The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
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● NY Redistricting: After midnight on Friday night, a Republican judge in upstate New York ordered the implementation of a new court-drawn congressional map that radically redraws the state's existing districts and has already sparked widespread political upheaval. Many Democratic officials have complained bitterly about the new map and argue it violates the law, but it remains to be seen whether any will appeal.
The final map is in most respects similar to the draft proposed earlier last week by court-appointed expert Jonathan Cervas, who appears to have prized compactness and competitiveness above other considerations, such as preserving communities of interest. On a purely top-line basis, the court's map features 21 districts that Joe Biden would have won versus just five that Donald Trump would have carried, compared to the existing map’s 20-7 split (New York lost a seat during reapportionment). But five of those Biden districts would have gone for the president by single digits, giving Republicans the chance to boost their delegation by several seats in November, should the typical midterm pattern of losses for the party in power hold.
The court's map not only differs dramatically from the one in use for the prior decade, it looks nothing like the version Democrats in the legislature passed in early February. That map was struck down by the courts, which concluded lawmakers lacked the power to draw their own maps even though the state's redistricting commission had failed to complete its work. The Democrats' map had been in place for months before the state's top court invalidated it in late April, several weeks after the candidate filing deadline had passed.
As a result, many candidates have had to reassess their plans. Because of the delays caused by this lawsuit, which was brought by Republicans, New York will host a second primary on Aug. 23 just for Congress and the state Senate, which saw its map struck down on the same grounds. Candidates for the Assembly and statewide office, however, are continuing to run in the original June 28 primary (though that date's being challenged as well, at least for statewide races).
Below we run through the most salient of the map's many significant changes compared to the Democrats' plan, though the political fallout remains ongoing.
- Long Island is extensively reshaped, with NY-01 along the East End and Northern Shore shifting from 55-44 Biden to just 49.4-49.2 Biden. As a result, this Republican-held open seat transforms from one of the Democrats' top pickup targets to a district that likely favors the GOP this year.
- The neighboring NY-02 on Long Island's South Shore conversely drops from 56-42 Trump to just 50-49 Trump, but this area is historically Republican downballot. Republicans are therefore favored to retain it, though Democrats could have a shot in a blue-leaning year.
- Further up island, holding the open NY-03 in northern Nassau County has grown more perilous for Democrats because the district has dropped the eastern shorelines of the Bronx and Westchester County along with the North Shore in western Suffolk in favor of more of eastern Nassau County around Oyster Bay. That sends it from 56-42 Biden to 53-45 Biden, in an area where the GOP also retains downballot strength.
- In New York City, deep blue NY-10 gets radically reconfigured, shedding the Upper West Side and Midtown neighborhoods like Hell's Kitchen to NY-12 and instead gaining Park Slope, Sunset Park, and other parts of western Brooklyn from NY-11.
- In turn, NY-12 unites the Upper East Side and Upper West Side for the first time in over a century and is now a Manhattan-only district, dropping its portions of Queens and Brooklyn. However, it remains safely Democratic.
- The Republican-held NY-11 is thoroughly altered by dropping heavily Democratic and Latino parts of southwestern Brooklyn such as Sunset Park and Park Slope, instead adding predominantly Asian and whiter areas of southern Brooklyn such as Bensonhurst. That causes the district to flip from 54-45 Biden to 53-46 Trump and likely takes it off the table for Democrats.
- North of the city, NY-16 becomes a compact district located almost entirely in Westchester County, with a small piece of the Bronx. However, while it's still safely blue, the Black share of the district's population drops considerably, from 34% to 25%, while the white proportion bumps up from 38% to 42%.
- In the Hudson Valley, the Democratic-held NY-17 drops its arm that ran along the New Jersey and Pennsylvania borders and instead takes in the rest of northern Westchester and other parts of the lower Hudson Valley such as Putnam County, narrowing Biden's margin from 56-43 to 54-44.
- Just to the north, NY-18 is a 53-45 Biden district, just as it was under the Democratic map, but it will now be an open seat, giving Republicans a plausible shot at picking it up from Democrats.
- Further upstate, NY-19 gains the strongly Democratic college town of Ithaca but sheds blue-leaning turf around Albany, Utica, and Ulster County in the Hudson Valley, dropping Biden's margin from 54-44 to just 51-47—and in 2016, Trump would have won it 47-46. That change, plus the fact that this Democratic-held seat recently became open, gives Republicans a straightforward path to victory here.
- Republican-held NY-22 gets a significant makeover by losing Ithaca and instead gaining Rome and Utica, causing it to fall from 58-40 Biden to 53-45 Biden. As was the case with the Democrats' map, the new 22nd should be considered the successor of the old 24th, as it draws most of its population from that district. (The old 22nd, by contrast, is probably the district best thought of as the one that got eliminated due to reapportionment, though the old 10th is also a contender.)
For a breakdown showing how much of each old district makes up each new district and vice-versa, check out our redistribution tables. And in our House section further below, we'll also bring you up to date on the announcements New York politicians have made about their specific plans. Candidates who previously qualified to run for Congress or state Senate need only inform election officials of which new district they’ll be seeking by May 31. New candidates must file petitions to appear on the primary ballot by June 10.
● FL Redistricting: A Florida appellate court has stayed a recent lower court ruling that blocked part of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' new congressional map from taking effect because it illegally diminished the power of Black voters. As a result, DeSantis' map, which blows up the plurality-Black 5th District and turns it into a safely Republican and heavily white seat, will be used this year, barring further appeals.
● NH-Sen: Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan's campaign says it's gotten local TV stations to yank the NRSC's inaugural attack ad on the grounds that it falsely claimed that Hassan had raised gas prices while governor. The spot, which is no longer available online, cited an NHPR article noting that Hassan had increased taxes on gasoline in 2014. However, the cost of gas actually went down that year, contrary to a graphic in the NRSC's ad claiming it went up.
Meanwhile, a new super PAC called Stand for New Hampshire is reportedly putting $450,000 behind an ad campaign boosting former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith's bid for the GOP nomination, which is the first outside spending of any kind in the primary. The spot follows the compare-and-contrast model, with half devoted to generic hits on Hassan and half mentioning generic priorities favored by Smith. Also seeking the Republican nod are state Senate President Chuck Morse and retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc.
● GA-Sen: The NRSC has launched its opening ad buy targeting Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, which seems to concede that the GOP's efforts to portray Warnock as a radical pastor during last year's runoff were a failure. The committee's spot, which is reportedly backed by a $1.2 million expenditure, starts with a narrator saying, "His personal story? Inspirational"—high praise from your enemies!
Of course, from there, the voiceover continues, "His story as a senator is the problem." The ad complains that Warnock has voted with Joe Biden "95% of the time" and claims he supports legislation that would increase energy costs and "make us more dependent on foreign suppliers."
● AK-Gov: Former Democratic state Rep. Les Gara has released an internal poll from Lake Research Partners that shows him snagging the second spot in the August top-four primary, where GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy leads with 40%, followed by Gara at 24%, former independent Gov. Bill Walker at 18%, and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, another Republican, at 5%. This is the first poll we have seen from anyone this year.
● GA-Gov: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been on cruise control to renomination for a while in Tuesday's primary, and the Georgia Democratic Party already began airing its first ad against him last month in anticipation of the general election. The ad skewers Kemp for signing a law that effectively allows permitless concealed carry of handguns by letting Georgians who buy a gun through a private sale avoid a background check, meaning people convicted of or charged with violent crimes can now legally carry a concealed firearm this way.
● GA-07: Independence USA, a super PAC funded by billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has launched a $1 million TV and digital ad buy on behalf of Rep. Lucy McBath, who is a former staff member for Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety group, ahead of Tuesday's Democratic primary, where she faces fellow Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. The TV ad relays how McBath became an advocate for gun safety reforms after her son Jordan Davis was murdered a decade ago, and it praises her for championing those reforms in Congress.
With the primary nearly finished, McBath has benefited from $5.1 million in help from outside spending, while no outside group has spent more than a token amount to aid Bourdeaux.
● MD-04, MD-AG: The Maryland AFL-CIO has endorsed a number of Democrats seeking office this year, including former Rep. Donna Edwards in her comeback bid for the state's 4th Congressional District, as well as the man she's hoping to succeed, Rep. Anthony Brown, who is running for state attorney general.
● NY-01, NY-02: Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn dropped out of the Democratic primary in the 1st District following the adoption of New York's new congressional map and endorsed Bridget Fleming, a fellow member of the county legislature. That makes Fleming the likely Democratic nominee against Republican frontrunner Nick LaLota, who serves as chief of staff to the county legislature and reiterated his commitment to the race this weekend.
Former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, meanwhile, switched over to the 2nd District, where her home is now located. Last cycle, she ran in the 2nd but lost to Republican Andrew Garbarino 53-46 in an open-seat race. Garbarino is seeking re-election.
● NY-10: As a result of Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's decision to run in the 17th District rather than the 18th (despite representing three-quarters of the latter), freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones has decided to hop five districts to the south and run in the newly open 10th, which is now based in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Maloney justified his decision by arguing that he's the only incumbent who resides in the 17th, but Jones was born and raised in the area and had lived within the district's confines until two years ago, when he moved to White Plains. At the time, White Plains was also in the 17th, but now it's getting moved to the 16th. Had Jones run there, he'd have faced a primary against Rep. Jamaal Bowman, another progressive Black freshman. By contrast, had he stood his ground in the 17th, he'd have had to run against the chair of the DCCC—an unappealing set of options forced on Jones by Maloney's selfishness.
Still, Jones is taking quite a leap: His home base of Rockland County in New York City's northern suburbs is at least an hour away from the 10th (if you're very lucky with traffic), and it's not clear whether he has any meaningful ties to the city. He sought to explain his choice by saying of his new district, "Since long before the Stonewall Uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders." (Jones, along with fellow New Yorker Ritchie Torres, was the first gay Black man elected to Congress in 2020.)
Jones will have to face some actual city-dwellers in the primary, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said on Friday that he'd run here, and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who kicked off a bid the following day. A large number of other Democrats are also considering, though state Sen. Brad Hoylman has already reconsidered: After saying he'd run earlier in the week, he abruptly dropped out on Saturday.
● NY-12: Veteran Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney both reaffirmed that they'll run in the revamped 12th, just as they'd said they'd do after the draft map was issued last week. This will be a titanic battle between two powerful committee chairs, though it's not yet clear whether they'll have the Democratic primary to themselves, as various candidates who'd been challenging the two incumbents in their prior districts have yet to announce their plans.
● NY-16: Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi, who'd been presenting himself as a more moderate alternative to Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman, says he's continuing his primary challenge. However, Gashi's hometown of Yorktown has now been drawn into the 17th.
● NY-17: Republican Assemblyman Mike Lawler said on Saturday that he'd run against Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
● NY-18, NY-19 (special): Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced on Saturday that he'll seek the Democratic nomination for the open 18th District and confirmed that he'll run in the special election for the old 19th District that will take place after Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado leaves office to become New York's new lieutenant governor. Delgado previously endorsed Ryan for the special, where nominees will be chosen by party committees rather than primary voters. About 29% of the new 18th is made up of the old 19th.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, who'd been the leading Republican in the race, reaffirmed that he'll seek the 18th.
● NY-19: Democratic attorney Josh Riley, who had been running for the 22nd District, said on Saturday that he'd switch over to the open 19th.
● NY-23, NY-24: Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs, who represents the old 27th, says he'll run for the new 23rd, while Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who represents the old 22nd, says she'll run for the new 24th. The old 27th and new 23rd share a fair bit of DNA around Jacobs' base in the Buffalo area, but the 24th will be almost entirely new to Tenney.
● OR-05: The Associated Press reports that it could take a few weeks before we get a clear picture of who won the 5th District Democratic primary thanks to misprinted barcodes making it impossible for machines to count thousands of ballots in Clackamas County, a suburban Portland-area jurisdiction that is the state's third largest. The misprint has affected up to 60,000 Clackamas ballots out of the nearly 90,000 returned countywide as of Friday, resulting in election workers having to laboriously copy over every voter's markings onto new ballots with the proper barcode so that they can be machine-counted.
Consequently, we may not get a full count in the part of Clackamas County that is in the 5th until June 13, when Oregon is set to certify its vote totals, leaving the race between moderate incumbent Kurt Schrader and progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner still up in the air. However, the partial vote count we do have from Clackamas combined with the partial totals from the rest of the 5th District puts McLeod-Skinner ahead 60-40 and leaves her in a favorable position to prevail. Schrader would have to win a large majority of remaining ballots to pull ahead, but he only leads by 55-44 among the 4,000 ballots counted in Clackamas as of Thursday despite it being his home county.
● OR-06: The Associated Press has called the 6th District Republican primary for businessman Mike Erickson, who was the GOP's 5th District nominee back in 2008. Erickson held a wide 35-18 lead over state Rep. Ron Noble in the primary as of Friday afternoon, and he'll go on to face Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas this fall in this newly drawn open seat, which Joe Biden would have won by 55-42.