- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2022

The chairman of the House Democratic campaign arm has proposed an aggressive gerrymander of the New York State congressional map, not long after he and his party accused Republican state legislatures of partisan redistricting practices.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney released an “Interested Parties” memo Wednesday night suggesting to New York Democrats who are redrawing the state’s congressional lines to support a remapping that would eliminate five of the eight Republican seats, resulting in a 23-Democrats-to-3-Republicans gerrymander. The redistricting would amend the “imbalances” in the current map, he said.

“In New York City and the surrounding areas, the current map does a serviceable job ensuring that communities are linked together and that minority representation is strong - as the New York State constitution requires,” Mr. Maloney writes in his memo. “Of course, communities have changed over the past decade and the new map should reflect that.”

He said, “Ultimately, although lines may shift or expand, the districts must preserve the ability of minority communities to elect their chosen representatives to Congress. Groups like the Unity Coalition have suggested maps that adhere to the state constitutional requirement that maps shall not abridge the voting rights of racial or language minorities.”

Cook Political Report’s election analyst Dave Wasserman described Mr. Maloney’s proposal to Albany map drawers as an “aggressive…gerrymander” and that only three New York Republicans — Reps. Elise Stefanik, Chris Jacobs and Andrew Garbarino — could possibly survive such a redistricting.

Mr. Maloney, whose memo goes through each region of the state and how the districts should be remapped, previously criticized Senate Republicans for blocking Senate Democrats voting legislation that purportedly prevents partisan gerrymandering.

“While Republicans clearly think their best way back to power is suppressing and gerrymandering their way to a majority, Democrats are committed to the fight of protecting and expanding voting rights for all Americans,” Mr. Maloney said last June.

In a statement to The Washington Times, DCCC Communications Director Chris Hayden defended Mr. Maloney.

“The Chairman’s priority is to ensure that the state of New York has a map that represents communities of interest so that every voter’s voice is heard in Washington,” Mr. Hayden said. “The state’s public comment process is critical to a healthy democracy and the only venue for public comment, so as a citizen of the state Congressman Maloney chose to participate in that process.”

Former New York Rep. John Faso, a Republican who serves as a board member of Fair Lines New York, a GOP-affiliated group concerned with fair redistricting, described Mr. Maloney’s memo as an “illegal” proposal to New York’s Constitution.

“The New York State Constitution, which was adopted by the voters in 2014, includes anti-partisan gerrymandering provisions, and the memo is filled with inaccuracies as to the State of New York and its communities,” Mr. Faso told The Washington Times.

“It also had some laughable places where they refer to the Town of Hempstead on Long Island as the City of Hempstead. It obviously was written by someone who has no clue about the true communities of interest in the state, but it would just haphazardly break county lines, municipal boundaries to achieve a political result,” he explained, calling the proposal a suppression of New York GOP voters.

Mr. Faso, a former member of the state assembly, suggested Mr. Maloney’s memo was written because it reflects what the state legislative Democrats intend to do. New York Republicans expect Democrats in Albany “to act probably as soon as tomorrow in terms of introducing a bill and trying to pass it on Monday…in the dark of night,” he said.

He added, “It would be rammed through on minimum notice and, literally, no one in the state will know what they planned and how they plan to rig congressional and legislative districts for the next 10 years… so I think the only recourse is likely to be the courts.”

Mr. Wasserman noted later on Thursday on Twitter that the proceedings in Albany over the next few days will be a “major test of DC Dems’ clout,” he wrote. “According to multiple sources, NY Dems’ map (which could be released as soon as tonight) could be less aggressive and more incumbent-friendly than the Maloney memo’s 23D-3R blueprint.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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