By Conservative Generation
I’m sure when most people think about congressional races and NY they are quick to write off the state as a liberal stronghold and a playing field where no Republican can win. While it’s true, we have produced Chuck Schumer and if you look at the map below showing the districts currently held by Democrats, it is easy to see why many might think so.
However, a large part of the state (which we lovingly refer to as Upstate) is quite conservative. How conservative? Below is the Cook’s Political Report’s partisan voter index map. Instantly, you can see the potential for retaking congressional seats. Most of the red districts voted McCain even as they installed a Democrat congressman and each of the last two special elections have been close calls.
NRO’s Jim Geraghty recently conducted an in-depth review of the Democrat held congressional seats that are in play. Below is a list of all the upstate seats that NRO concluded as potential Republican victories over a Democrat incumbent:
Eric Massa’s open seat, New York: Tom Reed would probably win the special election fairly easily if Gov. David Paterson ever got around to scheduling one. Which is why the Gov. Paterson refuses to do so.
Michael Arcuri, New York: He voted against the health-care bill. Cook Political Report currently scores this one a “toss-up.” Arcuri will take on GOP philanthropist Richard Hanna, who came within 4 percentage points last year, with Obama driving turnout in what had traditionally been a slightly Republican district. Keep in mind that the gubernatorial and two senatorial races in New York State look like Democratic routs at the moment, suggesting that Democrats may get a bit of top-of-the-ticket help. Also keep in mind that the New York State GOP sometimes behaves as if it has a violent allergy to winning races.
John Hall, New York: It’s an R+3 district, and this second-term Democrat could face an extremely well-funded challenger in Nan Hayworth, an ophthalmologist who’s running hard against the health-care bill.
Bill Owens, New York: Even with Dede Scozzafava’s endorsement, Owens barely beat Doug Hoffman, and then he broke four of his campaign promises within a day of taking office.
Dan Maffei, New York: Local Republicans have unified behind Ann Marie Buerkle to take on Syracuse freshman Maffei. Buerkle is a little underfunded, and the district is scored D+3, but Maffei sweated his health-care vote, and has already faced attack ads over it.
Jim Geraghty missed it, but Scott Murphy barely squeaked by Jim Tedesco in a special election to replace Kursten Gillibrand. Coupled with his flip-flop support of the final health care bill and I believe there is another potential congressional seat.
NY is going to be an exciting battle ground this November, but the battles aren’t going to win themselves. Many of the candidates and elections lack exposure and a medium to get their message out and excite voters. That is where the Upstate Political Report can cover, inform, and provide exposure to the right-leaning candidates in this year’s congressional races. Also, we hope that local citizens, bloggers, and even candidates will consider submitting articles and material for publication there.
If you have an interest in the Upstate NY races and/or would like to be a regular contributor, please email me. My email address is at the top right of the Upstate Political Report.