The congressional maps released late Wednesday would upend the state’s political landscape, giving Monroe County more of its own seat and providing more compact districts in the Hudson Valley and Southern Tier.
The separate proposals outlined by the majority parties in the Senate and Assembly have differences, but offer insight into how the state’s 27 congressional district would be reshaped as the controversial issue heads to federal court.
The sides had until Wednesday to provide their district lines for Congress to a special master, which is being tasked with reaching an agreement.
For example, Rep. Louise Slaughter’s district would no longer be the so-called “earmuff district” that now stretches between Rochester and Buffalo along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
The new district would be entirely within Monroe County under the Senate Republicans’ proposal. The Assembly Democrats’ proposal includes a large swath of Ontario County to go with most of Monroe County.
Slaughter, a Democrat from Fairport, Monroe County, said this morning that she hadn’t reviewed the maps and had no immediate comment. The changes may set up a November election battle with Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, a Republican, who has said she would prefer to see a Monroe County specific district were she to challenge Slaughter.
As Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported Wednesday, lawmakers are proposing to eliminate the Southern Tier/mid-Hudson Valley seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey. Republicans would put Reps. Gary Ackerman and Carolyn McCarthy, both Democrats, in the same New York City-area district.
The sides are being tasked with eliminating two seats in Congress. Because New York’s population is growing less than other states, the number of seats in the House is being lowered from 29 to 27.
So Assembly Democrats would ax the Hinchey seat, but would push Republican Rep. Bob Turner’s seat entirely into Queens and pair him in a district with Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley.
In eliminating Hinchey’s seat, both the Assembly and Senate maps would make the district of Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, more of a Southern Tier district.
The Assembly’s plan would give him a district that includes Chemung, Tioga, Steuben and Wayne counties — as well as the western suburbs of Monroe County. The Senate map would be similar, but would keep him out of Monroe County.
For the Hudson Valley, the changes could also be significant. The Senate proposal would largely keep Rep. Chris Gibson’s Republican district that runs through the northern Hudson Valley — from Warren County in the North Country south to include all of Dutchess County and parts of Ulster County.
The Assembly plan would put Dutchess County into the district now held by Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, Westchester County.
Under the Assembly’s plan, Broome County would move into a new 20th District that would stretch from the North Country. The Senate plan would move Broome into a more Catskills-based district that includes Delaware, Greene and Sullivan counties.
For the lower Hudson Valley, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx, would have all of Rockland County, and a portion of Westchester County, including Eastchester. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, would retain most of Westchester County.