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Af­ter months of hear­ings and in­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tions, the New York State In­de­pen­dent Re­dis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion (NYIRC), led by Deputy Westch­ester County Ex­ec­u­tive Ken Jenk­ins, re­leased its pro­posed Con­gres­sional vot­ing dis­tricts for the 2024 elec­tion. If the map is ap­proved by the state leg­is­la­ture (and that re­mains a big IF), it will mean the lines sep­a­rat­ing Dis­tricts 16 and 17 will re­main pretty much ex­actly as they were in 2022.

As it did in the last elec­tion, the fault line be­tween the two dis­tricts runs right through Tar­ry­town, veer­ing sharply north­ward along the crest line to the Sleepy Hol­low bor­der be­fore cut­ting back east into the cen­ter of the county. That will mean that res­i­dents of the vil­lage who live close to the river will be vot­ing in CD-17. That’s where De­mo­c­rat Mondaire Jones is try­ing to re­gain his seat from Re­pub­li­can Mike Lawler, who beat out Sean Patrick Mal­oney in 2022. Vot­ers to the east, from Bene­dict Av­enue up through Wil­son Park, will be vot­ing in CD-16, where first term in­cum­bent Ja­maal Bow­man is fac­ing pri­mary chal­lenges from County Ex­ec­u­tive George La­timer and po­lit­i­cal new­comer Marty Dolan of Irv­ing­ton.

Vot­ers in Sleepy Hol­low will be in CD-17, while Irv­ing­ton and Dobbs Ferry are en­tirely within CD-16.

Both dis­tricts have tra­di­tion­ally voted De­mo­c­ra­tic, with CD-16, which runs through parts of Yonkers, do­ing so more con­sis­tently. It con­tains both sub­stan­tial Jew­ish and Black pop­u­la­tions. Had the re­dis­trict­ing lines brought some of the pre­dom­i­nantly Black neigh­bor­hoods of the Bronx into the dis­trict, it could have coun­ter­bal­anced what is per­ceived to be a sig­nif­i­cant Jew­ish vote in the Green­burgh com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Hast­ings, Ard­s­ley, Dobbs Ferry and Irv­ing­ton. This is a year when that could be sig­nif­i­cant.

La­timer has the back­ing of the Amer­i­can Is­raeli Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Com­mit­tee (AIPAC), the rich and pow­er­ful Jew­ish lobby that has tar­geted Bow­man for his pro-Pales­tin­ian com­ments. The cam­paign rhetoric has turned nasty re­cently, with Bow­man sup­port­ers pro­mot­ing an al­leged ex­change in which La­timer told a woman in Yonkers that the in­cum­bent con­gress­man had taken money from Hamas. The La­timer cam­paign fired back, say­ing that af­ter a string of gaffes and mis­steps start­ing with the fire alarm fi­asco at the Capi­tol Build­ing, this was “an­other day, an­other base­less at­tack from the scan­dal-plagued Ja­maal Bow­man.”

Bow­man, in turn, ac­cused La­timer of “base­lessly” ac­cus­ing him of ac­cept­ing money from Hamas; his cam­paign sent a let­ter threat­en­ing La­timer with a defama­tion law­suit.

Watch­ing all this with a hint of glee is Marty Dolan, a long­shot third pri­mary can­di­date who is pleased with the new dis­trict lines, he says be­cause it is “a win for Westch­ester and in par­tic­u­lar for the long-term strength of its Jew­ish vot­ers.”

With La­timer’s strong record as County Ex­ec­u­tive, how­ever, as well as a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with vir­tu­ally every mu­nic­i­pal of­fice­holder in Westch­ester, it is un­likely that Dolan would ben­e­fit mean­ing­fully from this fight. With no plau­si­ble Re­pub­li­can can­di­date in sight, the dis­trict is all  but cer­tain to elect a De­mo­c­rat.

The more sig­nif­i­cant bat­tle from a na­tional per­spec­tive is in CD-17, where Mondaire Jones is hop­ing to do what Tom Suozzi did on Long Is­land. But Re­pub­li­can in­cum­bent Mike Lawler is not Mazi Pilip, not to men­tion a George San­tos. Lawler has man­aged for the most part to avoid be­ing dragged into the MAGA mael­strom in Wash­ing­ton and has put to­gether a de­cent con­stituent ser­vice op­er­a­tion at home—par­tic­u­larly in his strong­holds on the west side of the Hud­son. Still, he is an easy tar­get for Jones’ at­tacks for his party-line votes, such as im­peach­ing Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Ale­jan­dro May­orkis and oth­er­wise par­tic­i­pat­ing in what Jones ac­cu­rately calls “the least pro­duc­tive Con­gress in his­tory.”

CD-17, de­mo­graph­i­cally, should be a De­mo­c­ra­tic dis­trict. In 2020, when Jones was first elected, Biden won it by 20 points; in 2022, Lawler squeaked by one per­cent­age point. Which way it goes in No­vem­ber will de­pend a lot on what the is­sues are. If im­mi­gra­tion and the econ­omy re­main the lead­ing is­sues among vot­ers, that would fa­vor Lawler. If Trump, Trump­ism and con­trol of Con­gress rise to the top, it would fa­vor Mondaire.

Mean­while, it is still not cer­tain that the NYIRC map re­vealed this week will hold, It must first win ap­proval in Al­bany. Even be­fore the map was pre­sented to the leg­is­la­ture, Sen­a­tor James Sk­oufis, a De­mo­c­rat from a dis­trict that strad­dles CD-17 and CD-18–and chair of the com­mit­tee that over­sees gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions, has said he would vote against it. On the other hand, Ha­keem Jef­fries, Mi­nor­ity Leader and thus the top De­mo­c­rat in the House, is said to have kept a close eye on the com­mit­tee’s work and is likely to wield his in­flu­ence in Al­bany. That could be dispositive.


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