- - Wednesday, December 7, 2022

It’s now a virtual certainty Republicans will clinch the U.S. House majority … by five — which just happens to be the exact number of seats the GOP recently netted in New York. How about that?

Thank you, Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Expect not one, not two, but all the edible arrangements along with a gyrating fig-leaf-free parade of Magic-Mike-alikes to flood the second floor in Albany the moment after our new House GOP speaker (whoever he or she may be) takes the oath. Because if not for the New York governor’s extreme fecklessness, neglect, and deference to the Tammany Hall tactics of state Sen. Michael Gianaris with regard to redistricting, Democrats might have actually achieved the unthinkable — held the House in a midterm election.



The first sign of trouble should’ve been when the redistricting draft submitted for the governor’s signature included a district that married the north shore of Long Island with parts of the Bronx and Westchester (three counties separated by two bridges, three highways and a body of water).

Seriously?

Nevertheless, in the mind of Gerrymander Gianaris, this made sense. To the governor as well, apparently, because she signed off on it.

If I were Sen. Mike Gianaris, I’d bury my head in sand until the Legislature is back in session, and even then hope the rest of my colleagues develop a massive case of collective amnesia in the interim. His naked chicanery and machinations unnecessarily prolonged the primary process for eight weeks past the original June 28 date, costing taxpayers time, money and trouble — and costing many of his fellow Democrats their jobs.

Any other governor would’ve had the foresight to see this hubristic power play for what it was and wielded the authority of their office to abort this drunken, purple haze-induced pipe dream before it could even get off the launch pad.

Not Mrs. Hochul.

Again, thank you, governor. You’re every Republican’s favorite Democrat. Keep doing you.

Thankfully, even New York’s state bench balked at the establishment left’s blatant attempt to handpick the electorate they so desperately craved. And on April 18, Judge Patrick F. McAllister decided that — like an unfit parent — both the governor and state Legislature should be removed from the equation entirely.

The result? An independent adjudicator drew new lines that prompted Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to force Rep. Mondaire Jones, his neighboring fellow Democrat, from Congress altogether in order for Mr. Maloney to campaign in a new, more friendly district. Or so he thought.

In 2020, Michael Lawler, former executive director of the New York Republican Party, defeated a four-term Democratic assemblywoman in the 97th Assembly district in Rockland County by 5 points — a feat no other Republican had managed to pull off for at least four decades.

Left-leaning prognosticators should’ve all noted this as warning sign No. 2.

The following year, Republicans netted two New York City Council seats — one in Brooklyn and one in Queens, then ran the table in Nassau County elections. If this wasn’t the man on fire shaking hands meme for Democrats, I don’t know what would be.

Fifty-two weeks later, Rep. Lee Zeldin nearly toppled the almost accidental governor, Kathy Hochul, by winning Long Island, Staten Island, the North Country, Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, and central and most of western New York in a blowout.

In fact, his coattails were long enough to propel Nassau and Suffolk County Republicans to victory in two Democratically held congressional districts, come within inches of reclaiming all but two of the vaunted “Long Island Nine” state Senate seats, and spell doom for Mr. Maloney against Mr. Lawler, a little-known state assemblyman, in what was supposed to be a safe new seat for the DCCC chairman.

What saved Mrs. Hochul? New York City and Erie and Westchester counties. Barely.

She defeated Mr. Zeldin by 6 points and a little more than 300,000 votes. That’s over 600,000 less votes and 17 percentage points less than her predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in disgrace 15 months prior rather than face impeachment. Yikes.

Did Democrats retain the state Legislature? Yes. Was this a wake-up call? It should be.

Did Republicans flip three Assembly seats in Brooklyn — the heart of New York’s Democratic Party? Oh, my, yes. Yes, we did. Gobsmacking.

Thank you, Kathy Hochul. The NYGOP owes its future to you.

• John William Schiffbauer served as deputy communications director of the New York Republican State Committee from 2014 to 2016.

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