Special Master and Carnegie Mellon University Fellow Jonathan Cervas has sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party redrawing Congressional districts in a way that could help the GOP take over the House in Washington.

Cervas, who was appointed by the court, redrew districts to make it even with close to 777,000 people per congressional seat. The map splits 15 counties in the state as opposed to the 34 splits under the initially proposed map that the New York Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional last month.

The map leaves 15 Dem-leaning districts and 3 GOP-leaning districts more competitive. The Democrats have more to lose.

Congressmembers Grace Meng (NY-6), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) were drawn out of their current districts. There are 15 majority non-white districts in the state, but to Jeffries, the newly redrawn map puts Black representation in Congress in its crosshairs.

“The Court, shockingly, uses a sledgehammer to break into pieces the majority Black and historic neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant, once represented by the legendary Shirley Chisholm,” stated Jeffries. “The legacy Chisholm district was created in 1968 pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood at its core. Apparently, the Steuben County Court either doesn’t know this history or doesn’t care…”

Jeffries isn’t the only Black congressman in New York who feels the same way.

Under the special master’s redrawn districts, Co-Op City is mapped into NY-14, Williamsbridge and Baychester are mapped into NY-15. Edenwald stays in NY-16. According to Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), this reduces the Black voter population by 17% and removes much of the Bronx from his district. Most of his district now resides in the southern half of Westchester County. He believes that Co-Op City, Williamsbridge, and Edenwald are strong communities that share similar interests.

“The whole point of redistricting is to create congressional districts that keep communities of interest together,” stated Bowman. “Unfortunately, the map created by the special master splits NY-16’s historically low-income Bronx communities into three congressional districts and decreases the Black voter population by 17%. This occurred despite an outpouring of testimony urging redistricting officials to protect the Black vote by keeping the northeast Bronx with lower Westchester together.

“The Black voting power in NY-16 cannot be diluted in favor of more compact but less fair maps.”

Others, such as New York Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, have an easier path to victory after Cervas eliminated much of the Democratic-leaning side of her district (a.k.a. Brooklyn) leaving it staunchly more conservative. The initially proposed map threw Sunset Park and Park Slope into her district, areas that are heavily Democrat and would’ve made it more difficult for her to get re-elected.

One thing is for sure, New York State’s Republican leader is satisfied with the new districts.

“Justice has been served and will be again in November when Kathy Hochul and the Democrats pay the price with voters for trying to rig the election with their illegal #Hochulmander,” said NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy on Twitter.

New York Republicans now smell blood and want to challenge other kinds of districts.

On Monday, legal representatives Jim Walden and Peter Devlin, of Walden Macht & Haran LLP, filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court of Manhattan on behalf of New York gubernatorial candidate Paul Nichols, former State Senate candidate Gary Greenberg and New York Young Republican Club President Gavin Wax. The group is asking the court to invalidate New York State Assembly voting district lines. They called the currently drawn districts a violation of the New York State constitution.

“For too long political leaders have placed their interests before the people they are entrusted to serve,” stated Nichols. “This important action today is a critical step forward in the battle to rebuild the lost trust in government. Fairness, participation, inclusion, and following the law should be the bedrock of our democracy in the State of New York.”

“A fundamental part of democracy is fair elections,” added Greenberg. “The New York State legislature and governor willfully implemented redistricting maps that did not meet the requirements of the New York state constitution. The voters deserve constitutionally correct legislative districts and candidates gaining signatures in the correct districts.”

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