Why Democrats May Kill a Bipartisan House Map in New York

Democrats spent millions of dollars and more than a year in court successfully fighting for a chance at redrawing New York’s congressional map to potentially boost their candidates in key races.

Now, they must decide if they are going to take that shot.

The Democratic-dominated State Legislature is expected to vote on Monday whether to accept a modest set of changes in a congressional map that the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission recommended this month, or reject it and grab the mapmaking powers for itself.

The choice could have major consequences for the national battle for the House. Even with only a handful of tweaks, Democratic state lawmakers could effectively stack the deck against Republicans in up to six swing seats from Long Island to Syracuse.

Party leaders in New York and Washington appeared to be laying the groundwork over the last week to do just that. But by late Sunday, on the eve of the expected vote, they had yet to commit even to voting down the bipartisan proposal.

“It’s a big fork in the road,” said Dave Wasserman, an elections analyst with the Cook Political Report. “The more aggressive their play, the bigger potential reward in seats, but the higher risk courts could step in again to block it or preserve the status quo.”

Spokesmen for Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the majority leader of the State Senate, and Speaker Carl E. Heastie of the Assembly both declined to comment.

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