A federal judge capped off a tumultuous week of cartography by releasing a final draft of Brooklyn’s Congressional districts that will keep Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in a historically black electoral zone — a big win for House hopeful and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who considers the neighborhoods his political strongholds.
Previous maps indicated that Jeffries (D–Fort Greene) would lose his biggest cadre of supporters in his race against Rep. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene).
But insiders say the new map means Jeffries — who a decade ago was forced to move so he could run for Assembly amid gerrymandered district lines — will have a real shot in this summer’s primary, even though he’s facing an incumbent who has been in office for nearly 30 years.
Jeffries saw the new map as a major victory for his campaign.
“Judge [Roanne] Mann clearly acknowledged that keeping communities of interest together is paramount to a fair and just redistricting process and the court should be commended,” said Jeffries. “This is a victory for the residents of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill who will benefit from the preservation of historically African-American, central Brooklyn neighborhoods within the same congressional district.”
The new maps will significantly alter the political landscape across the borough:
Towns, Jeffries and fellow House candidate Councilman Charles Barron (D–Canarsie) will battle over a familiar swath of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York and Canarsie — but they’ll also be fighting for Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, part of Flatlands, and sections of Queens, absorbing much of Rep. Bob Turner’s current district.
The trio would lose a section of largely Hasidic Jewish Williamsburg to a district currently represented by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Brooklyn Heights), who would gain Carroll Gardens, South Slope, and Manhattan’s Chinatown. But Velazquez — who is facing a challenge from Councilman Erik Dilan (D–Bushwick) — will lose Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s Northside to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan), who once represented North Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D–Park Slope) would gain ground in Midwood, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Sheepshead Bay.
A panel judicial is expected to approve the maps in the next few days.