Stefanik set to benefit from redrawn district map
ALBANY — Proposed congressional maps for New York, expected to be embraced by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, have the potential to significantly shrink the state’s GOP delegation in Washington.
The maps, expected to win approval in Albany on Wednesday, prompted two upstate Republican incumbents to reboot their plans and announce they will move into revamped districts with an eye towards staying in office.
For an interactive view of the proposed redistricting lines, visit newyork.redistrictingandyou.org.
Candidates change plans
Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-Erie County, said he will run in the revised 24th District. It would include portions of Niagara County and run east from Youngstown to the Thousand Islands region.
Meanwhile, Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, said she will run for a seat in Southern Tier counties that stretch from the northern portion of Broome County into the southwestern corner of New York.
The new map would leave the state with three GOP “super districts” strongly leaning Republican.
Among those benefiting from the proposed changes would be U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville. She is the third-highest ranking member of the Republican House leadership team, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a close ally of former President Donald Trump.
Gives Dems edge
New York’s congressional delegation now has 19 Democrats and eight Republicans. But the proposed maps would give the advantage to Democrats in 22 of the reshaped districts, with Republicans getting the edge in just four.
With the state losing one seat due to slow population growth, Tenney’s current district, the 22nd, was sliced up, and four counties she now represents — Chenango, Cortland, Broome and Tioga — would become part of the proposed 23rd district.
The proposed maps would keep Stefanik, R-Saratoga, the frontrunner in a revised 21st district with even more Republican voters than her current district. The maps showed that Democrats are instead targeting weaker GOP incumbents with the redistricting process rather than pouring major resources into defeating Stefanik.
Tenney, who now lives in New Hartford, signaled she is ready to move into the new 23rd District after it is approved. She heads into the election season with a campaign treasury of $1.1 million.
“Democrats in Albany are targeting me because they know I’ll continue to stand up to (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, (President) Joe Biden and (Governor) Kathy Hochul’s radical agenda,” Tenney said in a statement.
Lose three seats
Overall, the proposed map, if approved by the Legislature, spells problems for state Republicans. The proposal carves out four Republican-leaning seats along with 20 Democratic-leaning districts. Two districts would tilt in favor of Democrats.
The result would be a net loss of three GOP-leaning seats and the scrapping of one very competitive seat from the map drawn a decade ago.
New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy called the proposed maps “a textbook, filthy, partisan gerrymandering” and “a brazen and outrageous attempt at rigging the election.”
But Judith Hunter, chairwoman of the New York State Rural Democratic Conference, suggested Republicans deserve no sympathy.
“It’s a case of crocodile tears,” Hunter told CNHI. “By its voting practices, New York — particularly in the last several cycles — has shown itself to be a thoroughly Democratic state. And it’s only right that the maps reflect that.”
But she and others noted it is possible the proposed maps will become the subject of lawsuits.
Stefanik, under the proposed map, would keep the North Country, but would lose Fort Drum, a large U.S. army installation near Watertown, a portion of Warren County that includes Queensbury.
Stefanik, if re-elected, would pick up all of Schoharie County, now part of the 19th District, and the city of Rome. The new district, as proposed, would give her all of the New York communities along the Vermont border, many of which she already has in her current district.
Fort Drum, in Jefferson County, would become part of the 24th District under the plan.
Vince Casale, a veteran GOP strategist from Otsego County, said the redrawn districts may not play out exactly as Democrats hope they will, predicting the controversy over the state’s bail laws, despite being an Albany issue, will impact voters in the federal elections.
“This is an attempt by Democrats to make as many New York districts blue as they can,” Casale said. “But I think they are making some miscalculations, and they are going to run into some trouble with this.”