A federal judge on Wednesday denied a bid backed by congressional Democrats to preserve the lines drawn by state lawmakers earlier this year for U.S. House districts in New York for a June 28 primary.
Judge Lewis Kaplan called the last-minute effort supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to keep the districts approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul a "hail Mary" for the June primary.
The ruling means a special master appointed by a state court in Steuben County will likely have control of the congressional redistricting process for New York; he is expected to submit new districts for the U.S. House and state Senate districts on May.
The development comes after New York's top state court last month ruled the congressional and state Senate lines were in violation of New York's constitution. The federal decision on Wednesday was praised by Republicans who had challenged the lines in court.
"The DCCC and its leadership continues to learn a hard lesson: the people of New York State adopted strict provisions barring partisan gerrymandering in 2014," said former Republican Rep. John Faso, who has been an advisor to the GOP lawsuit challenging the redistricting maps. "The Democrats have lost in every judicial venue this year. With today’s decision, they’re now 0/4.”
A state judge previously moved the congressional and state Senate party primaries to Aug. 23 as a result of the lines undergoing a revision by the special master. Democrats had argued in federal court the rejection of the districts gave little time for voters, and urged the judge to keep the lawmaker-drawn boundaries in place.
The state Board of Elections in a brief filed this week, however, contended there was enough time to conduct the August primary.
"Though far from ideal, New York is capable of having new lines in time for a primary election," elections officials wrote to the judge. "New York is not unique in moving its primary to make more time. Multiple states this year have moved their primary elections to provide additional time to complete redistricting."