New district lines will scramble key New York House races

New district lines will scramble key New York House races

Rep. Marc Molinaro will be in a hotly contested race next year. But the contours of his district are still up in the air amid a redistricting court fight. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

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The interminable legal fight over redistricting in New York will likely leave both parties unclear which races will be competitive until sometime next spring. And more immediately, in an era where serious congressional campaigns start well ahead of election years, the uncertainty is keeping some potential candidates from declaring their intentions. Recruitment for House races “has been somewhat frozen due to redistricting,” said former GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is running a PAC to help elect candidates. “It is absolutely causing a headache for people who want to step up, but they don’t even know yet what district they’d be running in.” Republicans in New York last year were able to flip three seats in the House — critical victories that helped the GOP gain a slim majority. Now the parties are gearing up for 2024 as key races loom on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and parts of upstate, again turning the state into a key national battleground that could decide control of the next Congress. Lawsuits have made this the second election cycle in a row in which the New York congressional field has been stuck in a holding pattern due to questions over the maps. Potential candidates didn’t have any official lines for the 2022 elections until the Democratic-dominated Legislature approved them in February of that year. Republicans eventually won a lawsuit arguing that the Legislature didn’t take the proper steps in drawing the maps, leading to an entirely new plan drawn by the courts in May. The fields for 11 of the state’s 26 congressional districts reshuffled at least once during those four months, and there could be a similar shift next year.