Let the race begin…again.
Steuben County court appointed special master Jonathan Cervas released final versions of new Congressional and state Senate maps just minutes before his Friday night deadline. Judge Patrick McAllister quickly approved them.
The final maps did include several changes that politicians and members of the public urged including reuniting the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the new 8th District, instead of splitting these neighborhoods between two districts.
Additionally, Cervas revised the map to reunite Manhattan’s Chinatown with Sunset Park in Brooklyn, another heavily Asian American community, in the 10th Congressional District. This means the new district would include more of Congress Member Nydia Velazquez’s old district, but she’s reportedly indicated she intends to run in the new 7th Congressional District.
These two changes appeared to help Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn), in which her 11th Congressional District picked up the more conservative Bensonhurst. This change will most certainly hurt her main Democratic competitor former-rep Max Rose, who was relying on a Democratic gerrymander to him win his old seat back.
Cervas also made changes on Long Island, creating a district largely based on the South Shore in Nassau County.
Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and a non-partisan expert, was enlisted to redraw Congressional and state Senate lines by McAllister. This came after the old Democratic-controlled state legislature drawn lines were tossed out by the state’s highest court, who ruled the lines were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Democrats in the House and Albany’s upper chamber.
Cervas gave New Yorkers anxious to know the shape of their new Congressional and state Senate districts for the next decade a preview of the potential lines by releasing draft maps Monday. Those draft maps mostly resembled the final lines released Friday night, looking to give beleaguered Republicans a shot at reclaiming seats in Congress and the state Senate by increasing both the number of Republican-leaning and competitive districts at both the federal and state levels.
Even before the final maps were revealed Friday, several candidates had either already declared candidacy for or expressed interest in running for new seats outlined in the draft plans.
The most prominent among them is former-Mayor Bill de Blasio, who officially launched his bid for the draft 10th Congressional District Friday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. De Blasio will likely face a packed field of big name New York pols as half-a-dozen current and former lawmakers have already expressed interest in the seat. After the final maps were released Friday, Congress Member Mondaire Jones (D – Westchester) announced on Twitter that he would vy for the new 10th District instead of having to run against another incumbent, Congress Member Sean Patrick Maloney (D – Hudson Valley), for his current Westchester seat.
Some of the many other candidates interested in the new seat include former city Comptroller Scott Stringer – who’s also reportedly interested in a state Senate run, as well as state Senator Simcha Felder (D – Brooklyn) and Assembly Members Jo Anne Simon (D – Brooklyn), Robert Carroll (D – Brooklyn) and Yuh-Line Niou (D – Manhattan). State Senator Brad Hoylman (D – Manhattan), who previously expressed interest in the seat, said he’s going to run for reelection to the Senate instead.
The final maps also upheld the new 12th District that combines the east and west sides of Manhattan, where veteran Congress Members Jerry Nadler (D – Manhattan) and Carolyn Maloney (D Manhattan, Queens) are likely to face off.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include additional information and analysis of the new maps.