Now, I know Greenpointers just ran some stories entitled “How Greenpoint Could Be Affected by a New York State Court’s Decision to Throw Out Legislative Maps” and “Greenpoint Got a New State Senate District. Then The Courts Took a Look.”
I know this might be a confusing time for local politics.
But by my liberal estimates, about five of y’all read those articles, so I shouldn’t worry too much about further confusing our readers.
Here’s the skinny. Redistricting happens every 10 years, based on the census numbers. In 2014, a decision was made to create an independent, bipartisan commission to draw the maps. They didn’t do it in time, so a Democrat-led state legislature took over to create maps of their own. That was all fine and dandy until a judge ruled that those maps were gerrymandered and unconstitutional because the legislature should not have drawn them in the first place.
Unfortunately, that decision was made well after a competitive election cycle was already underway. Petitioning, the first step to officially getting on the ballot, finally wrapped up. Most candidates made it, some did not. Greenpoint was drawn into a new district. When the judge tossed out the districts, he assigned an independent special master, Jonathan Cervas, to draw the maps. His maps look pretty different from the maps that the legislature had drawn.
What does this mean for Greenpoint?
- The State Assembly lines were not changed. Assemblymember Emily Gallagher and challenger Paddy O’Sullivan will continue to run.
- The State Senate lines changed a lot, however, Greenpoint is still included in the new district for which Kristen Gonzalez and Elizabeth Crowley are running. The lines are different, but the candidates are not.
- Our Congressional district is COMPLETELY different. We will no longer be in Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s district. And the crazy thing? Carolyn Maloney might not even represent Carolyn Maloney’s district.
Let’s unpack the latter two.
Previously, Greenpoint was drawn into the newly created State Senate District 17. Below, on the left side is the map of the old district, and the right is the finalized map that Cervas drew.
The district was mostly western Queens with our little pocket of Brooklyn.
Now we are in State Senate District 59, which is largely waterfront-based — Greenpoint, stretching into Long Island City, comprising a good chunk of Astoria. Interestingly, the district now includes parts of Manhattan, with Stuy-town, Gramercy, and Cooper Village. All in all, an East River situated district.
A district that consolidates Greenpoint, Long Island City, and Astoria, areas considered strongholds for Democratic Socialists of America, could spell out good news for a progressive candidate running there. Kristen Gonzalez, endorsed by the DSA and based out of Long Island City, will continue to run. Elizabeth Crowley will also continue her campaign, though critics have pointed out that she does not live in this newly drawn district. This is actually entirely permissible under New York state law, which requires that candidates be a resident of the state but does not mandate them to reside in their district. Though Crowley had amassed some name recognition through her previous tenure on City Council and a run for Queens borough president, it will be interesting to see if that, as well as her more moderate platform, will be able to translate to a new district.
Greenpoint-based candidate Françoise Olivas has not publicly commented on the status of her campaign, however, she will likely continue her run as well. Japneet Singh is now in State Senate District 15.
The new Congressional maps brought about some of the most surprising changes. Greenpoint has long been a part of the 12th Congressional district, represented by Carolyn Maloney. Cervas redrew the twelfth district to unify the east and west sides of Manhattan; therefore, it no longer includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens. As a result of condensing Manhattan, two long-serving incumbents will now face off against each other — Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. Third-time candidate Suraj Patel will also continue his campaign.
“I don’t think this is going to affect him. In fact, it might even help him,” said Émilia Decaudin, a Queens-based State Committee member who created a user-friendly version of the maps. “To the extent that Nadler and Maloney are now going head to head, maybe they’ll split the traditional vote.”
Unfortunately, for another challenger, Rana Abdelhamid, these new maps do not present a viable path to success, effectively pushing her out of the race. “She’d have to run against AOC or against Nydia Velázquez and neither of those are options for her,” Decaudin continued. “Or she’d have to move to Manhattan or otherwise run in Manhattan, which she could choose to do, but I think it would be very difficult for her because she loses Long Island City and Astoria…as well as parts of lower Manhattan, south of 14th Street, that would have been friendly to her.”
So where does this all leave Greenpoint in terms of Congressional representation?
Greenpointers, meet your new district — NY-7! We’re now in a district that includes Williamsburg, Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Long Island City. Representative Nydia Velázquez currently represents NY-7 and announced her intention to seek reelection in the newly redrawn district, though these new maps now put her residency in NY-10.
And get ready to hear the phrase “NY-10” a lot in the coming months, as everyone and their mother have contemplated a run in this district. And when I say everyone, this includes former mayor Bill de Blasio.