It increasingly appears that New York made a difference by claiming the US House of Representatives for the GOP last week, as Republicans flipped four seats from Democrats. And while Governor Kathy Hochul’s mediocre performance at the top of the ticket (or Lee Zeldin’s inspiring run for the GOP) played a big part, the man Dems can most easily finger for this mess is Queens Senator Mike Gianaris, who is universally is seen as the driving force behind New York Dems’ disastrous reclassification debacle.
Yes, he is only the deputy majority leader of the Senate, but the No. 1, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, lets him handle a lot in every way. (So much so that some just call her a figurehead.) And he certainly had a point with reclassification.
In particular, the plot to 1) end the clearly and repeatedly expressed will of voters by sidelining UKTN bipartisan commission mandated by the state constitution to establish fair districts after the census, and 2) draw a map that ruthlessly favored the Democrats over Republicans, who cram GOP voters into just four seats so the rest would become Democratic.
Most naked, it moved the ultra-liberal Park Slope to the Staten Island/South Brooklyn seat, in the hands of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the city’s only House Republican. It wasn’t just a geographical trajectory; the communities have nothing in common. (An analysis by The City found that Democrat Max Rose would likely have defeated Malliotakis had the gerrymander come into effect.)
That opened the door for Republicans to go to court to stake the “Hochulmander” (so-named because the government signed up) and have a truly neutral expert draft fair, compact districts without considering the benefit. from either party.
And on that level playing field, Republicans took the seats of outgoing Democrats Tom Suozzi and Kathleen Rice on Long Island and ousted incumbent Democrats Sean Patrick Maloney and Pat Ryan in the Hudson Valley. Oh, the debacle also cost Dem Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Mondaire Jones up their seats, as the fair card forced them into primaries against other Dems they lost in August.
The GOP can certainly thank ex-representative. John Faso for leading the battle to get the Hochulmander thrown, and Ron Lauder for funding the lawsuit. (As well as Zeldin for turning Republican voters away.)
And Dems can also berate Hochul for dragging the Dem ticket down, but also for smiling at Gianaris’ gambit and boosting the GOP’s lawsuit by telling The New York Times it signed the Gianaris plan into law because she is a “loyal Biden Democrat” who wanted to help her party get seats in the House.
By the way, Democratic Socialist superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserves noogies for her ignorant tweet that the state’s Democratic Party and those who “failed to approve a basic state ballot measure to protect New York’s reclassification” and thus the GOP gains possible. Fluctuating facts a lot, AOC?