(FiveNation.com)- On Monday, a court-appointed expert released a draft of the New York congressional district map far less favorable to Democrats than the original plan approved by lawmakers, putting the party’s election prospects in jeopardy in November.
In February, Democratic majorities in the state legislature approved a map that would have given the party 22 of the state’s 26 congressional seats. This would have countered new maps favoring Republicans in states like Texas, Georgia, and Florida,
where Democrats are hoping to keep control of Congress in the upcoming elections.
However, the state’s highest court recently ruled that the New York plan violated a 2014 constitutional amendment that prohibited gerrymandering or the practice of drawing district lines based on partisan considerations.
As a result, the redistricting process was handed over to Jonathan Cervas, a special master appointed by the court and a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. They released his first draft on Monday. After allowing interested parties to submit comments, a state court is expected to finalize it on Friday.
According to political analysts, the new map could make it difficult for Democrats to keep the 19 seats they currently hold, especially given the national political climate favoring Republicans.
The strategy may also result in some awkward Democratic pairings. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, two long-serving Democratic representatives, had their districts combined into a single seat in Manhattan, potentially forcing them into a primary fight.
Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Party’s congressional campaign chair, announced on Twitter that he would run in a newly reconfigured district currently held by Democratic Representative Mondaire Jones.
In a Republican-leaning cycle, Michael Li, a redistricting expert at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, estimated that Democrats would win as few as 16 or 17 seats but could win 21 or even 22 seats in a Democratic wave.
Republicans only need to gain a majority in the House by flipping five seats across the country in November, allowing them to block much of President Joe Biden’s agenda for the remaining two years of his first term.