The New York Conservative Party Political Action Committee met in Albany Sunday and Monday.
Topics included opposition to the New York Equal Rights Amendment, the Medical Aid in Dying bill and Good Cause Eviction.
The focus on Monday, however, was redistricting.
With the Feb. 28 deadline for new congressional maps looming, the consensus among those conservative voices was a simple one: The current maps themselves aren’t broken, so the Independent Redistricting Commission shouldn’t be fixing them.
Former Republican U.S. Rep. and candidate for New York governor Lee Zeldin joined with other Republicans and Bobbie Anne Cox, the Democratic executive director of Stop New York Corruption, urging the Independent Redistricting Commission to issue the current congressional maps drawn by a special master in 2022, blaming the prolonged process on what he calls a power-grab by Democrats in Albany.
“The answer is obviously, the IRC should just adopt the current lines,” he said. “You all know that at the end of the day, this is where this is heading, to go to a state Legislature to allow a supermajority Assembly and Senate, and a Democrat governor solely as a quest for more power.”
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt also called on the commission to maintain the current maps, classifying the state Court of Appeals' decision as being about procedure, not substance.
“They did not say at any point that these maps were wrong, gerrymandered, or faulty,” he said. “They simply said they had to go back, they sort of missed a step.”
Cox, whose status as a Democrat received a few friendly barbs from the group, told reporters that the 2022 maps served their intended purpose last time around.
“It was used in the 2022 congressional elections and that yielded very competitive races here in New York state for the first time in a very long time,” she said.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris responded Tuesday, blaming Republican tactics for the court's ultimate decision while dismissing Zeldin’s assertion that power hungry Democrats are to blame for the chaos.
"It was never contemplated that a Republican judge would pick one person from out of state to draw the lines the way they want them to be drawn,” he said. “The highest court in the state has said that's not how it should be done.”
Ortt emphasized that the impacts of the decision go far beyond partisan exchanges in Albany.
He expressed concerns about a repeat of 2022's double primary, while driving home the significance of whatever the outcome may be.
“It’s about potentially the right of New Yorkers to decide who controls Congress, and that is a huge deal and has implications far beyond New York state,” he said.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to IRC Chairman Ken Jenkins for comment, we has not heard back.