By Melissa Holzberg DePalo
A proposed version of New York’s new congressional map could set up several incumbent vs. incumbent primaries, potentially pitting veteran Democratic lawmakers against each other, and dampen Democratic hopes of picking up more seats in the Empire State in this year’s midterms.
The proposal, unveiled on Monday from a court-appointed special master, is a first draft. Finalization of the map, which won’t happen until after a public comment period, is expected Friday.
The map as drawn would likely create 15 Democratic-leaning seats, five that lean Republican and six that are more competitive. New York will have 26 congressional districts after losing a seat due to slower population growth over the last decade. Democrats won 19 of the state’s districts in 2020.
Longtime New York City-based Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney would be placed in the same congressional district for the first time in this map configuration. Both have said they intend to run if this version of the map is finalized.
Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement on Monday that he believes the new lines violate the state constitution. “However, 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.”
“It’s unfortunate, but I’m going run and I’m going win,” Nadler told CNN. He said that “psychologically” it might be tough, noting he likes Maloney and has known her a long time, but said, “You do what you have to do.”
Asked if he would retire, Nadler insisted: “No, no, no.”
Maloney, who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Reform, emphasized her connections to the district. “A majority of the communities in the newly redrawn NY-12 are ones I have represented for years and to which I have deep ties,” she said in a statement.
Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has said he’d run in the new 17th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones. Jones’ home would be placed in the same district as first-term Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Yvette Clarke could end up in the same Brooklyn-based district.
Jeffries told CNN the new congressional map “undermines communities of interest, communities of color” and is “in violation of the Constitution.”
“I haven’t given it a thought,” he said about which district he would run in.
Asked if the proposed map raised Democrat anxieties about holding the House in November, the caucus chairman claimed that “not a single member is thinking about the House at this particular point in time.”
Members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent, and not all members have indicated which district they would run in.
Initially, the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed a map that would have given Democrats an advantage in 22 of the state’s congressional districts. A court blocked the map for being a partisan gerrymander that violated the state’s constitution.
Under the new proposed map, Republicans would be favored in the Staten Island-based seat currently held by GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Democrats had tried to tie that district to more Democratic areas of Brooklyn to create another New York City stronghold for the party.
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Manu Raju, Morgan Rimmer and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.