New York Democrats just very narrowly lost the state senate and with it total control over the federal redistricting process in New York in 2010. Here I wanted to see just how much damage they might have done and assuming Andrew Cuomo didn't bend over backwards to help Republicans like he did in reality. Seeing as how this alternate universe takes places by just assuming we held the state senate, my goal is to protect every single seat we held going into the 2012 elections while keeping the lines relatively 'clean' looking. Using the 2010 average rather than Obama's numbers, my benchmark was 57.6% Dem, or 4.6% to the right of the state. 23 of the 24 districts meet this criteria while the last one is safe due to the incumbent's strength; most but not all are in the D+5 range for Obama '08. So let's take a look at the map.
Starting off in Long Island, I've shored up Tim Bishop, who won by just 5% last year, by 5 more points so he'd have won by closer to 15. To do this I've vote sunk Pete King's district down to a nice 10% McCain win. Obama rather underperformed in Long Island, so even though none of districts 1 3 or 4 is more than D+3, they're safe due to the average and incumbent strength.
In NYC I largely avoided making wholesale changes to the VRA districts as these were already kosher, having been passed by the court that drew them. What I did change significantly though were the 9th, 10th, and 11th districts. The 9th is now used to soak up those heavily conservative Orthodox Jewish districts in southern Brooklyn while the 11th uses water contiguity to add a nice slice of lower Manhattan and get 11% more Democratic in the process, dooming Grimm. Bob Turner still sees his seat eliminated.
Moving on to upstate, I've unpacked the 16th to make the 18th safe for a liberal. Maurice Hinchey's seat is resurrected and now spans up to Rome making it probably the ugliest seat in the state. Chris Gibson's seat is eliminated as he gets drawn in with Paul Tonko in a district heavily favoring the Democrat. Bill Owens gets shored up about 4% giving him a roughly 10% win margin in a quickly Dem trending seat. The 22nd is turned into our nice 2nd vote sink for very strong 'moderate' Rep. Hanna, while the 24th is shored up about 2% giving Maffei an even more comfortable win.
In Western New York I've restored the earmuffs district, but here it's for Kathy Hochul who takes in northern Buffalo and western Rochester in a district where she'd have cruised. Louise Slaughter gets the bulk of Rochester and also Ithaca New York in a district about as Democratic as her actual one. Finally, Brian Higgins' seat is unpacked somewhat and is the only one below 57.6% Dem, but it's still several points more Democratic than his 2004-2010 one that he held with ease so he's safe.
So there you have it, New York Democrats could have easily shored up 5 of the seats we held after 2012 while creating 3 more safe ones.