ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After a commission aimed at taking over the redistricting process from the legislature failed to agree on a set of maps, the job landed back in the hands of lawmakers who released proposed lines that could bring significant changes to upstate representation.
“Congressman Delgado‘s district is going to be a lot different. He’s going to have to schlep out to Binghamton,” explained Blair Horner, Executive Director of New York Public Interest Research Group, “and Congressman Tonko will have to be moving north toward Glens Falls. It has very interesting impacts on each individual district.”
As Horner explained, proposed Congressional District 20 would give Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat, parts of Warren County that are currently represented by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik. However, her seat is still considered safe, in a Republican super district. A bigger challenge is posed for incumbents like Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, whose district would be split multiple ways.
The proposed maps released Sunday could lead to Democrats picking up as many as three House seats, and Republicans losing as many as four in the 2022 election. The congressional map changes could be voted on as early as Wednesday, a spokesperson for the New York Senate Democrats confirmed Monday.
Nick Langworthy, chairman of the GOP, blasted the proposed lines, calling the map “textbook filthy, partisan gerrymandering that is clearly in violation of the New York State Constitution.”
Horner said it shouldn’t come as a shock that things turned out this way, with the deadlocked Independent Redistricting Commission kicking the job back to the Democrat-controlled legislature. “There can be no doubt that these [lines] are gerrymandered,” he said. “Democrats have the political muscle, and they’re drawing the lines. Whether or not it’s illegal, of course—that’s for the courts to figure out.”
In part, the maps reflect population shifts in the state. “Upstate New York lost population, so those districts had to get geographically bigger to capture more people,” Horner said, “and since the state was losing a congressional seat, the districts had to get bigger still.”
The newly drawn lines quickly prompted a campaign announcement from Rep. Tenney. The 22nd district she won narrowly in 2020 would be spread among several districts under the legislature’s proposed maps. She announced Monday she plans to run next in the newly proposed 23rd district, covering Southern Tier counties.
“My family business has been owned and operated in Chenango County since 1946, creating jobs for hundreds of people in our community over the years and contributing to our southern tier economy. Democrats in Albany are targeting me because they know I’ll continue to stand up to Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Kathy Hochul’s radical agenda,” Tenney said in a statement.