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New York adopts congressional map that benefits Democrats

The state used court-drawn lines for the 2022 elections

Tom Suozzi, the Democrat who flipped New York’s 3rd District in a special election this month, could have an easier path to reelection under the new map.
Tom Suozzi, the Democrat who flipped New York’s 3rd District in a special election this month, could have an easier path to reelection under the new map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The New York Legislature adopted a new set of congressional district lines Wednesday that appears to modestly benefit Democrats, part of a redistricting process that restarted after a court ruling last year.

The state Assembly and Senate passed the new map Wednesday with bipartisan votes. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that she had signed the map into law.

Jeffrey Wice, a professor at New York Law School and an expert on the state’s redistricting, said the new map may end up netting Democrats one congressional seat over the current map used in the 2022 elections.

The new map makes several changes to that 2022 map, when Republicans gained four seats and control 11 of the state’s 26 seats.

The seats currently held by Republican Reps. Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams, the 19th and 22nd districts respectively, may become more Democratic in the fall, Wice said.

And changes in the 3rd District on Long Island, where Democrat Tom Suozzi flipped control in a special election this month, may make that seat lean more Democratic, primarily by making the state’s GOP-held Long Island seats lean more Republican, Wice said.

“Democrats may feel better out of the starting gate on this one,” Wice said.

The special election was to replace Republican Rep. George Santos, who the House voted to remove from the seat amid legal and ethical troubles.

Wice said that Suozzi’s recent victory in Santos’ district proved Democrats could win even under the court-drawn map.
And he pointed out that turnout among Democrats in 2022 was so bad that Santos “would have been elected under any map” that year.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., praised the Legislature’s passage of the map in a statement Wednesday. He said the court-drawn map contained “inequitable flaws” that the Legislature’s adopted map fixed.

“Today, the state legislature has adopted a bipartisan congressional map that more meaningfully delivers the type of fair representation that the people of New York State deserve,” the statement said.

The new lines came after a ruling last year from the state’s top court, which restarted the redistricting process. The state used court-drawn lines for the 2022 elections after the same state court found the lines drawn by the Democrat-controlled Legislature were an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

Earlier this week the Legislature rejected a compromise map passed by the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission before Democratic lawmakers proposed their own plan, which passed Wednesday.

The Legislature also passed a bill Wednesday that would restrict disputes over the map to a few courts in the state to places like those in New York City, Erie County and Westchester County.

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