Weirdness in New York

The chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee lost his re-election.

Mary Katharine Ham retweets a Townhall headline, “Sean Patrick Maloney Concedes, Becoming First DCCC Chair to Lose General Election Since 1980,” and comments, “What a weird night.”

There is, indeed, a weirdness to the person in charge of the Democrats’ House campaign losing his own election on a night when his caucus outperformed the polls (slightly) and historical trends (significantly).

It is, however, easily explainable: he’s a victim of redistricting. New York Democrats tried to gerrymander a map to ensure that this didn’t happen but, alas, the state’s highest court ruled it “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose,” resulting in a map much more favorable for Republicans.

Way back in May, I wrote a piece for the New York Post, at their invitation, this amounted to unilateral disarmament on the party’s part—an instance of doing the right thing being the wrong thing—because Republican states were playing by different rules. Indeed, if the GOP captures the House, as is still expected, it may well be by the margin of New York’s new, fairly-drawn districts.

FILED UNDER: 2022 Election, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mattbernius says:

    [I]t may well be by the margin of New York’s new, fairly-drawn districts.

    Very much this. TY for calling out that impact (especially in the face where once against, Democrats outperformed Republicans in statewide races in Minnesota, but due to gerrymandering were lucky to block a Republican super majority).

    It is, however, easily explainable: he’s a victim of redistricting.

    That’s part of it. And, it’s also worth noting that NY and NJ were both states where, while they didn’t do as poorly as predicted, Democrats didn’t do particularly well. I think there is a credible argument that its a case where due to the Democratic lean of the state, there were more protest votes that went to Republicans (which, combined with redistricting, did the damage).

  2. James R Ehrler says:

    @mattbernius: Not sure you meant Minnesota. The DFL kept control of the State House and gained control of the State Senate. They also swept all executive offices. Maybe you mean Wisconsin though I don’t believe a R super majority has yet been called.

  3. James R Ehrler says:

    @James R Ehrler: Must be Wisconsin as the Dems did just avoid facing a supermajority and it is gerrymandered terribly.

  4. mattbernius says:

    @James R Ehrler:
    TY for the correction. I mentally flipped the two. Minnesota actually passed a law that significantly un-gerrymandered the state and it had a major impact this time around (as opposed to Wisconsin where the Republicans were essentially running on a platform of attempting to ensure that outside of neutered statewide positions, no Democrat will ever hold a position of power in the State.).

  5. Gustopher says:

    I really want Illinois to create a map gerrymandered to have zero Republican representatives. New York can’t, due to the judges, and California has an independent redistricting, so maybe Illinois.

    I’m thinking a starburst pattern, where each district is majority Democratic because of a chunk of Chicago. It would then be a test case for the Supreme Court to try to figure out partisan gerrymandering.

    On the plus side, districts would be the same size, and contiguous. Might even avoid weird edges.

  6. Gavin says:

    This isn’t weird.
    Corporate/centrist Dems hate with the burning passion of a thousand suns the progressives — aka the politicians who actually work for actual people.
    SPM thought he’d be cute and switch districts to take out a progressive — and he did. He just got gobsmacked with the objective reality that people didn’t give a rip who he personally was. Without the progressive personal ground game [to counteract the Faux propaganda] his “new” constituents had no idea who he was & what he stood for.
    Note the irony, of course, that if BuildBackBetter had been larger and earlier we’d be talking about a blue wave tonight and SPM would likely have been elected because the working-class constituency would have noticed.