Democrats gear up to flip New York seats that went red during redistricting battle

Kathy Hochul, Brian Benjamin, Letitia James, Tom DiNapoli
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, second from left, poses for pictures with Democratic candidates Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, left, State Attorney General Letitia James, second from right, and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli near the end of the New York State Democratic Convention in New York, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig/AP

Democrats gear up to flip New York seats that went red during redistricting battle

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New York Democrats are seeking to reverse their congressional let-downs in 2022 that helped cement the GOP midterm takeover of the House.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) and Attorney General Letitia James (D) backed a recent bid to urge a court to allow the Empire State’s congressional district lines to be retooled while national Democrats ramp up their financial firepower to retake those seats.


“I am committed to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers to fully participate in our electoral system,” Hochul said in a statement. “We are urging the court to support the Constitutionally-protected process in order to ensure accountability and fairness for New York voters.”

Once widely considered the crown jewel of Democrats’ decennial redistricting gains, New York’s apportionment soon turned into political liability after multiple lower courts and, ultimately, the New York Court of Appeals voided it. The high court’s ruling paved the way for a special master, appointed by a lower court judge, to craft the new district contours.

At the heart of the ruling was the Democrat-controlled state legislature’s decision to seize control of the mapmaking process when the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission reached a deadlock. The court of appeals deemed the decision to bypass the IRC and the partisan nature of the map unconstitutional.

Aside from aiding Republicans by making the 2022 races more competitive, the special master congressional map also cemented a Democratic bloodbath by pitting multiple incumbents on a collision course.

Reapportionment traditionally transpires every decade with the new census. In an amicus brief filed Friday in the Appellate Division, Third Department of the New York State Supreme Court, James, and Hochul argued that the special master’s congressional lines were appropriate for the 2022 midterm elections, but the state now has time to generate new maps.

“Our state’s Constitution makes it clear that an independent body, with participation from the general public, is charged with drawing maps for Congressional districts,” James contended. “Relying on a process with no accountability and with limited time for public input is not how we engage the public.”

Four of the Republican flips include New York Republican Reps. George Santos, Anthony D’Esposito, Mike Lawler, and Marc Molinaro. Republicans managed to grow their congressional seat count by nine seats, holding the House 222 to 213.

New York Republicans quickly chastised the move by Democrats to reignite the redistricting feud.

“New York Democrats just seem to HATE democracy. The people of New York will face another nonsensical redistricting scramble due to the never ending search for absolute political power,” Santos tweeted.

“New York has well-established redistricting laws and Kathy Hochul broke them. The district lines should be left alone until 2032 so that representatives in Albany & DC can focus on providing for their constituents rather than on politics and who their next constituents might be,” Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) tweeted.


As the line-drawing battles play out in court, Democrats nationally are sensing vulnerabilities among the Republican pick-ups. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun preemptively funneling money into various ad campaigns, including one linking congressional Republicans in the state to scandal-plagued Santos.

Democrats only need to flip five seats to recapture the House.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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