New York’s new congressional maps would place five pairs of incumbents in the same districts

May 20, 2022

A new set of draft maps for New York’s congressional districts were released on May 16—upending several potential races and sending candidates scurrying to reset their campaigns or reconsider their plans to run, reports Politico.

The maps for New York’s 26 congressional districts will play an instrumental role in whether Democrats can retain control of the House in the midterm elections—and the latest maps, drawn by a special master after a successful court case by Republicans, would pit several Democrats against one another.

 The maps would create five districts that contain the homes of multiple incumbents, potentially setting the stage for several high-profile battles for August and November. Those include a battle for parts of Manhattan between Democratic veteran Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney.

 Nadler ripped the proposed lines, but added that “provided that they become permanent, I very much look forward to running in and representing the people of the newly created 12th District of New York.”


Indeed, the draft lines create a lot more competition than what had previously been expected. Maps drawn by Democrats in February would have made their party the favorite in 22 of the state’s 26 seats, with only a small handful of the seats having even the potential for upsets. Those were thrown out by New York’s top court last month, and the mapmaking process has since been handed to Steuben County Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister and special master Jonathan Cervas, a fellow at Carnegie Mellon. 
The maps proposed by Cervas would lead to 21 districts where Democrats would have an edge based on their performance in past elections. But that edge is extremely slim in at least five of these seats, leading to multiple races that will likely be considered toss-ups. In a couple of others, a Republican upset is far from implausible.
Cervas’ plans are not final. There is now a brief public comment period before he releases binding maps on Friday, May 20. 
If the maps stand, even when incumbents were drawn into the same seats, they could very well opt against running against each other. Members of Congress do not need to reside in the districts they represent, so there could well be a few members who decide to stay put, but run for office a couple of miles down the road. 
But unless the plans released Friday contain major overhauls, it’s clear that there will be numerous free-for-alls in New York in the coming months, featuring several seats that had been on few peoples’ radars into hotly competitive races.

 Research contact: @politico