New York state Legislature rejects proposed House maps

New York state Legislature rejects proposed House maps

New York state lawmakers voted Monday to reject new congressional districts proposed by a bipartisan commission, creating turmoil for the state’s House delegation.

The New York state Senate voted 40-17 to reject a set of congressional lines offered by the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) while the state Assembly voted 99-47 to reject the map.

New York state lawmakers are now expected to introduce their own set of lines — and a new set of headaches over what the House map will look like ahead of the looming April 4 candidate filing deadline.

The House map introduced by the IRC offered changes largely to three House districts. It would make Rep. Pat Ryan’s (D-N.Y.) seat in the 18th Congressional District and Rep. Marc Molinaro’s (R-N.Y.) seat in the 19th more favorable for their respective parties. It would have also made Rep. Brandon Williams’s (R-N.Y.) seat in the 22nd Congressional District more Democratic-leaning.

The new House map was introduced after Democrats won a lawsuit to allow the IRC a second opportunity to offer a set of congressional lines after they deadlocked last time. A court-appointed special master had drawn up a set of lines used in the November midterms that allowed Republicans to gain a handful of seats, and Democrats were eager to get a redo on that map.

The IRC voted to pass the new map 9-1 earlier this month. New York Republicans favored the IRC’s map, noting that it offered only minor changes to the current House map implemented.

“The Congressional District lines proposed by the IRC represent minor changes to the existing lines imposed by the Harkenrider Court,” New York GOP Chair Ed Cox said in a statement.

“The current congressional districts are the most competitive districts in the nation and resulted because New York Republicans brought action against the illegal gerrymander attempted in 2022 by Democrats in Albany and Washington.”

But state Democrats soon voiced their opposition to the map, creating another headache in the Empire State that had already seen one election cycle disrupted by redistricting challenges.

“We owe it to the public to carefully review these maps, especially in light of serious concerns being raised by various communities of interest,” New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said in a statement.

“The fact that Lee Zeldin — who undermined the foundation of our democracy by trying to overturn the will of the voters on January 6 — endorsed this map should give us all pause and require a thorough examination, which the legislature will now do,” Jacobs said of the former New York congressman and Republican candidate for governor in 2022.

Zeldin was one of dozens of Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The state Legislature’s vote down of the IRC line injects uncertainty into what the congressional lines will look like, potentially impacting where candidates run and if voters have to cast ballots at a later primary date.

Cox blasted the votes, saying in a statement, “Democrats have sought to undermine the redistricting amendment over the last three years.”

“They should have been embarrassed when they were caught redhanded in their unconstitutional gerrymander in 2022. But Albany Democrats are incapable of shame. They again seek to rig elections in back rooms rather than compete at the ballot box,” he continued. “This is a predictable result of a legislature drunk with power that ignores the will of the people.”

The Hill reached out to the state Democratic Party for comment.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.