New York state’s bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), in a recent 9-1 vote, approved a new congressional map following a years-long battle between the Democratic and Republican parties. The map will now be sent to the New York State Legislature for approval.

The commission was ordered to create new district lines for the 2024 election following a Court of Appeal ruling that it “failed to discharge its constitutional duty.” With a more conservative bench, the same court struck down statewide Democrats’ congressional map as an unconstitutional gerrymander, leading to an upstate court drawing lines that led to Republicans winning 11 of 26 seats.

“I am extremely proud to lead this commission as we came together across the aisle and created a single map proposal to send to the legislature,” Ken Jenkins, the commission’s chairman, said in a press release. “This is a historic moment for this commission and for the state of New York. I am honored to have worked together with the members on this commission toward securing proper representation for New Yorkers.”

The current 19th district, which includes Binghamton University, the City of Binghamton and the rest of Broome County, is key to Democrats’ path back to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a battleground district that would have voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election by 4.6 points. It is represented by Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro who narrowly defeated Democrat Josh Riley in 2022. Molinaro opposed the court’s decision to throw out the current map, framing the effort as another attempt by statewide Democrats to steal several competitive seats held by Republicans and to silence voters.

“I didn’t think it was necessary to revisit these maps to begin with, but I’m not going to harp on the past,” Molinaro said in a statement. “These changes keep intact the regional identity of my district and allow me to keep fighting for the families, farmers and small businesses that call upstate New York home.”

Both State Sen. Lea Webb and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo — Greater Binghamton’s representatives in Albany — did not respond to Pipe Dream’s request for comment.

The new map would keep Broome County as the district’s anchor but alter many other parts of the district — entirely removing Tioga County, splitting Cortland County and adding portions of Orange, Rensselaer and Otsego counties, along with all of Schoharie County to the district. These changes will add Republican territory, aiding Molinaro’s chances in November.

House Republicans currently hold a razor-thin majority, and New York is expected to be one of the most important states in deciding control of the House. In 2022, New York Republicans flipped four seats while holding several competitive districts. Following the expulsion of George Santos in December 2023 and Democrat Tom Suozzi’s recent victory on Long Island, House Republicans’ majority has narrowed even further.

Timothy Martinson, a senior majoring in political science, shared his view on the new map unveiled by the Redistricting Commission and the redistricting process in New York state. He expressed support for the Commission drawing a new map but is skeptical about the map’s representation of New York.

“It’s good that the [commission] was given a chance to create a new map, but the map itself left much to be desired,” Martinson said. “I think it was probably a bipartisan compromise to benefit Democrats in districts 18 and 22 while shoring up Molinaro’s reelection chances. It hardly changed much upstate and didn’t touch a single district downstate, so I think there could definitely be some changes to be made. I’m hoping the State Legislature takes the reins to create a map that better suits both upstate and downstate.”