Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New York Democratic lawmakers reject proposed congressional map

New York Democratic lawmakers reject proposed congressional map

Lawmakers in the Democratic-led New York state legislature Monday rejected a new congressional map proposed by an independent redistricting commission, the latest political twist in a state that could play a large role in determining which party wins control of the House.

The New York Senate voted down the map proposal Monday afternoon, followed by the lower chamber.

The rejection of the map is likely to spark a legal challenge ahead of the state’s June 25 primary.

The proposed map was approved earlier this month by the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission. It would have made it easier for Democrats to flip at least one seat this year — that of Rep. Brandon Williams — but otherwise did not make any major changes to district lines used in 2022.

After the commission adopted the map, the district lines drew criticism from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is poised to become speaker if Democrats regain the majority. A spokesman for Jeffries said on Feb. 16 that state lawmakers needed to “meticulously” scrutinize the proposal, particularly whether it protected “historically under-represented communities.”

Democratic leaders in Albany had the option to pass the commission-approved map or try to advance another that is more favorable to their party.

New York congressional map would make modest tweaks to swing House seats

After Republicans picked up four House seats in New York in 2022, the state is shaping up to again be pivotal in determining which party wins control of the House in November’s elections. Democrats need a net gain of four seats nationwide to retake the majority.

In a special election that many saw as a barometer for 2024, Democrats picked up a House seat for the rest of the congressional term earlier this month in New York when former congressman Tom Suozzi won the race to replace Republican George Santos, who was expelled from Congress late last year.

The New York congressional map has been under scrutiny since 2022, when Democrats drew one that was heavily favorable to themselves and the state’s highest court struck it down as unconstitutional.

After the votes Monday, the Republican leader of the New York Senate, Rob Ortt, said in a statement that Democrats were “once again poised to create their own gerrymandered maps in another shameful power grab.”

Colby Itkowitz contributed to this report.

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