The plan also left in place a largely Manhattan neighborhood that is expected to lead to a primary between entrenched Democratic representatives. Jerry Nadler and Caroline Maloney. The state primary is August 23.
Democrats hold 19 of New York’s 27 seats and now face the prospect of fiercely competitive primaries in seats that previously saw little competition.
A plan the Democrats signed into law in February would have made them the favorites in 22 of 26 seats, following the loss of a constituency due to population stagnation. Now, Democrats may have advantages on paper in 21 of the 26 districts, but their advantage in several of the seats will be slim.
“Today is a good day for democracy. The Democrats’ plan to rig the election is finally dead beyond revival,” GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement.
The election upheaval comes after maps drawn by Democrats were thrown out of the state’s highest court, and mapping power went to a Republican judge in tiny Steuben County in the upstate and the special master Jonathan Cervas, scholar of Carnegie Mellon University.
Cervas notably removed a Democratic map that included one safe Democratic seat and one safe Republican seat in parts of eastern Long Island, a critical battleground currently held by Republican Representatives. Lee Zeldin and Andre Garbarino.
In his plan, those two Suffolk County districts will now be split between one that Joe Biden won roughly 50% to 41% in 2020 and one that Donald Trump won 51% to 49%. And Zeldin’s seat is open as he runs for governor.
Democrats had originally planned to adjust parts of Brooklyn as the Republican representative. Nicole Malliotakis‘ seat is joined to move the district from where Biden got 44.7% of the vote to where he got 55%. But under Cervas’ plan, it would be a neighborhood where Biden received 46% of the vote, according to a review by the Graduate Center/CUNY Urban Research Center.
One of the most seismic changes to the draft maps released Monday came from Cervas’ decision to end the decades-long practice of dividing Manhattan on an east-west basis. His plan joined Nadler and Maloney in the same seat and created an open one featuring the lower half of the island connected to parts of Brooklyn.
The special master defended the split in a note accompanying his Saturday morning outing.
“The East Side versus West Side distinction tends to break down as we go south,” he wrote. “Furthermore, even the areas of the city bordering opposite sides of Central Park do not appear to be as sharply differentiated in terms of economic and demographic differences as they once were.”
Still, the part of Brooklyn to which the new open seat would be attached was adjusted from its Monday plan, in part due to a ripple effect caused by adjustments to the Democratic representative. Yvette Clarke‘s neighboring district following criticism that the project has split Crown Heights.
But the district’s broad concepts remain largely unchanged from Monday, and the open seat was immediately confirmed to be a Democratic free-for-all with Jones’ late-night announcement.
“I have decided to run for another term in NY-10 Congress,” said Jones, who represents a Westchester-area seat, announced on Twitter at 12:30 a.m. “Since long before the Stonewall uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders.”
Manhattan Assemblyman Yuh-Line Niou is also launching a campaign for the solidly Democratic seat that already includes former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who launched his race before the final cards were even printed. The final list of participants will likely be much longer than that.
Jones’ entry into this race provided immediate clarity for contests in the Hudson Valley, where Democratic Reps. Jamal Bowman and Sean Patrick Maloney are likely to receive their party’s nominations in two districts in the Westchester area.
Maloney, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sparked a firestorm when he announced a race shortly after the maps were released on Monday that breached Jones’ district – leaving Jones the choice of challenging Maloney in a primary or look elsewhere.
Two open seats a little further north that consist largely of parts of the districts currently held by Tenney and Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgadowho is leaving Congress to serve as lieutenant governor, leans Democratic on paper, but will likely be competitive.
After Tenney District was largely dissolved in Democratic maps passed in February, she launched a campaign for a Southern Tier seat that most closely resembled the one held by the incumbent Reed. On Saturday morning, she instead launched a bid for a seat that stretches from Niagara County to the farthest shores of Lake Ontario.
This contains several pieces of the seat held by fellow Republican Jacobs. But Jacobs’ corner of suburban Buffalo was joined with many parts of Reed’s former Southern Tier district that borders Pennsylvania in Cervas’ final maps. Jacobs announced at 1:00 a.m. that he would be running for the seat.
The most popular request Cervas received from the public after his Monday cards was to join Saratoga Springs and Amsterdam (home of Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko) with the parts of the Albany region represented by Tonko.
Cervas made an adjustment: he put Saratoga in the seat, but left Amsterdam as a Republican. representing Elise Stefanik‘s neighborhood. Tonko is still expected to run for the Albany area seat.