ALBANY, NY — The newly-drafted New York State redistricting maps restore Sullivan County to the 19th Congressional District, while removing it from the 42nd Senate District. As simple as that …
ALBANY, NY — The newly-drafted New York State redistricting maps restore Sullivan County to the 19th Congressional District, while removing it from the 42nd Senate District. As simple as that sounds, the consequences are anything but.
The state's original draft redistricting maps were signed into law on February 3, 2022. Those maps faced opposition from a number of quarters, with independent election analysts, Republican political leaders and members of the state's legal system calling them and the process of their creation biased and gerrymandered.
Justice Patrick McAlister of the Steuben County Supreme Court cast the deciding vote against the state's maps on March 31, ruling them unconstitutional in a decision on Harkenrider v. Hochul. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court upheld the decision on April 21, and the New York Court of Appeals did the same on April 27, according to Ballotpedia.
As part of his decision, McAllister decreed that an independent special master should draw up maps to replace those he struck down. He chose for the role Dr. Jonathan Cervas, a fellow with the Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Politics and Strategy with prior experience in redistricting.
Cervas submitted a draft congressional map to the court on May 16 and a draft senate map the day after, ahead of a Friday, May 20 deadline.
The original redistricting maps drew Sullivan County into the 17th Congressional District. That district lay in the lower Hudson Valley and included all of Rockland County and parts of Westchester County. Rep. Mondaire Jones currently serves as that district's representative.
Cervas' map leaves Sullivan County in the 19th Congressional District, and expands that district to encompass a swathe of upstate New York from Tioga and Tompkins counties to Columbia County.
Leaving Sullivan County in the 19th Congressional District doesn't settle the question of who will represent it.
Antonio Delgado, who has represented the 19th Congressional District since 2018, was tapped by Gov. Hochul earlier this year to replace Brian Benjamin as lieutenant governor. His elevation leaves that district without an incumbent candidate, and his swearing in as lieutenant governor will trigger a special election for his seat.
Ulster County executive Pat Ryan has thrown his hat into the ring on the Democratic side, announcing on May 16 his intent on to run in the special election for the 19th Congressional District. He has separately announced his intent to run in the general election to represent the 18th Congressional District, leaving the 19th Congressional District without a clear Democratic front runner.
On the Republican side, Dutchess County executive Marc Molinary announced on May 16 that he would run to represent the new 19th Congressional District, a district that no longer includes Dutchess County.
As the new maps move Sullivan County back into its current congressional district, it takes it out of its current state senate district, the 42nd Senate District.
The shift means Sen. Mike Martucci will no longer represent Sullivan County. Martucci released a statement on May 17 expressing his intent to run for reelection in the new 42nd Senate District, a district that includes all of Orange County.
"While I have truly cherished my time representing communities in Sullivan, Delaware and Ulster counties, Orange County is my home," said Martucci.
The new maps move Sullivan County into the 51st Senate District, a district that is currently comprised of nine upstate counties. That district is currently represented by Senator Peter Oberacker.
Oberacker is serving his first term in the 51st Senate District after being elected in 2020. His priorities as a senator include expanding broadband access in rural areas, supporting small businesses and assisting volunteer EMS squads with requirements, recruitment and retention. He was as well one of 14 co-sponsors for "Billy's Law", a cornerstone piece of Martucci's legislative agenda.
In a statement released May 17, Oberacker announced his intent to run in the new 51st district. "I am honored to serve the 51st SD and look forward to continuing to stand up for those I represent while forging new partnerships in neighboring counties," he said.
Earlier in the election cycle, Eric Ball announced his intent to run against Sen. Martucci as the Democratic candidate for what was then the 44th Senate District. Ball released an announcement on May 16 following the release of the new maps stating his intent to run for the new 51st Senate District.
Ball has served as a community advocate and on the Board of Trustees in the Delaware County village of Walton. His priorities for the race include rural infrastructure, affordable healthcare and sustainable growth.
"Together, we can elect a steadfast voice for rural communities across Upstate New York. We entered this race to uplift the voices across our region and our commitment remains the same," said Ball.
This is a developing story. Click on the links below for more information on New York State's redistricting process.
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