New Congressional maps: Stefanik apparently keeps Fort Drum, Jefferson County split in 2

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 3:28 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - It appears that north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik will represent all of Fort Drum, instead of a small part of it, under proposed new redistricting maps.

A spokesperson for Stefanik said the maps appear to show the military installation is now fully within the 21st Congressional District.

The congresswoman is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and has spent years advocating for Fort Drum.

Under the old maps drawn by Democrats and later thrown out by a judge as unconstitutional, Stefanik would have represented the northern part of Drum consisting of firing ranges north of the main post.

The original plan would have shifted Fort Drum’s headquarters, barracks, and Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield into a new district.

The new map drafts appear to show the entire post is now in one Congressional district rather than two.

Stefanik issued the following statement:

“I look forward to running for re-election in NY-21 where I have been honored and humbled to earn historic support every election cycle! I will always work my very hardest to deliver real results for the hardworking families in Upstate New York and the North Country.”

The map also puts Stefanik and 20th Congressional District incumbent Paul Tonko in the same district. Tonko represents the Capital Region.

So, will the Democrat vie for the heavily-Republican 21st Congressional seat?

In a tweet, Tonko wrote, “If today’s maps are finalized, I intend to run for reelection in New York’s 20th Congressional District,” meaning he’ll run to represent a district he doesn’t currently live in.

Meanwhile, the draft map shows Jefferson County would be split in two.

“The Pollyanna version of it would be that you’d get twice as much representation in Congress. I think the pessimistic, glass-half-empty way would say you’d really have no representation because you’re so insignificant to their overall district,” said Jude Seymour, Jefferson County Board of Elections Republican commissioner.

The 21st District would no longer include Watertown. The proposed map appears to show Wellesley Island and the villages of Black River and Carthage would be split into separate congressional districts.

“When we talk about like communities or, you know, communities that share specific characteristics, that’s kind of weird,” said Seymour.

Weird, but not out of the ordinary.

“They gotta draw the line somewhere, so it just happened to be through a Jefferson County village this time,” he said.

Watertown and much of western Jefferson County go to the newly configured 24th Congressional District, which stretches from Niagara Falls to Alexandria Bay.

The new maps were drawn by a neutral “special master.”

Seymour says the maps still have to go through public input, but will likely be finalized by Friday.

And a reminder - there will be two primaries this year. One on June 28 for state Assembly. which is also now being challenged in court, and another on August 23 for congressional and state Senate seats.

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