How Democrat Max Rose Would Have Won NY-11 Under District Maps Thrown Out by Court
An analysis by THE CITY shows that if voters in Sunset Park and Park Slope had been in the district, as under earlier maps, Rose would have edged out Nicole Malliotakis — and maybe helped save Democrats’ House majority.
Max Rose suffered a crushing defeat on Tuesday in a rematch against incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), losing New York’s 11th congressional district by 24 points, compared to just 6 points in 2020.
But a data analysis conducted by THE CITY shows that if the New York State Court of Appeals hadn’t overturned the proposed congressional boundaries drawn by the Democratic-controlled state legislature earlier this year, Rose might have won the district by almost 4,000 votes, giving the seat to Democrats.
With control of the House hanging on a few yet to be decided seats, such an outcome could have played a pivotal role in determining which party sets the agenda in the next Congress.
Over 69,000 voters in NY-11 cast ballots for Rose this election, compared to about 113,500 for Malliotakis.
In THE CITY’s analysis of the overturned map of NY-11, which includes Park Slope and part of Sunset Park but not Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, Rose would have finished the race with more than 114,000 votes, beating Malliotakis’ 110,600 votes.
THE CITY’s analysis demonstrates how even relatively modest adjustments in district lines can powerfully shape electoral — and national — outcomes.
In the districts removed from the overturned NY-11 by a court-appointed special master, we attributed voters who pulled the lever for Gov. Kathy Hochul to Rose and voters who cast a ballot for Lee Zeldin to Malliotakis.
Our model assumes that voters in those districts cast ballots in both the gubernatorial race and the congressional race — though it’s possible for people to vote in one race and not another — and that voters followed their top-of-the-ticket party choice.
Hochul handily defeated Zeldin in the areas removed from the map, unsurprising given their liberal bent. Citywide, Hochul underperformed compared to former Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018.
Why It Matters
While control of the House has yet to be determined, several recently redrawn Congressional seats in Florida and New York saw GOP gains.
In New York, Democrats lost four seats to the GOP, the most in any state in the country:
- In Long Island’s NY-3, Democrat Robert Zimmerman lost to Republican George Santos, flipping a seat that had been held by Democrat Tom Suozzi.
- In NY-17, Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who was widely criticized for jumping districts and pushing out incumbent Mondaire Jones (D), lost to his Republican opponent, Mike Lawler.
- In NY-19, Democrat Josh Riley lost a close race to Republican Marc Molinaro, in a seat previously held by Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado (and briefly by Democrat Pat Ryan).
- In NY-4, Republican Anthony D’Esposito beat Democrat Lauren Gillen, in a seat previously held by Democrat Kathleen Rice.
Nationwide, while Democrats hoped to pick up seats to mitigate any losses, NY-11 was not widely considered a likely prospect, as Rose consistently trailed Malliotakis in polls.
Late last year, the Independent Redistricting Commission, the group in charge of producing new boundaries per an amendment to the state constitution in 2014 pushed forward by Cuomo, failed to produce maps by the deadline. Instead, the group — unable to reach a compromise — released competing maps from its five Democrat and five Republican members.
The process was then kicked back to the State Legislature, where Democrats held supermajorities plus the governorship, allowing them to draw maps as they saw fit. They pushed through maps that would’ve given Democrats the edge in 22 of New York’s 26 congressional districts, including in NY-11, where liberal bastion Park Slope and the heavily Latino section of Sunset Park had been added to the district that currently represents Staten Island and a conservative slice of southern Brooklyn.
But a Republican-led lawsuit to overturn the proposed map — funded by cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, who poured millions into Zeldin’s run for governor — prevailed. In April 2022, the New York State Court of Appeals stated that the congressional districts drawn by Democrats violated a ban on partisan gerrymandering. A judge appointed Jonathan Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, as special master in charge of drawing a politically neutral map.
Cervas’ map gave New York eight competitive House seats, including NY-11.
That race, in the boundaries as drawn and implemented, turned out not to be so competitive after all.