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More Clarity In The New York Redistricting Mess-- Albeit Still A Mess

Pushed by Pelosi-- via pissant DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney-- the New York Democrats made a Florida-like power grab during the redistricting process. But New York's judges aren't as partisan and shameless as Florida's and the New York gerrymander was struck down, as it should have been (and as Florida's deserves to be). The special master appointed to redraw the maps, Jonathan Cervas, seems to have decided to teach the Democratic establishment a good lesson in redistricting etiquette. I doubt they'll try anything like it again. He didn't so much as hand Republicans seats-- although he created several competitive districts-- as discomfort (even screw over) several senior Democrats by tossing them into districts with other Democratic incumbents. Sean Patrick Maloney has become a figure in disrepute inside his own caucus, where more members have come to realize what a terrible mistake they made by agreeing to make him chair of the DCCC.

Late last night a slightly altered map from the one Cervas offered on Monday was approved by a Republican state Supreme Court judge. The final map reunited African-American Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights into single districts and Manhattan's Chinatown and Brooklyn's Sunset Park, put both heavily Asian-American areas in the new 10th district spanning the 2 boroughs. Cervas put Saratoga back into the Albany-Schenectady-Troy district and reunited Kingston, which is now in the same district as Poughkeepsie and Newburgh. Buffalo is also reunited into it's own district.

Reporting for the NY Times this morning, Nick Fandos wrote that "Justice McAllister’s order approving the congressional and additional State Senate maps on Friday makes New York one of the final states in the nation to complete its decennial redistricting process. But both parties were already girding late Friday for the potential for civil rights or political groups to file new, long-shot lawsuits challenging the maps in state or federal court. Justice McAllister used the unusual five-page order to rebut criticisms leveled at Cervas and the court in recent days, as the maps were hastily drafted out of public view. He conceded that the rushed time frame was 'less than ideal' but defended the final maps as 'almost perfectly neutral' with 15 safe Democratic seats, three safe Republican seats and eight swing 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 final map was a stark disappointment for Democrats, who control every lever of power in New York and had entered this year’s decennial redistricting cycle with every expectation of gaining seats that could help hold their House majority. They appeared to be successful in February, when the Legislature adopted a congressional map that would have made their candidates favorites in 22 of 26 districts, an improvement from the 19 Democrats currently hold.
But Republicans sued in state court, and Justice McAllister, a judge in the state’s rural Southern Tier, ruled that the maps violated a 2014 state constitutional amendment outlawing partisan gerrymandering and reforming the mapmaking process in New York. In late April, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld the decision and ordered a court-appointed special master to redraw the lines.

Politicians most impacted by the new maps include Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, who are tossed into the same east-west Manhattan district (NY-12); Mondaire Jones, who is moving from a Westchester-Rockland County district to one that combined south Manhattan with Brooklyn's Park Slope, Red Hook and DUMBO (NY-10), where Bill DeBlasio is also running; and Republicans Claudia Tenney and Chris Jacobs who now each has their own district. Nicole Malliotakis, who's seat has gone from red-leaning (R+7) to too-blue-for-a-Repblican, back to slightly redder than it was originally. Presumably, political opportunist Max Rose (worthless Blue Dog) will go away and allow Brittany Ramos DeBarrios have the nomination, setting up a conservative v progressive contest rather than a conservative vs slightly less conservative contest.

Melanie D'Arrigo's Long Island district has been completely redrawn-- again-- leaving out the nonsensical addition of Bronx and Westchester (and apparently another opportunist, state Senator Alessandra Biaggi). I asked D'Arrigo what the latest iteration of her district, which is slightly bluer than it was on Monday, does to her race. She told me she was "born on the south shore of Long Island, started my family in Queens, and I’m raising my kids in northern Nassau County. The new congressional lines reflect the communities I’ve lived and organized in my entire life, which makes fighting for them personal. NY-03 is a competitive district, and if we want to keep this seat blue and keep the House, we need a candidate who can excite and turn out our base. A conservative, status-quo Democrat will not win here. This moment calls for a Democrat representing the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. A Democrat unafraid to lay out a vision for America at its best and who will relentlessly fight to protect our rights, end the corruption and prioritize working families. Our campaign transcends party lines and embodies the voice of the people-- and the people will win in NY-03.

In announcing his race for the 10th, Mondaire Jones, left one bad guy-- Sean Patrick Maloney-- and one good guy-- Jamaal Bowman-- with safe districts and his own constituents. " The final congressional maps," he said today, "were the result of partisan politics-- drawn by an out-of-state, Republican court appointee who has shown utter disregard for cultural, social, and economic communities of interest. It is designed to reduce the number of Democrats serving New Yorkers in Congress. I have decided to run for another term in Congress in NY-10 to help Democrats maintain their representation in Congress. New York’s 10th district is the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Since long before the Stonewall Uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders. I was proud to be elected as one of the first openly gay, Black members of Congress and I’m excited to make my case for why I’m the right person to lead this district forward and to continue my work in Congress to save our democracy from the threats of the far right."

One of the most productive freshmen Democrats in the House, his campaign noted that he "helped pass the American Rescue Plan, and the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act to deliver critical investments in infrastructure for New York City. I have also worked to increase affordable housing and have led the fight to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and women." A member of both the Judiciary and Education/Labor committees, he has been an inspiring advocate for democracy reform and voting rights, and has authored and championed proposals for universal child care and lowering costs for working families through antitrust legislation.

Members and challengers are shuffling from district to district even today and we'll update this later this week when there is more clarity about who's running where.


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