“Stop excluding people of color.”
That’s the message in a new ad released Monday by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, blasting the way congressional districts in New York are being redrawn after the state’s highest court tossed out the maps created by the state legislature and governor.
The 30-second digital spot — which is the Brooklyn Democrat’s first ad spending of the campaign — will run in his congressional district and in Albany. His campaign says the ad buy is in the five-figures.
NY1 was the first to obtain a copy of the ad.
Watch the ad, voiced by Jeffries, here: https://t.co/V35qIwuDR1— Kevin Frey (@KevinFreyTV) May 9, 2022
In it, Jeffries criticizes a meeting held Friday in upstate New York where the court-appointed special master heard from the public on how he should shape the new district lines.
The meeting took place in Steuben County, a 250-mile drive from New York City, which Jeffries says is unfair to people in his district.
“You can’t get there by plane. There’s no train. The bus? It takes ten hours,” Jeffries says in the ad. “If someone makes it impossible for you to be heard, chances are they don’t want you to be.”
A Spectrum News report, about last week’s Steuben County meeting noted that a “large majority of the speakers were from New York City.”
Just two weeks ago, New York’s State Court of Appeals shot down congressional maps drawn by Democrats in Albany. A special master is now tasked with drawing the lines.
The maps previously passed by the legislature would have opened the door to Democrats picking up a handful of congressional seats in New York — a pivotal gain in a year where Democrats are facing stiff headwinds across the rest of the country and are poised to lose their slim House majority.
The next maps may not benefit Democrats quite so much.
Jeffries is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a top position in leadership, and is viewed as someone who could make a play to be the top Democrat in the caucus when Speaker Nancy Pelosi retires.
The new ad could help him raise his profile even further and show him to be a fighter for Democratic interests. It is also the latest step he has taken to raise the alarm about the process of redrawing the state’s congressional districts.
He has written a letter to the judge overseeing the new redistricting process, asking for additional hearings in New York City and other cities across the state.
“Millions and millions of voters, here in New York City, throughout downstate New York, are unable to have their voices heard in this redistricting process,” Jeffries said at a media event last week. “That is unacceptable. That is unconscionable. That is un-American,”