Thursday, July 22, 2010

435 House Race Coverage: New York

I've covered just about every big state in the country, so let's take care of the remaining one-the Empire State.  For complete coverage of every House race in the country (well, 48/50 states so far), click on the 435 House Race Link coverage link at the top left of the page.

It seems hard to believe, but the Republicans actually had control of 2 of the 3 levers of power back in the 2002 redistricting, so they were able to get a relatively favorable map.  The result of the 2002 redistricting was actually a relatively competitive 19-10 breakdown in the Democrats' favor.  But to say the 2000s were tough for New York Republicans would be like saying flying on the Hindenburg was a tough trip.  Aside from getting demolished at the top of the ticket in every race of consequence, the Republicans have lost 8 House seats to the Republicans over the decade, including two back-breaking Special Election losses since the start of 2009, leaving the Democrats with a whopping 26-2 advantage (with 1 vacant seat).  NY Republicans hope they can reclaim some of their lost territory, and their slate of candidates is pretty good overall, but their track record can't give national Republicans too much confidence.

NY-01 (Eastern Suffolk County-Smithtown, Coram, Riverhead) Rep. Tim Bishop-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 52%-48%.

This district out on the eastern part of Long Island is very evenly divided between the parties, and the GOP thinks they have a good shot to knock out Bishop, a liberal Democrat. First, though, they'll need to sort out a messy Primary between businessman Randy Altschuler, attorney George Demos, and GOP activist Chris Cox, the grandson of Richard Nixon.

SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE FOR BISHOP.


NY-02 (Western Suffolk County-Huntington, Islip, Brookhaven) Rep. Steve Israel-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 56%-43%.

Israel was first elected to this seat in 2000 when Rick Lazio gave it up to run for the Senate. Israel has compiled a moderate voting record that matches his district well, and he's heavily favored to beat John Gomez, a telecommunications consultant.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR ISRAEL.

NY-03 (Eastern Nassau County-Syosset, Oyster Bay, Glen Cove) Rep. Peter King-R. 2008 Vote: McCain 52%-47%.

King is one of only two Republican Congressmen left in New York. He gave serious thought to running for the Senate this year, but instead will seek a 10th term in the House. King's well-entrenched and here should easily defeat Democratic teacher David McDonough.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR KING.


NY-04 (Western Nassau County-Garden City, Valley Stream, Hempstead) Rep. Carolyn McCarthy-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 58%-41%.

McCarthy was first elected in 1996, running primarily on the issue of gun control after her husband was killed and her son was severely wounded in a shooting. The district is pretty solidly Democratic, and McCarthy has won comfortably in recent years. Several GOPers are running this time, including Nassau County legislator Fran Decker, attorney Frank Scatturo, and credit union treasurer Dan Maloney.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR McCARTHY.


NY-05 (Northwestern Nassau County, Northeastern Queens) Rep. Gary Ackerman-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 63%-36%.

Ackerman's district includes the last bit of Long Island along with part of Queens. Republican Liz Berney, who lost to Ackerman 71%-27% in 2008, is running again this year.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR ACKERMAN.

NY-06 (Southern Queens) Rep. Greg Meeks-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 89%-11%.

The 6th District is a black-majority seat in Queens that is among the most Democratic districts in the country. The only Republican candidate against Meeks is attorney Asher Taub.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR MEEKS.


NY-07 (Nothern Queens, Eastern Bronx) Rep. Joseph Crowley-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 79%-20%.

Crowley could be vulnerable to a Primary challenge in a district that is only about 30% white, but he's never faced any serious difficulty in his 12 years in Congress. Community activist Ken Reynolds will be the Republican nominee this year.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR CROWLEY.

NY-08 (Southern Manhattan, part of Southern Brooklyn) Rep. Jerrold Nadler-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 74%-26%.

Nadler did make some headlines last week when it was reported that he had stiffed a cabbie on a fare. But such things are inconsequential in this oddly shaped district that snakes from the Upper West Side down to Lower Manhattan and then into Coney Island. Attorney Susan Kone (R) will be Nadler's opponent this year.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR NADLER.


NY-09 (Central Queens, part of Southern Brooklyn) Rep. Anthony Weiner-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 55%-44%.

The McCain-Obama numbers here probably make this district look quite a bit more competitive than it really is. This district is heavily Jewish, and Obama struggled among those voters, but the district is much more Democratic downballot. Weiner, who has twice contemplated a run for NYC Mayor, will instead go for another House term against either investor Bob Turner or GOP activist Joseph Hayon.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR WEINER.

NY-10 (Northern Brooklyn) Rep. Ed Towns-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 91%-9%.

The 10th District is majority-black and among the most Democratic in the nation. Towns' only opposition is journalist Kevin Powell (D), who lost to Towns in the Democratic Primary two years ago 67%-32%.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR TOWNS.


NY-11 (Central Brooklyn) Rep. Yvette Clarke-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 91%-9%.

A twin in both racial and partisan makeup to the next-door 10th, the 11th District is about as Democratic as they come. Clarke is unopposed this year for a 3rd term.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR CLARKE.


NY-12 (Parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) Rep. Nydia Velazquez-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 86%-13%.

The 12th district has an awkward shape designed to include as many Hispanics as possible; the result is a district that is 49% Hispanic. Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, only has weak opposition in the Democratic Primary.  

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR VELAZQUEZ.

NY-13 (Staten Island, Southwest Brooklyn) Rep. Mike McMahon-D. 2008 Vote: McCain 51%-49%.

The 13th District, which includes all of Staten Island, is easily the most Republican in NYC, and up until two years was ago was represented by Republican Vito Fosella. But after Fosella's DUI arrest and second family became public knowledge, it was easy picking for McMahon against a weak GOP opponent. The Republicans can't seem to stop tripping over themselves here, whether it's divisions between Brooklyn and Staten Island Republicans, or between the Republican and Conservative Parties. At any rate, McMahon, who is well-funded and has compiled a moderate voting record, looks pretty safe this year. He'll face either former FBI agent Michael Grimm or former Michael Bloomberg aide Michael Allegretti in November.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR McMAHON.


NY-14 (Central Manhattan, Astoria) Rep. Carolyn Maloney-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 78%-21%.

In this mostly wealthy district that includes the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the only concern for Maloney is a Primary challenge from attorney Reshma Saujani. The Republican field consists of attorneys Ryan Brumberg and Dino Laverghetta.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR MALONEY.

NY-15 (Northern Manhattan) Rep. Charlie Rangel-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 93%-6%.

Rangel has had a very long career representing Harlem and Washington Heights in Northern Manhattan, having been first elected in 1970. It's not coming to the prettiest end though, after he was forced down from his position of the House Ways and Means Committee last year. He definitely has Primary trouble this year, as Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV poses a legitimate threat to Rangel.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR RANGEL.

NY-16 (South Bronx) Rep. Jose Serrano-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 95%-5%.

This South Bronx district is the most Democratic in the nation, which isn't surprising since the district is only 3% white. Serrano only faces a token Primary challenger this year.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR SERRANO.

NY-17 (Northern Bronx, Mount Vernon, Pearl River) Rep. Eliot Engel-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 72%-28%.

The 17th is an oddly concocted district that stretches from the Northern Bronx through black-majority Mount Vernon in Westchester County on its way to suburban Rockland County, with its large Jewish population. The district is certainly plenty Democratic, with Engel expected to crush one of two GOP businessmen in the General Election: York Kleinhandler or Tony Mele.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR ENGEL.

NY-18 (Most Of Westchester County-White Plains, Scarsdale, Yonkers) Rep. Nita Lowey-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 62%-38%.

Lowey's been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate a couple of times-she was considered the frontrunner in 2000 until Hillary Clinton decided to run, and she was among those considered for the appointment to that same seat last year. But instead Lowey, who is now 73, will go for another House term against computer programmer James Russell.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR LOWEY.


NY-19 (Northern NYC Suburbs-Peekskill, Port Jervis, Beacon) Rep. John Hall-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 51%-48%.

While the Westchester County 18th District is close enough to NYC to be safely Democratic, the 19th is further out and much more competitive. Hall was first elected in a 51%-49% nailbiter in 2006 before easily defeating a weak opponent in 2008. The GOP seems pretty set this year on ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth, who has put up impressive fundraising numbers to this point.

SLIGHT ADVANTAGE FOR HALL.


NY-20 (Upper Hudson Valley-Saratoga Springs, Glen Falls, Poughkeepsie) Rep. Scott Murphy-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 51%-48%.

The 20th District was home to a really close Special Election last year when Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate. Republican Jim Tedisco was considered the favorite most of the way, but Murphy surged late and pulled out a 399-vote victory. In this competitive district, Murphy seems certain to be a top target, especially with the entry of well-regarded retired Army officer Chris Gibson.

Significant►SLIGHT ADVANTAGE FOR MURPHY.

NY-21 (Albany, Troy, Schenectady) Rep. Paul Tonko-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 58%-40%.

This seat was open in 2008, but Tonko had no trouble holding this safely Democratic district centered around the Capital District. Navy Veteran Ted Danz will give it a shot for the Republicans this year.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR TONKO.


NY-22 (Southern Tier-Ithaca, Binghamton, Newburgh) Rep. Maurice Hinchey-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 59%-39%.

This district is a bit of a gerrymandered mess, snaking from Poughkeepsie and Newburgh in the east, along the PA border, west to Binghamton and then finally north into Ithaca. The drawers got their intended result, as the district is safely Democratic, and has been an easy hold for Hinchey. Hinchey will once again be matched up against computer programmer George Phillips, who he beat 66%-34% in 2008.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR HINCHEY.


NY-23 (Northern New York-Oswego, Watertown, Plattsburgh) Rep. Bill Owens-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 52%-47%.

Ah, the NY-23 Special Election of 2009. If you don't recall, this is the district where you had a Democrat (Bill Owens), a liberal Republican who dropped out of the race and endorsed Owens (Dede Scozzafava), and a Conservative Party candidate who became the de-facto Republican nominee (Doug Hoffman). In an upset, Owens beat Hoffman 49%-46%, picking up the seat for the Democrats after Rep. John McHugh (R) was appointed Secretary of the Army. The same moderate/conservative division could rear its head again in 2010, as Hoffman is running again but faces strong resistance from moderate attorney Matt Doheny in the GOP Primary.

SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE FOR OWENS.


NY-24 (Central New York-Rome, Utica, Cortland) Rep. Mike Arcuri-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 51%-48%.

Arcuri's had two tight races here in this sprawling upstate district, winning the the open seat 54%-45% in 2006 before barely hodling on 52%-48% in 2008. Arcuri's close call in 2008 and flip-flop on HCR certainly make him a top target this year. He's up against Republican businessman Richard Hanna, who gave him that scare in 2008.

Slight Arcuri►SLIGHT ADVANTAGE FOR HANNA.

NY-25 (Syracuse, Newark, Irondequoit) Rep. Dan Maffei-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 56%-43%.

This district was long represented by Republican James Walsh, but his retirement in 2008 allowed Maffei, a former Congressional aide, to win this seat easily. Assistant state AG Ann Marie Buerkle (R) got a high-profile endorsement from Sarah Palin, but for the time being the district looks too Democratic for Buerkle to have much of a chance.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR MAFFEI.

NY-26 (Buffalo and Rochester Suburbs-North Tonawanda, Lockport, Greece) Rep. Chris Lee-R. 2008 Vote: McCain 52%-46%.

We finally get to only the second GOP Congressman in the state, as Lee was first elected in 2008 to replace the retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds. Lee won was expected to be a competitive race by a stellar 55%-41%, and is in good shape to win a second term against Democrat Philip Fedele.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR LEE.


NY-27 (Jamestown, most of Buffalo) Rep. Brian Higgins-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 54%-44%.

Higgins got off to a tough electoral start, prevailing in the open seat race here six years ago by less than 1%. But he's settled in nicely since then, running up over 70% of the vote in 2006 and 2008. Businessman Larry Roberto (R) will be Higgins' opponent this time.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR HIGGINS.

NY-28 (Parts of Buffalo and Rochester, Niagara Falls) Rep. Louise Slaughter-D. 2008 Vote: Obama 69%-30%.

The 28th was gerrymandered to connect the most Democratic parts of Buffalo and Syracuse, and as a result this is the most Democratic district in Upstate New York. Slaughter, first elected in 1986, will easily hold this seat against Republican dentist Jill Rowland.

OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE FOR SLAUGHTER.


NY-29 (Southwestern New York-Elmira, Corning, Brighton) Vacant due to resignation of Rep. Eric Massa-D. 2008 Vote: McCain 51%-48%.

Democrat Eric Massa just barely won this seat for the Democrats in 2008, beating incumbent Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) in this usually Republican district. But Massa announced his resignation this year after it came out that he had sexually harassed some of his staffers. With Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) running well to this point, the district looks ready to revert to its usual Republican form. Reed will first have to get by Democrat Matthew Zeller, an Afghan War veteran.

Slight►SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE FOR REED.

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