There's already buzz that Albany Democrats, if given the chance, could opt for a "safer play" than the map they pursued in 2022, targeting five or six GOP incumbents who are already at varying degrees of risk in 2024. That could mean a 20D-6R or 21D-5R map — not quite as ambitious as the 22D-4R gerrymander that backfired in court, but enough to offset North Carolina and keep Democrats in close contention to make Jeffries speaker.

Part of Democrats' calculus is legal: a subtler, less brazen gerrymander could give Court of Appeals judges more rationale to uphold it. For example, no more crazy S-shaped tentacles allowing liberal Park Slope to be folded in with Trump-loving Staten Island.

But part of Democrats' calculus is political: the red tide in New York was so much stronger than anticipated that it likely would have defied Democrats' original 22D-4R gerrymander. By our estimates, had 2022 played out under the struck map, GOP Reps. Nick LaLota (NY-01), George Santos (NY-03), Anthony D'Esposito (NY-04) and Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) still would have won their races, for a

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