Despite a nationwide “red ripple," the Republican Party saw a wave election in the Empire State on the congressional level with freshman state Assemblyman Mike Lawler toppling the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Sean Patrick Maloney in New York's 17th Congressional District.
Lawler credits redistricting and voters wanting balance in a country, state and region heavily controlled by Democrats as reasons for his win.
Come January, Lawler will represent the district which covers parts or all of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties. According to the political blog Five Thirty Eight, the district is "lean Democratic" and has a Democrat+7 rating.
Due to redistricting, the district, which was mostly represented by Democrat Modaire Jones, also included parts of the district that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney represented. After some political jostling, Maloney ran in the 17th, which included a smaller portion of his current district, while Jones left to run in the 10th District, where he lost the primary to Dan Goldman, who went on to win last week.
There was some confusion created by the redistricting process this cycle. Democrats held a supermajority in both state legislative houses and tried to implement maps that favored their party and could give them safer seats to run in. Those maps were eventually thrown out after a legal challenge went all the way to the state’s highest court. Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the Democrats “fumbled the ball” on this and true reforms are needed. Horner argues that a “truly independent” commission that has full power to draw legislative maps is needed in New York.
With the changing lines and districts, Lawler argues that Maloney lost the incumbency advantage. Lawler said that voters also wanted a balance on Democratic power in D.C., the state government, and in New York City, where many of his new constituents commute to for work.
Lawler said the Republican Party needs to shift its focus away from former President Donald Trump and focus on solving the problems the country faces. In terms of the 2024 election, Lawler says he wants to hear from new voices like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rather than former President Trump.