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Clashes between New York Democrats after Redo redistribution

NEW YORK – Two of New York’s longest-serving members of Congress have turned from allies to rivals after a court redrawn the state’s congressional maps, messing up the favorable landscape Democrats had hoped for this election year.

US Rep. Jerry Nadler, a key figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, an advocate for 11 Manhattan rescue and recovery forces.

The intraparty struggle is not the outcome Democrats envisioned for the decennial redistribution in a state where they control the governor’s mansion and the legislature.

Nadler, 74, and Maloney, 76, were each first elected to Congress 30 years ago and have chaired the House of Representatives’ powerful Judiciary and Oversight Committees, respectively.

Nadler has long represented the Upper West Side and areas stretching as far as Wall Street and parts of Brooklyn, while Maloney’s longtime turf was on the other side of Central Park: the Upper East Side, along with parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

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But when a state court on May 16 unveiled the new maps, merging the Upper East Side and Upper West Side into one congressional district — the 12th — the seasoned lawmakers crowded the floor of the House of Representatives. Each tried to persuade the other to go somewhere else.

“I said that I thought if we went up against each other in the 12th I would probably win, so she should run in the 10th. Why didn’t she run in the 10th? She would clear the field and no one else would, in all likelihood, run,” Nadler recounted. “She said, ‘No, no, no.’ She thought she was going to win and why didn’t I run on the 10th? And I said no, I didn’t want that. And it was a dead end and we left it at that.”

“We’ve known each other for a long, long time and we really haven’t spoken to each other since then,” Nadler said.

Maloney, whose campaign has not responded to several requests for interviews from The Associated Press, gave a similar account of their conversation in an interview with the New York Postand said she thought he would not have made the request if she were a man.

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“All my life people have told me I shouldn’t be where I am, so I’m not surprised that he told me to step aside,” she said. “The time for women to step aside is over.”

For Democrats, New York should be one of the party’s few stateside opportunities to draw new county lines in their favor and potentially limit losses in November’s election.

But then the wheels came off.

After a successful legal challenge by Republicans produced new court-created maps of Congress, Democrats were left with tougher battles against Republicans and each other.

Now that Nadler and Maloney face each other in the 12th District, along with Democrat Suraj Patel, there’s an open seat just south, encompassing parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

That has drawn a crowded field of at least 10 Democrats, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and US Rep. Mondaire Jones, who decided to jump out of his Hudson Valley district after the new cards upset him had brought a collision path with another Democrat. US Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

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The lines of Maloney’s ward, the 18th, were also changed as part of the court’s rewrite, cutting his Cold Spring home into the reconfigured 17th ward. He quickly declared that he would run in the 17th, a move that angered some other New York City Democrats who saw it as unfair to Jones, who now represents that district.

It even earned him a major challenge from progressive Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who announced she would take him on in the 17th despite not living there.

Maloney defended his decision, noting that no other incumbent Democrat lived in the 17th district — because Jones’ home was swept into the new 16th district, much of which is held by another Democrat, US Rep. Jamaal Bowman .

“From my point of view, I’m just walking where I landed,” Maloney said at a news conference last month.

Jones told the AP he was considering running for office on the 17th, “but at the end of the day, as someone at the forefront of the fight to defend our democracy against the threats of the far right, it was important to me not to do it going to elementary school with one of my two colleagues in the Hudson Valley and focusing on making my case in a district I feel deeply connected to.”

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His case is that it’s time for an openly gay man to represent the new 10th Ward, which includes the West Village and Stonewall Inn, an underground gay bar where a 1969 police raid sparked a backlash that left LGBTQ right-wing movement.

“My visits to the West Village gave me the courage to come out as an openly gay man,” Jones said. “It’s crazy that the place where Stonewell happened, a movement for LGBTQ liberation born of queer people of color, has never had a gay representative in Congress.”

The new cards have not only turned the political careers and collegial relationships of New York Democrats upside down. They also messed up national plans for the party to increase its chances of staying in power in the US House of Representatives.

Before being struck down by a state court, the congressional district maps originally produced by the state legislature would have given Democrats a strong majority in 22 out of 26 congressional districts.

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“Democrats have decided to roll the dice and it didn’t occur to them,” said Michael Li, district redistribution expert at the Brennan Center for Justice, who underscored the Legislature’s cards as “one of the more aggressive Gerrymanders.” designated the states that year.

Democrats currently hold 19 of New York’s 27 districts, but the state is losing one as a result of the 2020 census.

The new maps, drawn by a court-appointed expert, give Democrats an advantage in 21 of 26 districts, but some of those will be much more competitive and could be won by Republicans.

Ultimately, they are fairer, Li said.

“If they’re unhappy with the cards,” he said of Democrats, “one of the places to go when they have to blame is themselves.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/07/clashes-among-new-york-democrats-after-redistricting-redo/ Clashes between New York Democrats after Redo redistribution

Sarah Y. Kim

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