By Sam Foster
Now that we are within 60 days until the November elections, we are about to get barraged with political prognostications. The Politico is early to the race and they have an interesting layout for predicting Republican's prospects for taking control of congress. They've created a three tier look at perspective house seats and many Upstate NY seats have made the list.
Here is how the tiered system works.
The first group includes the most imperiled Democratic seats — these are the "must-wins" — without which the GOP has no shot at House control. It's a roster filled with freshmen who benefited from Barack Obama's coattails, the most vulnerable veterans and Republican-friendly open seats where the retirement of a Democratic incumbent has created a prime pickup opportunity. If Republicans can't win most of these seats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel again for the 112th Congress.
The second group of seats could be labeled the "majority makers" — a class of races that are within GOP reach but will require defeating well-prepared Democratic incumbents or winning on highly competitive terrain. If the GOP is winning most of these races on election night, a Republican majority will be close at hand. If not, Democrats still have a chance of waking up Nov. 3 with a slim margin in the House.
The third group could be described as the "landslide" class. For the most part, these districts are a tough climb for GOP candidates, because of either the strength of the Democratic incumbent or the partisan tilt of the seat. If the Democrats in this category start to fall on election night, a wave election is unfolding.
Must Win districts in NY:
Democrats have not recovered from the resignation of Rep. Eric Massa and appear to have written off this GOP-leaning seat.
Majority Makers districts in NY:
After winning a 2008 reelection squeaker in this Republican-leaning upstate New York seat, Rep. Michael Arcuri is considered one of the top GOP targets in New York—and faces a rematch with Richard Hanna, who nearly defeated him two years ago.
Rep. Bill Owens, who captured this upstate seat after Republicans fractured in a November 2009 special election, is vying for his first full term in a district that had been in GOP hands for roughly a century.
Republican Landslide districts in NY:
Rep. John Hall has struggled to keep pace with the fundraising of Republican Nan Hayworth and his voting record has been criticized as too liberal for a district with a slight GOP voter registration advantage.
Rep. Scott Murphy's 2009 special-election win in one of New York's most Republican-friendly districts was a setback for the GOP. He's worked hard to win a full term in November but his flip from opposition to the health care reform plan to support could prove to be a problem.
If a Nan Hayworth and Chris Gibson win is what it takes for the GOP to have a landslide victory this year, than Democrats are in for a rough night on November 2nd. Both candidates look quite formidable this year and they'll be tough to beat.
The Politico also had the Ann Marie Buerkle/Dan Maffei race on what they call, "the bubble." Meaning less competitive, but competitive still.