Congressional Redistricting Matters More in 2024

0:00 New York’s Congressional redistricting process is in the national spotlight, as it could affect which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives in 2025.  […]

Published January 25, 2024 2:55 PM
2 min read

0:00

New York’s Congressional redistricting process is in the national spotlight, as it could affect which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives in 2025. 

As Brian Mann of NPR put it: “In the midterm elections, one of the bluest states in the country saw a relative red wave that led to a net gain of three seats, helping give the GOP its razor-thin majority. When Republicans took control of the U.S. House in 2022, they had voters in New York to thank for roughly a third of their national gains.”

The state’s 26 Congressional districts are held by 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans. The city of Rye is currently in Congressional District 16, which covers southern Westchester and the Wakefield section of north-central Bronx, which has a population of nearly 70,000. The district includes the cities of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains, and Rye, as well as the towns of Eastchester, Pelham, Rye, Scarsdale, and parts of Greenburgh.

After population and demographic data from the 2020 census were released in 2022, states began the mandated process of redis¬trict¬ing. In New York, the process is done initially by an independent redistricting commission (IRC). However, members of the commission became deadlocked, so the Legislature had to decide the new congressional map that year. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul approved the Democratic-controlled legislature’s proposed congressional districts over strong Republican claims of partisan gerrymandering. Last November, New York’s Court of Appeals ordered the IRC to submit a revised redistricting plan to the legislature by February 28, 2024. 

District 16 has a population of roughly 750,000 people, and according to the latest census data, the share of the population that is 65 and older (about 20 percent) is the fastest growing of six age groups. The latest race and ethnicity distributions within the district are reported to be: White (40 percent), Hispanic (29 percent), Black (19 percent), and Asian (6 percent). 

The Representative in the 16th District is Jamaal Bowman, who won in 2020, beating the long-time incumbent, Eliot Engel, in the Democratic primary. In 2022, Bowman, a resident of Yonkers, won a three-way primary race that included Catherine Parker, a Rye Resident and long-serving Westchester County legislator. As was the case with Engel in previous general elections, Bowman easily defeated his Republican opponents.

In December, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced that he was running for Congress against Bowman in the Democratic primary, scheduled for June 24. A long-time resident of Rye and a Mount Vernon native, Latimer has an unbroken record of winning races at the local, county, and state levels during his long career in government. 

However, it is likely that candidates for all of the U.S. House seats from New York will not know what the boundaries and demographics of the district are for several months. If District 16 includes more of the Bronx, Bowman could be advantaged, but if the District 16 map includes more of Westchester, the odds favor Latimer. Yet the outcome will also be significantly influenced by issues such as the candidates’ support for the Israelis (Latimer) and Palestinians (Bowman), voter registration, and turnout.

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