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GOP leaders hail judge's decision that updated district maps are unconstitutional

Rob Ortt (left) and Nick Langworthy, standing at a podium with media microphones and the seal of the New York State Republican Party on it
Michael Mroziak
New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy (right) speaks Friday in Buffalo. With him is New York State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt.

State Republican leaders are welcoming a judge’s ruling that the new congressional and legislative maps drawn up by the Democratic-led legislature are unconstitutional.

On Thursday, State Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister, who sits on the bench in Steuben County, ruled that the original maps showed insufficient bipartisan support, and ordered new maps drawn.

Friday morning, New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy pounced, calling Democrats hypocrites for putting forth what he deemed a heavily gerrymandered map, and pointed the blame directly at Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“They make sweeping protestations about fairness and elections and how they're going to run transparent government. It's a total joke. Kathy Hochul colluded with New York and Washington Democrats to ram through the most brazen rigging of our elections we've ever seen. The courts ruled and now they must comply,” Langworthy said.

Under the judge’s order, the Legislature now has until April 11 to revise the maps. If those drafts are also rejected, the state will be ordered to hire a court-approved third party to draw the maps.

State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt noted that the legislature also had not yet passed a budget for the new fiscal year, which began Friday. He suggested lawmakers should go right to work.

“I don’t think this is going to make their lives any easier. But look, the bottom line is they brought themselves here. They caused this. They could have done right the first time. They could have made sure the IRC actually worked and produced a map. And then that would have been, I think, very difficult for a judge to strike down,” Ortt said. “They could have reached out to us when they were drawing their maps, and come up with fair maps to adhere to the will of New Yorkers. And they didn't. They brazenly thumbed their nose at the people in New York, and drew these very partisan maps, and did not follow the Constitution. I think that's the key point.”

Hochul, in response to the ruling, stated late Thursday she and Attorney General Letitia James would file an appeal. The Senate and Assembly were both adjourned until Monday, April 4.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.