Late Friday night, the Steuben County Supreme Court formally approved New York’s Congressional and State Senate districts. These lines were drawn by the court-appointed Special Master, who released the first draft of the lines last Monday. The final lines had some adjustments made to them based on significant feedback and concerns that were raised during the comment period last week. Based on the final lines and demographics, in Congress, there are 15 Democratic seats, 3 Republican seats, and 8 competitive seats, and in the State Senate, there are 36 Democratic seats, 15 Republican seats, and 12 competitive seats.
Since Friday night, we have seen a number of lawmakers announcing their intentions to run, or not run as the case may be, for the various new and largely shifted Congressional and Senate seats. The release of the final lines coincided with the immediate start of the brand-new petitioning process for those interested in running for Congress or State Senate. For candidates that had already submitted petitions and were deemed qualified to run for Congress or State Senate, they will not have to re-petition. They will be able to use their previous petitions to qualify for the August 23 primary ballot and must verify with the Board of Elections which Congressional or State Senate seat they will seek in the upcoming election. However, if a candidate was previously running for Congress and now wants to run for State Senate, they would need to re-petition and vice versa. The re-opened petitioning process also means that new candidates can declare their candidacy for office and candidates that were thrown off the ballot for invalid petitions can once again seek to gain ballot access.
The legislative session is scheduled to end on Thursday, June 2, though it remains to be seen if the legislature can actually finish on time. There are many high-profile issues (including NYC mayoral control, the expiration of the 421-a tax exemption, and gun control legislation) that must be addressed and only a few scheduled legislative session days to deal with these issues and the other typical end of session issues. Once session ends, the campaigning will begin in earnest. The first primary (for the Assembly and statewide office holders) is scheduled to occur on June 28. The second primary (for Congress and State Senate) is scheduled to occur on August 23. There are groups seeking to force the June 28 primary date to be moved to August 23 so that all primary elections will be held at the same time. As yet, this push has proven unsuccessful, but the legislature could in theory act before they adjourn session. There is also a possibility that one of the various legal challenges still pending results in the court’s ruling that the primary elections should be consolidated. Looming over all of this is the lawsuit filed last week in Manhattan arguing that the Assembly district maps are invalid.
Lieutenant Governor Update
Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that Representative Antonio Delgado will be sworn in as Lieutenant Governor on Wednesday, May 25. This will allow the special election for his seat in the 19th Congressional district to be held on August 23, the same day as the Congressional and State Senate primaries.
In this very unique year, it is important to note a nuance that exists for this Congressional seat. The Republican announced candidate for this seat is Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, and the Democratic announced candidate for this seat is Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. Whoever wins the special election will serve out the remainder of Representative Delgado’s term until December 31 of this year. However, given the newly drawn lines, regardless of who wins the special election, Democratic candidate Pat Ryan will be seeking election to the 18th Congressional seat while Republican candidate Marc Molinaro will be seeking election to the 19th Congressional seat for next year. So, while only one will win the special election, there is a possibility that both will end up in Congress in 2023.
We will continue to share any additional information of importance as it is released. If you have additional questions about this update, please reach out to a member of our Government Affairs practice group for assistance: