The newly proposed New York legislative maps released on Sunday contain some unwelcome news for Republican representatives.
“It’s not surprising. The Democrats are drawing the lines. They’re going to draw the lines to benefit their political party as best as they can within the confines of the federal and state constitutional restrictions,” Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told Capital Tonight. “If they don’t, I’m sure the Republicans will challenge them in court and the courts will figure it out.”
State GOP chair Nick Langworthy, who called the maps “brazen” in a statement on Sunday, said that Republicans are reviewing their legal options.
A vote on the maps is expected this week in the Legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would sign them.
If they are approved, there will be significant changes for Republican congressional representatives.
Elise Stefanik (NY-21), for example, will no longer represent a portion of Fort Drum, to which she once brought former President Donald Trump. Claudia Tenney (NY-22) has said she will run in NY-23, which includes very little of her current district, and into which she would have to move if she won. And Chris Jacobs’ (NY-27) possible new district is so large, that if he drove from a western point in his district, Lewiston in Niagara County, to a far eastern point, Alexandria Bay in Jefferson County, it would take just under 4 hours.
“If I were Rep. Jacobs, I would invest in a four-wheel-drive Jeep to make it from northern Buffalo to Watertown,” Horner quipped. “That district is probably as big as some states in terms of the amount of territory he has to cover. It has more of a barbell look. And he’ll have to be fit, too, to sit in the car that long.”
Because of apportionment, New York state has lost its 27th congressional seat, which means that the Democrats are trying to pack as many “red” communities into as few congressional districts as possible.
Some other changes that could affect Republicans include the shifting southward of Rep. John Katko’s (NY-24) seat to include the liberal community of Ithaca, home to both Cornell and Ithaca College. Rep. Katko has already announced he will not run for re-election.
Rep. Tom Reed’s (NY-23) district will expand eastward to include parts of Cortland and Chenango Counties. It will also expand northward to encompass part of Erie County and the communities of Hamburg, Orchard Park and East Aurora, which were in NY-27, Chris Jacobs’ district.
“I want to make clear, just because they draw the lines a certain way doesn’t mean the political party will win, but it certainly helps,” said Horner.
Correction: This has been changed to make the following correction: Congressional Representative Elise Stefanik, NY-21, will still represent a portion of Fort Drum under the newly created redistricting maps.