New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the state is exploring its legal options after losing a congressional seat due to population shifts recorded in the 2020 census.
The Empire State came up just 89 residents short of keeping the seat, the Census Bureau said Monday when it released the results of the count. The seat was reassigned to a different state.
Cuomo claimed that the total count may have been off and accused the Trump administration of making illegal immigrants “nervous to come forward” during the counting process.
“I do believe the federal government had a chilling effect,” he said. “We’re looking at legal options because when you’re talking about 89 — that could be a minor mistake in counting, right?”
Cuomo is a longtime critic of former President Donald Trump and had blamed the former administration for an array of troubles afflicting New York; the governor repeatedly blasted Trump’s pandemic response when the state became a coronavirus hot spot last spring.
However, in recent weeks Cuomo has faced a number of scandals himself, including over his administration’s efforts to conceal the total coronavirus death toll in the state’s nursing homes.
The Democratic governor has also been accused of sexual misconduct by at least nine women. Though he is the subject of investigations by state lawmakers and the state attorney general, he has refused to resign.
The reapportionment, which is the result of residents fleeing the state, will bring New York from 27 congressional districts to 26.
Preliminary data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in December showed that roughly 126,000 people left New York between July 2019 and July 2020. The state lost about 1.4 million residents to other states from 2010 to 2019, according to a report by the Empire Center released in January 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the U.S.
It is unclear which House seat will be eliminated, though it is likely to belong to a Republican, according to Fox News.