Albany Beat – May 27, 2022 | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | Mark Gronich | 24 Iyyar 5782 – 25 May 2022
Photo credit: Marc Gronich
New number two, new district lines
There’s a new lieutenant governor in New York. His name is Antonio Delgado, a former rapper known as AD the Voice, and now a former congressman from the Hudson Valley area. He was sworn in as 65 of New Yorke lieutenant governor on Wednesday, May 25, with just three days left until the end of the legislative session. One of the Constitutional duties of the Lieutenant Governor is to preside over the State Senate.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, 63, called Delgado, 45, her partner, and promised to keep him busy with more than a ceremonial role.
Delgado’s spin on his career as a rap artist using foul language in his lyrics is that his time in the music industry was focused on empowering youth through Hip Hop culture.
Delgado earned a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship while attending Colgate University in the rural town of Hamilton, Madison County, 35 miles east of Syracuse. At Colgate, he excelled in men’s basketball. On a Rhodes Scholarship, he studied at Queen’s College, from which he received a Master of Arts in 2001. In 2005, Delgado graduated from Harvard Law School.
The Rhinebeck, Dutchess County resident is known to occasionally visit Chabad Dutchess, the Rhinebeck Jewish Center, which is under the direction of Rabbi Hanoch and Tzivie Hecht. Delgado’s wife, Lacey Schwartz, who is biracial, identifies as Jewish and they say they are raising their twin sons, Maxwell and Coltrane, with a Jewish upbringing and understanding. (It is unclear exactly what this means.)
Delgado said he was Afro-Latino, which means he is black and has Latin roots. Her parental ancestry is African-American and Cape Verdean. Her Latino ancestry comes from her grandparents, according to the governor’s press office.
Delgado grew up in the poor Schenectady neighborhood of Hamilton Hill with his younger brother Kito.
A staunch Democrat, as of November 2021, Delgado had voted in accordance with Joe Biden’s stated position 100% of the time. With Delgado resigning from Congress, that leaves a narrower majority margin for Democrats in Washington. There are now 220 Democrats, 208 Republicans and seven vacant seats in the House of Representatives. Hochul called for a special election to fill Delgado’s seat on Aug. 23, the same day New York holds its primaries for the congressional and state Senate races. Two county leaders, Marc Molinaro of Dutchess County and Pat Ryan of Ulster County, are expected to battle to succeed Delgado under current district lines. The district covers 11 counties from the New England border through the Catskills to the Pennsylvania border.
Whoever wins this race will have to fight again in November under the newly adopted district lines. The newly drawn district stretches from the Massachusetts border to Ithaca, encompassing nine counties and parts of two others.
Statewide, new congressional district lines have many senators and assemblymen running for Congress and many assemblymen see an opportunity to move to the state senate. The massive shift in political maneuverings is underway, creating plenty of primaries for the month of August.
In Brooklyn, the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg is in the Seventh Congressional District. Mill Basin, Brighton Beach and Marine Park are in the Eighth Congressional District. The Jewish enclaves of Crown Heights and Midwood are in the Ninth Congressional District, while Borough Park is split between the Ninth and Tenth Congressional Districts.
In Manhattan, the Lower East Side joins Brooklyn and is in the newly created and hotly contested Tenth Congressional District. Staten Island constitutes a district, the 11th, which also includes a small part of Brooklyn.
Back in Manhattan, the Upper East Side and Upper West Side will have the same representative in the newly created Twelfth Congressional District. Washington Heights, home of Yeshiva University and home to many students, is now in the 13th Ward.
In the Bronx, the Jewish community of Riverdale is in the 15e congressional constituency.
In Westchester County, all Jewish communities, mainly in the southern part of the county will be in the 16e congressional constituency.
In Queens, the Jewish neighborhoods of Hollis, Rochdale and Hillside are in the Fifth Congressional District. Jewish neighborhoods such as Bayside, Fresh Meadows, and Flushing are in the Sixth Congressional District. Kew Gardens Hills is divided between the fifth and sixth districts.
In Nassau County, the posh towns of Great Neck, Glen Cove, and Manhasset are found in the Third District. The Five Towns and Jones Beach are in the Fourth Ward. Districts One and Two cover all of Suffolk County.
In Rockland County, Monsey, New Square, Wesley Hills and Montebello are part of the 17e district, which also includes North Westchester, all of Putnam and the southern part of Dutchess County.
In Orange County, Kiryas Joel, Monroe and Woodbury are part of the 18e congressional district, which also includes the southern part of Ulster County and northern Dutchess County, home to several Chabad houses.
Sullivan County, the summer home of many religious Jews, is at 19e district that winds around the Pennsylvania border and extends into Ithaca, including Binghamton and Oneonta, which has Jewish students attending SUNY schools with attached Chabad houses.
The Rochester area, which includes the Jewish-populated city of Brighton and a yeshiva, is at 25e congressional district, represented by Congressman Joe Morelle, a Democrat.
The city of Buffalo and the town of Amherst, where many Jewish students attend college, are at 26e congressional constituency.
These new lines caused a great upheaval among the Democrats who found themselves face to face. Most intraparty primaries have been avoided, with some Democrats having to contest in a neighborhood far from their home. With a red wave expected in November, anyone who loses their race to a Republican is out of a job. If they win their race in November, they will have to move to the new neighborhood. Either way, it could augur hurt feelings among once-friendly party compatriots.
One example is incumbent Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam, Montgomery County). Her home was placed in the North Country district represented by incumbent Republican Elise Stefanik (Schuylerville, Saratoga County). Instead of facing a popular Republican in a district in which Stefanik is popular, Tonko decided to run in a safer district that includes most of his current Capital District district. He still faces the challenge of a little-known and underfunded Republican, Liz Joy.
In Western New York, Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park, Erie County) is running in a seat recently vacated by Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, Steuben County). The district runs along the southern part of New York, the northern border of Pennsylvania.
Another potential conflict that was averted was in central New York and northern counties. Incumbent Claudia Tenney (R – New Hartford, Oneida County) gives way to newcomer Steve Wells of Cazenovia, Madison County. Tenney runs in a newly configured 24e district that encompasses nine counties and parts of three others along the northern border. Tenney does not live in either county, but the party registration favors a Republican nominee.
Wells, a businessman who took on Tenney in 2016, lost to her in a primary battle. The district is compact and includes Onondaga, Oneida, and Madison counties. The 22ndn/a The district is an open seat with the retirement of incumbent John Katko (R-Syracuse, Onondaga County).
The race everyone is talking about is the battle royale between two longtime friends and starters for 30 years, Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler. Their neighborhoods were merged because the lines changed from an east-west to a north-south neighborhood in midtown Manhattan. Neither Maloney nor Nadler want to give up their perch in a lucrative neighborhood that includes many landmarks. Nadler once told me, “If I lose my seat, everyone’s seat is vulnerable.”
Another district race on the media radar is the 10e, which stretches from lower Manhattan to the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Several Democrats, too numerous to mention, have already thrown their hats in the ring, including state senators and state assembly members. Some of the most notable entries include former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congresswoman Yuh-Line Niou, a Taiwanese native who has openly admitted to being on the autism spectrum, and World Congresswoman Jones, one of the first black and gay members of the House, who was kicked out of his race in Rockland and Westchester counties instead of facing a primary against Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring, Putnam County), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Stay tuned. Keep reading. There are more exciting developments on the redistricting front to come in next month’s column.