Congressional Dems See Red in New York

Congressional Dems See Red in New York

Congressional Dems See Red in New York
November 5, 2014

In City & State’s preview of the competitive House of Representatives races back in May, DCCC Chair Steve Israel identified several toss-up seats. Not among them was the Rochester area seat held by 28-year incumbent Rep. Louise Slaughter, who finds herself ahead by just 582 votes in a race remains too close to call.  

Election night turned into a bad dream for Rep. Israel. All the seats Israel had identified as potential pick-ups turned into Republican blowouts. And the Democrats ended up playing defense across the state—and failing in most places. In all, at least two Democratic incumbents went down to defeat, with two others clinging to leads in races still too close to call.

Here’s a quick recap of the close races and how they played out:

NY-1 – Rep. Tim Bishop survived difficult challenges in 2010 and 2012, but this time he couldn’t fend off state Sen. Lee Zeldin. The Army major ended up winning the Long Island district by nearly 10 points, sending Bishop packing after six terms in Congress.

NY-4 – In one of the few bright spots of the evening for New York’s Democratic congressional delegation Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice easily defeated Republican Bruce Blakeman by nearly 30 points.

NY-11 – Despite being under federal indictment and receiving no financial support from national Republicans, Rep. Michael Grimm coasted to reelection in the Staten Island and Brooklyn district he represents. With 100 percent of precinct reporting, Grimm topped his Democratic challenger, former City Councilman Domenic Recchia, by more than 13 points. Next up: Grimm’s trial for wire, mail and health care fraud begins in February.

NY-18 – In a rematch of the lower Hudson Valley district, incumbent Democrat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is leading former Rep. Nan Hayworth by 2,790 votes, 49.6 percent to 48 percent. The Hayworth campaign issued a statement around midnight declaring, “The race is too close to call and the ballots have been impounded as the Maloney campaign requested over the weekend. They knew the race was incredibly close, and we agree.” During the campaign, Maloney received the endorsement of several Republicans in the district, which may have helped him stave off the powerful GOP wave nationwide. 

NY-19 – Rep. Chris Gibson is heading back to D.C. after an easy election night victory over Sean Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes. Gibson secured 65 percent of the vote, an absolute drubbing considering that this was a seat that national Democrats had set their sights on flipping earlier this year.

NY-21 – In the North Country, Democrats lost the seat currently held by Rep. Bill Owens, who did not seek re-election. Republican Elise Stefanik cruised to victory by over 21 points in a three-way race with Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matthew Funiciello.

NY-24 – Democrats also dropped a seat in Central New York. Incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei was beaten handily by his Republican challenger, former federal prosecutor John Katko, 59.9 percent to 40.1 percent with 99.7 percent of precincts reporting. In the final weeks of the campaign Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton both campaigned for Maffei, but their efforts were to no avail. This is the second time Maffei has lost the seat in the past four years. After being elected in 2008, he was defeated in 2010 by Ann Marie Buerkle, and then won the seat back from her in 2012. 

NY-25 – Rep. Louise Slaughter has represented the Rochester area in Congress since 1987. She is the ranking Democratic member on the House Rules Committee. And going into tonight, no one thought she was in the slightest bit of trouble. But a strong Republican turnout in Monroe County, where Rob Astorino beat Andrew Cuomo, propelled her GOP challenger, Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini to within 582 votes of Slaughter. Percentage-wise that breaks down to 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent, far close enough that Assini has declined to concede. Assini told the Democrat & Chronicle, “I think when all absentee ballots are counted, we’ll have won the closest race in congressional history in Monroe County.”

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Michael Gareth Johnson