Redistricting engineered in Albany today may let congresswoman Carolyn Maloney win the 2022 vote long before voting booths open.
By David Stone
Will Carolyn Maloney Win Reelection Before Anyone Votes?
The surprising answer is, “Yes.”
In office now for over thirty years, Maloney’s seniority in Congress draws attention as the state legislature sets up new districts ahead of 2022 elections. The 2020 census forces the process as New York loses one seat in the House of Representatives.
But Democrats, controlling both Houses in Albany, are hatching plans that, in New York alone, may net as many as five new liberal-leaning representatives in Congress. That involves consolidating Republican strongholds, reducing four conservative districts into two.
While this may come off as cheating, in reality, it merely reverses Republican inspired changes in 2010. Gerrymandering is a carnival ride electrified every ten years. The party with the most influence in the Capitol shakes out redistricting to their best advantage.
Where does Maloney come in?
A Carolyn Maloney win is different because her district, including Roosevelt Island, is securely Democratic. But it swells from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she is safe, through Astoria in Queens and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
In the 2020 election, Maloney lost badly in areas outside Manhattan. Progressives, lead by Suraj Patel, beat her soundly overall. Had they not split their vote, New York would have lost one its most senior representatives.
Now reflecting on Maloney’s inability to secure a simple majority, after decades in office, Albany redistricting would consolidate her district more fully into Manhattan. Whether this means taking Roosevelt Island, which supported her, along or merging it with a new progressive leaning, multi-borough district is unknown.
Looking ahead, state office redistricting also affects Roosevelt Island assembly and senate seats now held by Rebecca Seawright and José Serrano respectively.
This story relies partly on original reporting from the New York Times.
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