Because of the pandemic and the state’s large immigrant population, the conventional wisdom was that New York could have lost two Congressional District seats, instead of only one. But as it turned out, the state didn’t do so badly in the decennial count. 

New York state missed not losing a seat at all by a mere 89 people, according to the U.S. Census. 

“It’s a small victory,” said Cornell Institute for Public Affairs lecturer Dan Lamb. “New York has lost at least two seats going back every decade to 1950. It’s never good to lose a seat, but this is the best we’ve done in that period.”

Since New York’s new Redistricting Commission is tasked with drawing the state’s new maps, Lamb pointed to Congressman Tom Reed’s recent decision not to run for reelection. 

“It looks like Congressman Reed did the commission a favor,” he said.

But former state Senator George Winner, who sits on the commission and lives in the 23rd Congressional District, isn’t so sure. 

“It depends on the data,” he said. “This is just the apportionment data, as far as how many Congressional seats we’re going to have. It isn’t the other data that we need to actually draw districts lines.”

The so-called block data will be released by the Census in mid-August, about six weeks earlier than expected. But Winner is still unable to say when the commission’s maps will be completed. 

Senator Winner also spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about whether he thinks the legislature will accept the commission’s recommendations (he’s cynical) and if there is any structure in place to limit the lobbying of commission members. 

While $4 million was appropriated in the recently passed state budget to the commission, the legislature hasn’t yet distributed the funding. Winner says it’s expected any day.