New York Redistricting Redux: Competitive Empire State

by Jacob Rubashkin May 25, 2022 · 12:36 PM EDT

It’s been a journey to get to a final congressional map in New York, but it looks as if the maps for 2022, at least, are finally completed.

Democrats in the state legislature had drawn a map designed to help their party flip as many as three GOP-held seats. But a Republican lower court judge said that map was illegal — a decision upheld by the state’s Court of Appeals. Then, a special master was brought in to draw a remedial map. But his first draft, which we covered in the May 20 issue of the newsletter, changed in some significant ways before it was finalized late Friday night.

Democrats currently have a 19-8 advantage in the delegation. New York lost one seat in the decennial reapportionment process. The eliminated seat, the old 22nd District, was GOP-held.

The special master’s map creates pickup opportunities for both parties: Democrats could still flip up to four seats, but also have to defend four vulnerable seats of their own. That means in a truly great year for Republicans, the delegation could be split just 15D-11R. 

That’s a big blow to Democrats’ slim hopes of retaining the House majority, which in part rested on the ability to net three seats in New York using the legislature-drawn map, to help offset losses elsewhere. 

All redistribution statistics cited come from Daily Kos Elections.

1st District
The 1st District has seen some of the most significant changes, draft-to-draft, of any seat in New York during the redistricting process.

In the old map, the district was entirely located in Suffolk County, extending west through Smithtown on the North Shore and Brookhaven on the South Shore. That district voted for Trump, 51-47 percent. In the rejected map passed by the legislature, the 1st shed much of its South Shore area but extended through the middle of Long Island to pick up Plainview, in Nassau County. That iteration would have voted for Joe Biden, 55-43 percent.

The first draft proposed by the special master would have reverted the district to its previous boundaries and partisanship — President Donald Trump would have won it, 52-47 percent.

But the final map shifted the lines yet again. In its final iteration, the 1st still begins at Long Island’s eastern tip. On the North Shore, it extends west all the way through Huntington. On the South Shore, however, it stops at the edge of Southampton rather than continuing through Brookhaven.

The result is a district that would have voted for Biden by just 0.2 percent, 49.4-49.2 percent.

Several Democrats were at one point vying for the party’s nomination in this seat, which is open as GOP incumbent Lee Zeldin is running for governor. But following the release of the final lines, just one contender was left standing: Suffolk County legislator Bridget Fleming, who placed third in the Democratic primary for this seat in 2020.

Fellow Suffolk County legislator Kara Hahn dropped out and endorsed Fleming, while 2020 2nd District nominee Jackie Gordon, who was previously running in this seat, is now running in the 2nd District.

The top-fundraising Republican is Nick LaLota, a Navy veteran and the chief of staff for the Suffolk County Legislature. He has endorsements from the Suffolk County GOP and Conservative Party. He had $266,000 in the bank on March 31, compared to Fleming’s $403,000.

In a good year for Republicans, they should be able to hold this seat, especially after retaking the Suffolk County legislature in local elections last fall. Tilt Republican. 

2nd District
Under the old map, both the 1st and the 2nd were competitive but Republican-leaning districts. In the map passed by the legislature, the 2nd was made into a solidly Republican district (Trump 57-42 percent) by extending east through Quogue in order to make the 1st District a more Democratic seat.

But in the first draft proposed by the special master, the 2nd changed from an east-west district running along the South Shore to a north-south district that extended from Huntington south to Lindhurst and Islip.This iteration would have leaned Democratic, having voted for Biden, 52-46 percent.

Then, in the final map approved by the court, the 2nd changed once again, giving up its North Shore portions and reverting to an east-west district that runs along the South Shore from Massapequa through the southern half of Brookhaven. Trump would have carried this new district by 1 point, 50-49 percent.

Jackie Gordon, who was the Democratic nominee for the 2nd in 2020 and lost, 53-46 percent, is running here. She’ll face a rematch against now-Rep. Andrew Garbarino. Lean Republican.


3rd District
Under the old map, the 3rd District ran west from the edge of Smithtown along the North Shore, through Huntington, north Oyster Bay, Glen Cove, North Hempstead, and into a sliver of Queens.

The legislature-drawn map saw the 3rd extend into Smithtown, shed some of Oyster Bay and Huntington, and most notably, cross the Long Island Sound to pick up some of the Bronx and Westchester. That would have made the district 4 points more Democratic.

But the first draft of the special master map removed the Bronx and Westchester portions of the district, as well as the Smithtown and Huntington pieces, and extended the district further into Queens, and south through the rest of Oyster Bay to Massapequa on the South Shore. That district would have voted for Biden by just 5 points.

In the final map, the 3rd is at its most compact form. It includes all of Oyster Bay north of Massapequa, all of Glen Cove and North Hempstead, and some parts of Queens (Beechurst, Douglaston, Queens Village). It would have voted for Biden by 8 points, 53-45 percent.

Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi is running for governor, so this is an open seat, and several Democrats are running to replace him. Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan, Democratic National Committeeman Rob Zimmerman, former North Hempstead town supervisor Jon Kaiman, entrepreneur Reema Rasool, and 2020 candidate Melanie D'Arrigo are all running. 

The most prominent Republican in the field is 2020 nominee George Santos, who lost to Suozzi by 13 points that year. Lean Democratic. 

4th District
The 4th, which is open due to Democrat Kathleen Rice’s retirement, has largely stayed contiguous with the Town of Hempstead throughout the entire redistricting process. Its final iteration expands to fill all of Hempstead except for Levittown in the northeast corner.

Former Hempstead town supervisor Laura Gillen is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, with backing from Rice and several powerful unions, but Nassau County legislators Carrié Solages and Siela Bynoe are also running, as is Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett. Tech entrepreneur Bill Staniford and Hempstead Town Board member Anthony D’Esposito are running as Republicans. 

The new district would have voted for Biden, 57-42 percent. Solid Democratic.

5th District
The 5th District is largely unchanged. It still includes the Rockaways, up through JFK Airport and Jamaica in Queens. Biden would have carried it with 81 percent of the vote, so Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks will be fine. Solid Democratic.

6th District
This northeastern Queens seat still includes Flushing, plus Elmhurst, Glendale, all the way east to Oak Gardens; 81 percent of the new district comes from the old lines used last decade. The district is still plurality-Asian American, and would have voted for Biden, 65-34 percent, so Rep. Grace Meng looks set for re-election. Solid Democratic.

7th District
The 7th saw its borders changed significantly by the special master — just 49 percent of the new district overlaps with the old 7th District, which stretched from Woodhaven in Queens west through Bushwick in Brooklyn, over the river to the Lower East Side, and then along the East River from Dumbo down through Gowanus and terminating in Sunset Park.

The new map still begins near Ozone Park in Queens but includes much more of Queens, north through Long Island City approaching Astoria. It also includes all of Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but terminates in Clinton Hill rather than extending further south as it used to.

Democratic Rep. Nydia Velazquez will run here. Biden would have won with 81 percent of the vote. Solid Democratic. 

8th District
The 8th still curves from Coney Island east and north up Jamaica Bay before turning inward toward Bed-Stuy, though it now includes Brownsville as well. Biden would have carried it, 76-23 percent, so Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is set for re-election. Solid Democratic.

9th District
While the old 9th descended due south from Crown Heights and Brownsville to Gerritsen Beach, the new 9th instead descends southwest from Crown Heights through Midwood. Biden would have carried it, 75-24 percent, so the real danger for incumbent Yvette Clarke is in a primary, where she’s had to fend off challengers her last two elections. This time around, her only announced opponent is Isiah James, who won 10 percent of the vote in the 2020 Democratic primary. Solid Democratic.

10th District
Undoubtedly the biggest change on the map, the new 10th District is a wholly original creation of the special master. Cobbled together from five old districts — 45 percent from the old 7th, 2 percent from the old 8th, 10 percent from the old 9th, 28 percent from the old 10th, and 14 percent from the old 12th — the new 10th spans all of Manhattan south of roughly 17th Street, and Brooklyn along the East River from Dumbo inward to Prospect Heights and Park Slope and south to Borough Park and Bay Ridge.

There is no incumbent in this race — though 17th District Rep. Mondaire Jones, whose seat is worlds away in White Plains and Rockland County, has said he will run here after being forced out of the new 17th District by DCCC chairman Sean Patrick Maloney. Jones will join a crowded field that already includes former Mayor Bill de Blasio, state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and city councilwoman Carlina Rivera. Still more could join, including state Sen. Simcha Felder, former House Democrats’ impeachment counsel Dan Goldman, state Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and even 80-year-old former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman. 

Whoever emerges from the primary will be the prohibitive favorite in the district, which Biden would have carried with 85 percent. Solid Democratic.

11th District
Perhaps the biggest winner in the special master re-do is GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. The state legislature had drawn her Staten Island district to be significantly more Democratic, shifting from a Trump +11 seat to a Biden +9 seat by extending it into uber-liberal Park Slope in Brooklyn. 

The special master map is much closer to the old map — in Brooklyn the 11th sheds Gravesend and picks up Bay Ridge but is otherwise unchanged; 86 percent of the new seat overlaps with the old seat, and the district would have voted for Trump, 53-46 percent. 

It’s not impossible territory for Democrats — in 2018 Gov. Andrew Cuomo carried it, 53-45, as did Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (55-45 percent) — and they have a good candidate in former Rep. Max Rose, who lost to Malliotakis in 2020. But it’s an uphill climb in a bad national environment. Likely Republican.

12th District
For the first time in a century, New York’s map combines Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side. That means two longtime members, both mainstays in local politics and heavyweights on Capitol Hill, will face each other in the Democratic primary: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who currently represents the Upper West Side, and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, from the Upper East Side.

The new 12th is all of Manhattan from the Flatiron District north to just before Harlem and Morningside Heights. By the numbers, 61 percent of the new district previously resided in Maloney’s district, and 39 percent previously resided in Nadler’s district. 

Nadler had $847,000 in the bank on March 31, while Maloney had $1.1 million, and both are assembling long lists of endorsers.

But Maloney’s support may be softer in her portion than Nadler’s is in his, given that she has faced two close primary elections in the last two cycles. In the 2020 primary, she did not break 50 percent of the vote in the Manhattan parts of her district. And Suraj Patel, Maloney’s 2020 opponent, has indicated he’ll stay in the race, even though his best performing areas in Queens, Brooklyn, and the East Village were removed from the district. Patel is more familiar to voters in Maloney’s part of the new 12th, this being his third time on the ballot. He had $543,000 in the bank on March 31. And another candidate previously challenging Maloney, Google engineer Rana Abdelhamid, has not said if she will run here; her home is in another district.

Biden would have carried the new 12th, 84-15 percent, so the winner of the primary will go to Congress. Solid Democratic.

13th District
Democrat Adriano Espaillat’s district is still Manhattan from East Harlem north, plus a small section of the Bronx; 88 percent of the new 13th, which Biden would have carried, 88-11 percent, is from the old 13th. Solid Democratic.

14th District
The 14th now includes Castle Hill, Hunts Point, and Co-Op City in the Bronx, and in Queens picked up Astoria but shed Woodside and Sunnyside. By the numbers, just 58 percent of the new district is territory already represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — another 28 percent comes from the old 15th District. But with $6 million in the bank on March 31, a dominant primary victory in 2020, and a platform that rival’s her party’s top figures, AOC is unlikely to face serious trouble in the primary — or the general — in this district Biden would have carried, 78-21 percent.

15th District
Rather than occupy all of the southwest Bronx, Democrat Ritchie Torres’ district now shoots north from Mott Haven to Eastchester, and then west to Riverdale, while skirting around Jerome Park. It would have voted for Biden, 85-15 percent. Solid Democratic.

16th District
The new 16th District shifts north, shedding its territory in the Bronx and reaching north through White Plains. Roughly 75 percent of the district is familiar territory to Rep. Jamaal Bowman, with the balance coming from the 17th District.

Bowman already had one primary challenger in Westchester County legislator Vedat Gashi. His Yorktown home is no longer in the district but he’s still running. Westchester County legislator Catherine Parker, who also ran for this seat in 2020, is running, and will likely hit Bowman on his vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones, whose house was drawn into this district, chose not to run against Bowman in a primary. Biden would have carried the new district, 71-28 percent. Solid Democratic.

17th District
The new 17th has been the source of much consternation with the Democratic Party over the past week. By the numbers, 73 percent of the new district is currently represented by 17th District Rep. Mondaire Jones, while 25 percent is represented by 18th District Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the DCCC. 

But Maloney’s house was drawn into the new 17th, while Jones’ house was drawn into the 16th.

Maloney set off a firestorm when he announced he would seek re-election in the 17th, rather than the 18th (of which 75 percent was his current seat). Jones and his staff accused Maloney of blindsiding them, and Bowman, Torres, and Ocasio-Cortez publicly called out Maloney for forcing Jones into an untenable position: either run in the 17th in a primary against the congressman responsible for maintaining the majority, or challenge Bowman, a fellow Black progressive, in a district where he lives but represents very little of. 

Jones chose a third option, to up sticks and try his hand in Lower Manhattan’s 10th District.

But the story doesn’t end there. Also outraged by Maloney’s decision was state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who represents the northeastern Bronx and southern Westchester County. Biaggi previously had been running in the 3rd District. But in the wake of Maloney’s decision she will instead run in the 17th, to try to deny him the nomination.

There’s no overlap between Biaggi’s state Senate district and the new 17th District, and Maloney had $2.1 million in the bank on March 31 compared to Biaggi’s $325,000. But Maloney will have to take Biaggi’s bid seriously. She’s a rising star in state politics who ousted powerful state Sen. Jeffrey Klein in the 2018 primary, she was a leading critic of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the lead-up to his resignation, and she’s the daughter of a former congressman, Mario Biaggi, who himself lost a primary election several decades ago.

Biden would have carried the district by 10 points, 54-44 percent, putting it on the edge of the battlefield. Whoever emerges from the primary will be the favorite against likely Republican nominee state Assemblyman Mike Lawler. But this has potential to develop into a real race. Likely Democratic.

18th District
The 18th still contains all of Orange County but sheds Putnam County and its portion of Westchester, and picks up the southern half of Ulster County and most of Dutchess County. Roughly 71 percent of the new district overlaps with the old 18th, with the balance coming from the old 19th.

With Maloney running in the 17th District, this is an open seat. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan had previously planned to run in the 19th District but switched to this race following Maloney’s decision. On the Republican side, state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt is the likely nominee.

Biden would have carried the new 18th by 8 points, 53-45 percent, though in 2016 Hillary Clinton would have won it by just 1 point, 48-47 percent.

With no incumbent, this is a race Democrats will have to work to win. Lean Democratic.

19th District
The 19th changes significantly from its previous iteration, which extended north from the Hudson Valley to the Capital District, where it bracketed Albany. The new 19th still begins in the Hudson Valley, though slightly more north than before, but progresses no further toward Albany than Delaware and Greene counties. Instead, it runs west, along the Southern Tier, all the way to Tompkins County (Ithaca). Just 43 percent of the new district overlaps with the old 19th.

With Democrat Antonio Delgado leaving Congress to become lieutenant governor, this is an open seat. There will be a special election under the old lines to finish Delgado’s term. In that race, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan will face Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. But in the fall, Ryan hopes to be the Democratic nominee in the 18th District — and while Molinaro says he’ll run in the regular election for the 19th, his home and base of support, Dutchess County, will no longer be part of the district.

In the regular election, former Boies Schiller partner Joshua Riley will seek the Democratic nomination.

Biden would have carried this seat by 5 points, 51-47 percent. The special election makes this more difficult to handicap but Molinaro is a good candidate who would have carried this district 49-44 percent, in his 2018 gubernatorial run. Toss-up. 

20th District
Democrat Paul Tonko’s Albany district fills out the rest of Saratoga County but is otherwise largely unchanged. Biden would have carried it, 58-39 percent. Solid Democratic.

21st District
Republican Elise Stefanik’s North Country district drapes further south around Albany, to Schoharie and Rensselaer counties, but is otherwise largely unchanged. Trump would have carried this district 55-43 percent. Stefanik’s high profile position in the GOP means her Democratic opponents will raise lots of money — two of them, attorney Matt Putorti and former CIA officer Matt Castelli, already have — but won’t win. Solid Republican.

22nd District
The new 22nd is the successor district to the old 24th, and with Republican John Katko retiring it is an open seat.

The district includes all of Onondaga (Syracuse, previously in the 24th District), Madison, and Oneida (Rome and Utica, previously in the 22nd District) counties. Biden would have carried it by 8 points, 53-45 percent, making it an attractive pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Francis Conole, the Navy veteran who placed second in the 24th District Democratic primary in 2020, is running, former state Assemblyman Sam Roberts, Syracuse councilor Chol Majok, and Air Force veteran Sarah Klee Hood.

Republicans have a less formed field that currently includes attorney and vending machine company owner Steve Wells, and former Navy officer Brandon Williams.

This is a seat Democrats should win, now that Katko is not around to stymie their efforts. But it could get dicey if the national environment continues to look dismal. Tilt Democratic.

23rd District
The 23rd District sheds its easternmost counties, terminating at Chemung and Schuyler rather than Tompkins (Ithaca) and Tioga. It also loses Seneca, Ontario and Yates counties. To compensate, it picks up the non-Buffalo portions of Erie County from the dissolved 27th District.

Because Rep. Tom Reed resigned following a sexual harassment scandal, there will be a special election under the old lines. That race will likely see Steuben County GOP chairman Joe Sempolinski face off against Tioga County Democratic chairman Max Della Pia.

But in the general election under the new lines, current 27th District GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs will run here; about 36 percent of the new district overlaps with his current seat.

Della Pia’s home was drawn into the 19th District but says he will still compete for the 23rd in the general election.

Trump would have carried the new 23rd by a whopping 17 points, 57-40. That puts Jacobs on firm ground. Solid Republican.

24th District
The new 24th is the successor district to the obsolete 27th District. The district no longer wraps around Buffalo in Erie County. Instead, it forms a u-shape with points in Niagara County to the west, and Watertown in Jefferson County to the east. The district swoops south to avoid Rochester and then continues north up the coast of Lake Ontario.

With current 27th District Rep. Jacobs running in the 23rd instead, GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney will run here. That’s even though just 5 percent of the new 24th overlaps with the Binghamton-Utica seat she holds now.  

Trump would have carried the new 24th, 57-40 percent. Solid Republican.

25th District
Democrat Joe Morelle’s Rochester district is nearly identical to its previous iteration, though it picks up some of Orleans County to the west. Biden would have won it, 59-39 percent. Solid Democratic.

26th District
Democrat Brian Higgins’ Buffalo district expands north into Niagara County but is otherwise unchanged. It would have voted for Biden, 61-38 percent. Solid Democratic.


Full New York Ratings:

1st District (Open; Zeldin, R) — Tilt Republican
2nd District (Garbarino, R) — Lean Republican
3rd District (Open; Suozzi, D) — Lean Democratic
4th District (Open; Rice, D) — Solid Democratic
5th District (Meeks, D) — Solid Democratic
6th District (Meng, D) — Solid Democratic
7th District (Velazquez, D) — Solid Democratic
8th District (Jeffries, D) — Solid Democratic
9th District (Clarke, D) — Solid Democratic
10th District (New; Jones, D) — Solid Democratic
11th District (Malliotakis, R) — Likely Republican
12th District (Maloney, D/Nadler, D) — Solid Democratic
13th District (Espaillat, D) — Solid Democratic
14th District (Ocasio-Cortez, D) — Solid Democratic
15th District (Torres, D) — Solid Democratic
16th District (Bowman, D) — Solid Democratic
17th District (S.P. Maloney, D) — Likely Democratic
18th District (Open; S.P. Maloney, D) — Lean Democratic
19th District (Open; Delgado, D) — Toss-up
20th District (Tonko, D) — Solid Democratic
21st District (Stefanik, R) — Solid Republican
22nd District (Open; Katko, R) — Tilt Democratic
23rd District (Jacobs, R) — Solid Republican
24th District (Tenney, R) — Solid Republican
25th District (Morelle, D) — Solid Democratic
26th District (Higgins, D) — Solid Democratic