The new congressional maps approved by a Stueben County State Supreme Court Judge boosts Republican odds of capturing more seats in the U.S. House in November’s midterm elections.
Reuters reports Judge Patrick McAllister signed off on the map just before midnight on Friday, weeks after New York’s top court ruled that the redistricting plan passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature was unconstitutionally manipulated to benefit the party.
The Democratic map would likely have given the party control of 22 of the state’s 26 congressional seats this fall, serving to counterbalance similarly partisan maps passed in Republican-dominated states such as Florida, Georgia and Texas.
Republicans need to flip only five seats in November to win a majority in the House, which would enable them to block much of President Joe Biden‘s agenda.
Court-appointed special master Jonathan Cervas, who drew the new map, said in a court filing that his plan creates eight competitive districts, along with 15 Democratic-leaning seats and three Republican-leaning seats.
The new map represents a bitterly disappointing outcome for Democrats, who used their legislative majorities to push through an aggressive gerrymander. But after Republicans sued, the courts ruled that the Democratic map ran afoul of a 2014 constitutional amendment aimed at removing partisanship from redistricting.
Cervas said he had reviewed thousands of comments since the release of a draft version on Monday and made some changes, including reuniting several Black communities and Asian American communities in New York City that he had originally split.
The new 23rd District, that includes Chautauqua County, stretches from Erie to Schuyler and Chemung Counties.
Current 27th District Representative Republican Chris Jacobs of Orchard Park announced he would be running in the new 23rd district. He has been endorsed by the Erie County Republican Committee. State Senator George Borrello who had considered running in the special election to fill out the term of Representative Tom Reed, issued a statement offering Jacobs his “strongest support.”
Jacobs was first elected in 2020 and currently serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the House Budget Committee, and the House Education and Labor Committee.
For the Democrats, Max Della Pia announced Friday he is running for the special election for the 23rd Congressional District. He had previously announced his candidacy for the November midterms in the new district.
Della Pia was unanimously endorsed by the Democratic Committee Chairs from each of the counties in the district. He is a former Senate Liaison Officer for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
The resignation of Republican Representative Tom Reed on May 10 triggered the need to fill the vacancy with a special election. Former Reed staff member, Joe Sempolinski, announced that same day he would be running on the Republican line for that special election.
The date for the election has yet to be announced but will be held sometime between July 20 and August 8 prior to the primary date for the new Congressional districts on August 23.