Campaigns & Elections
New York’s 2020 congressional election results
It was a bad night for Democrats in competitive races.
One historic election in particular may have sucked all the air from the room on Tuesday, but New York still had over two dozen congressional races to decide this year, nearly a dozen of which were considered competitive.
By Wednesday afternoon, the majority of ballots cast in person in the 26 contested races had been counted, and one takeaway from the results is clear: Democrats had an underwhelming night. That was true not just of incumbent Democrats like Rep. Thomas Suozzi – who is locked in a somewhat unexpected dead heat with Republican challenger George Santos – but also of Democratic challengers who hoped to flip suburban and upstate districts. Rep. Lee Zeldin declared victory over Democrat Nancy Goroff in his Suffolk County district, while Republican Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino held a double-digit lead over Jackie Gordon in their bid to replace retiring Rep. Pete King. In Central New York, former Rep. Claudia Tenney led incumbent Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi by roughly 11 points. And in one of the most closely watched races this year, Republican Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis declared victory over incumbent Rep. Max Rose. In-person ballot tallies show Malliotakis with a commanding lead over Rose, and Rose would need to win the vast majority of absentee ballots in order to come from behind.
But while Republicans did better than some expected with in-person votes, several of the state's competitive races are still too close to call. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots still need to be counted in these districts, and they’re expected to come out in Democrats’ favor, meaning the leads that some Republicans have right now could be diminished or even overturned as the process of counting absentee ballots begins on Nov. 10.
Other congressional races were easier to call. By around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, a number of races considered noncompetitive were called, with incumbent Democratic Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez projected as winners.
Meanwhile, in an unsurprising but historic result, Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones were projected to win their respective races in the 15th and 17th Congressional Districts, becoming the first openly gay Black members of Congress.
With the exception of Rep. Greg Meeks – who ran unopposed and was unsurprisingly projected as the winner a few minutes after polls closed at 9 p.m. – all of New York’s seats in Congress were contested this year.
The high number of absentee ballots cast in this election because of the pandemic – over 1 million absentee ballots were returned in New York as of Oct. 27 – means that official results won’t be known for some of these races until several weeks after election night. As election returns come in and candidates claim victory, City & State will be updating this tracker.
Note: An asterisk (*) denotes an incumbent candidate. The ballot lines candidates appear on are included in parentheses; Democratic Party (DEM); Republican Party (REP); Conservative Party (CON); Working Families Party (WFP); Green (GRE); Libertarian (LBT); Independence Party (IND); and Serve America Movement Party (SAM).
Races to watch
Congressional District 1
Nancy Goroff (DEM, WFP): 37.33%
*Lee Zeldin (REP, CON, IND): 59.20%
With 473 of 473 election districts reporting.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin declared victory over Nancy Goroff, a chemistry professor at Stony Brook University, late Tuesday night, as in-person vote tallies showed him with a more than 20-point lead. Absentee ballots have yet to be tallied in the race, but Goroff would have to perform especially well in the absentee count to make up the difference.
While recent polls showed Goroff and Zeldin neck-and-neck, Goroff’s attempt to flip the purple Long Island district has been an uphill battle. Trump won the district comfortably in 2016, and Zeldin defeated a Democratic challenger in 2018, though only by a slim margin. If elected, Goroff would be the first female member of Congress with a science Ph.D.
Congressional District 2
Nassau and Suffolk counties
Jackie Gordon (DEM, WFP, IND): 38.40%
Andrew Garbarino (REP, CON, LBT, SAM): 54.21%
Harry Burger (GRE): 0.89%
With 524 of 524 election districts reporting.
With the majority of in-person votes counted, it looks like Rep. Pete King’s seat could stay in Republican hands after all. Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino celebrated a 16-point lead over Democrat Jackie Gordon on Wednesday. While absentee ballots still have to be counted and could potentially change that margin if the ballots skew heavily to Gordon, Garbarino was optimistic about his chances. “While there are more votes to be counted, I am confident we will be named the winner in this election!” he wrote in a tweet.
Gordon’s campaign is prepared to wait. “With the unprecedented number of Long Islanders casting absentee ballots this year, it is clear that this election will not be called anytime soon," Gordon spokesperson Remmington Belford said in a statement to Patch. "To certify the results of this election, every vote must be counted, and we look forward to seeing the final results.”
Gordon, a military veteran, former Babylon Town Council member, and moderate Democrat, would be the first Black woman elected to New York’s congressional delegation from outside of the five boroughs. Gordon attracted national attention in her effort to flip the district – she was endorsed by President Barack Obama – and raked in over $3.7 million in fundraising to Garbarino’s $1.4 million as of mid-October.
Congressional District 3
Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties
*Thomas Suozzi (DEM, WFP, IND): 45.76%
George A.D. Santos (REP, CON): 47.21%
Howard Rabin (LBT): 0%
With 629 of 636 election districts reporting.
Though not expected to be an especially competitive race, Republican George Santos’ challenge to Democratic incumbent Rep. Thomas Suozzi looked to be a nail-biter as of late Tuesday night. Suozzi was favored to win, but the incumbent Congress member fell behind Santos as the majority of in-person ballots were tallied, and with the majority of election districts reporting, Santos was up by roughly 4,000 votes.
As others have noted, this is a race in which absentee ballots could make all the difference. By Wednesday morning, bothcandidates expressed confidence that the counting of absentee ballots would turn in their favor. “Democrats hold a 3-1 advantage in the nearly 90k absentee votes yet to be counted and we expect Tom’s margin of victory to be over 20k votes,” Suozzi senior adviser Kim Devlin said in a tweet.
Congressional District 11
Staten Island and Brooklyn
*Max Rose (DEM, IND): 41.06%
Nicole Malliotakis (REP, CON): 56.44%
With 489 of 489 election districts reporting.
Republican Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis declared victory over incumbent Democratic Rep. Max Rose, with all in-person votes counted and results showing her with a roughly 15-point lead over Rose. While absentee ballots have not been counted and the race has not officially been called, an overwhelming number of the tens of thousands of mail-in votes cast in the race would have to go to Rose to make up the deficit. Both campaigns have said in recent weeks that they are prepared to closely watch the counting of absentee ballots – and possibly contest them – when the process begins on Nov. 10.
In a broken voice, Rose addressed supporters on Tuesday night, drawing particular attention to the protests over police brutality and systemic racism that took place across New York and the country this summer, and defending his choice to march in a peaceful protest against police brutality – a choice Malliotakis repeatedly slammed him on. Rose did not go so far as to officially concede the race, saying that at least 40,000 absentee ballots have been returned in the district, but seemed to allude to the difficulty he’ll face coming from behind. “I am not ignorant to the realities of the results that have been turned in,” he said. "But I know my opponent will join me in ensuring that the Board of Elections must conduct a fair and transparent process that demonstrates the strength of our democracy, not undermines it,” Rose said.
Congressional District 18
*Sean Patrick Maloney (DEM, WFP, IND): 47.39%
Chele Farley (REP, CON): 45.31%
Scott Smith (LBT, SAM): 0.86%
With 590 of 618 election districts reporting.
By Wednesday morning, some ballots cast in person had still yet to be counted in the 18th Congressional District, but a tight race between Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican challenger Chele Farley suggests that there won’t be an official winner called until absentee ballots are counted.
Still, Maloney declared victory over Farley, with a lead of roughly 6,000 votes, saying that he expected that margin to increase as absentee ballots are tallied. “The Hudson Valley has once again spoken," he said in a statement. "We have won this race and been granted the opportunity to keep serving New York for the next two years."
Though Maloney is favored to win re-election in his Hudson Valley district for a fourth time, Farley hopes to capitalize on a strain of pro-Trump sentiment to pull off an upset. (Trump won the reliably blue district in 2016 by almost 2 percentage points.)
Congressional District 19
Upper Hudson Valley and the Catskills
*Antonio Delgado (DEM, WFP, SAM): 47.59%
Kyle Van De Water (REP): 45.15%
Steven Greenfield (GRE): 0.69%
Victoria Alexander (LBT): 1.14%
With 619 of 619 election districts reporting.
With all election districts reporting, incumbent Rep. Antonio Delgado maintained only a 2-point lead – or roughly 7,000 votes – over Republican challenger Kyle Van De Water in ballots cast in person.That lead was enough for Delgado to declare victory in the race, though as of Wednesday morning, Van De Water had yet to concede. As absentee ballots are tallied, Delgado expects his lead to only grow, but the race may not have a winner officially called for weeks as those ballots are carefully counted.
Delgado’s victory against incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso in 2018 was seen as an upset in the purple district, where Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration. Delgado has far outraised his opponents, including Van De Water. While the district isn’t historically considered safely Democratic, the Cook Political Report and the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia have rated the race as “likely Democratic.”
Congressional District 21
Tedra Cobb (DEM, WFP): 35.14%
*Elise Stefanik (REP, CON, IND): 63.52%
With 489 of 531 election districts reporting.
It appears Tedra Cobb and her impressive fundraising couldn’t dull Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s star. The New York Times called the contentious – and expensive – rematch between Stefanik and Cobb for Stefanik, who led by roughly 29 points as in-person ballots were tallied on Tuesday night. Stefanik won national attention in the past year as a staunch defender of Trump, a speaker at the Republican National Convention and chair of Trump’s reelection campaign in New York. Cobb has attempted to use Stefanik’s Trump loyalism against her, raking in more than $5 million in her appeal to the district’s Democrats and independent voters. But Stefanik has been no slouch in her own fundraising efforts, outraising Cobb with more than $11 million in total donations.
Congressional District 22
Central New York
*Anthony Brindisi (DEM, WFP, IND): 42.47%
Claudia Tenney (REP, CON): 53.30%
Keith Price, Jr. (LBT): 2.08%
With 565 of 565 election districts reporting.
Could the 22nd Congressional District switch hands again? Former Rep. Claudia Tenney is ahead of incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi with a roughly 11-point lead from ballots cast in person. Tenney celebrated that lead on Tuesday night, and while she acknowledged the possibility that the count of absentee ballots could change that margin, she expressed confidence that she was still on track to win. But Brindisi has not conceded the election, telling observers of the race to buckle in for a long few weeks of counting absentee ballots before a winner is named. Tenney leads Brindisi by roughly 28,000 votes, but The Post-Standard reports that more than 68,000 absentee ballots were requested in the district and more than 45,000 of those had been returned as of Monday morning. Brindisi would need to win the majority of absentee ballots in order to catch up to Tenney.
Tenney, who held the 22nd District seat for a single term, narrowly lost to Brindisi in 2018 and in the years since has solidified her stance as an outspoken Trump supporter looking to turn the district back to Republican hands. Tenney lost by less than 2 percentage points last time around, and while polls have Brindisi ahead, analysts expected the race to be a close one, with the Cook Political Report calling it a toss-up, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rating it as “leans Democratic.”
Congressional District 23
Southern Tier, Western New York
Tracy Mitrano (DEM, WFP): 34.78%
*Tom Reed (REP, CON, IND): 61.23%
Andrew Kolstee (LBT): 1.11%
With 524 of 526 election districts reporting.
Republican incumbent Rep. Tom Reed declared victory with a lead of over 26 points from in-person votes with the majority of districts reporting, but Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano had yet to concede as of late Tuesday night, and absentee ballots have not been counted. But early on Wednesday morning, The New York Times called the race for Reed. “It is clear to us, or so our team tells us, that we have definitely won this election for another two years to represent this area in Washington D.C,” Reed said late Tuesday. Reed was favored in the polls, though Mitrano had been narrowing that margin in recent weeks.
Congressional District 24
Central New York
Dana Balter (DEM): 36.96%
*John Katko (REP, CON, IND): 57.18%
Steven Williams (WFP): 3.61%
With 681 of 681 election districts reporting.
With all election districts reporting, Republican Rep. John Katko maintained a comfortable lead over challenger Dana Balter, with the former up by roughly 20 points in votes cast in person. Absentee ballots have still yet to be tallied, and The Post-Standard reports that over 69,000 mail-in ballots have been received by boards of election in the four counties that make up the 24th District. With Katko ahead by roughly 55,000 in-person votes now, the vast majority of absentee ballots would have to go to Balter to make up the difference.
Despite the counting that remains, Katko celebrated what he suggested was a lead Balter can’t recover from. “The results tonight make clear that Central New Yorkers made a resounding choice in this election,” he said in a statement early on Wednesday. “I am honored and humbled to have once again earned the strong support of our community.”
Balter has amassed some national support in that effort, with endorsements from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden. Katko, however, has outraised her with $3.5 million to Balter’s $2.8 million. Analysts have rated the race a toss-up, and the latest poll had Balter up by 2 points, while an earlier poll had the candidates tied.
Congressional District 27
Western New York
Nate McMurray (DEM, WFP): 33.09%
*Chris Jacobs (REP, CON, IND): 62.07%
Duane Whitmer (LBT): 1.25%
With 579 of 580 election districts reporting.
With nearly all election districts reporting, it looks like incumbent Rep. Chris Jacobs will get to hold on to his seat for more than just a few months. The race was called for Jacobs early on Wednesday morning, by which time the incumbent Republican had amassed more than double the amount of in-person ballots as Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.
Jacobs won a special election against McMurray – held at the same time as the June primary this year – to replace former Rep. Chris Collins, who pleaded guilty to charges of insider trading last fall and resigned. Jacobs beat McMurray in the special election by roughly 5 points. Sabato’s Crystal Ball had rated the race “likely Republican,” while Cook had called it “solid Republican.”
Congressional District 4
*Kathleen Rice (DEM) : 48.04%
Douglas Tuman (REP, CON): 43.74%
Joseph Naham (GRE): 0.66%
With 652 of 652 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 6
*Grace Meng (DEM, WFP): 58.59%
Thomas Zmich (REP, CON, LBT, IND): 34.96%
With 462 of 462 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 7
Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens
*Nydia Velázquez (DEM, WFP): 79.49%
Brian Kelly (REP, CON): 15.53%
Gilbert Midonnet (LBT): 0.64%
With 506 of 506 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 8
Brooklyn and Queens
*Hakeem Jeffries (DEM, WFP): 80.07%
Garfield Wallace (REP, CON): 16.86%
With 561 of 561 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 9
*Yvette Clarke (DEM, WFP): 78.54%
Constantin Jean-Pierre (REP, CON): 16.93%
Gary Popkin (LBT): 0.56%
Joel Anabilah-Azumah (SAM): 0.33%
With 532 of 532 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 10
Manhattan and Brooklyn
*Jerry Nadler (DEM, WFP): 65.50%
Cathy Bernstein (REP, CON): 28.78%
Michael Madrid (LBT): 1.17%
With 559 of 559 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 12
Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn
*Carolyn Maloney (DEM): 75.86%
Carlos Santiago-Cano (REP, CON): 18.73%
Steven Kolln (LBT): 1.35%
With 569 of 569 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 13
*Adriano Espaillat (DEM, WFP): 85.98%
Lovelynn Gwinn (REP): 8.04%
Christopher Morris-Perry (CON): 1.32%
With 551 of 551 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 14
*Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DEM): 65.50%
John Cummings (REP, CON): 29.12%
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (SAM): 0.65%
With 449 of 449 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 15
Ritchie Torres (DEM): 84.10%
Patrick Delices (REP, CON): 11.21%
With 490 of 490 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 16
Bronx, Westchester County
Jamaal Bowman (DEM): 67.84%
Patrick McManus (CON): 13.89%
With 637 of 732 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 17
Westchester and Rockland counties
Mondaire Jones (DEM, WFP): 50.16%
Maureen McArdle-Schulman (REP): 36.69%
Yehudis Gottesfeld (CON): 2.62%
Michael I. Parietti (SAM): 0.79%
Joshua Eisen (Independent): 2.13%
With 598 of 631 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 20
Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties
*Paul Tonko (DEM, WFP, IND): 55.10%
Elizabeth Joy (REP, CON, SAM): 42.24%
With 632 of 632 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 25
*Joseph Morelle (DEM, WFP, IND): 50.37%
George Mitris (REP, CON): 42.85%
Kevin Wilson (LBT): 1.50%
With 796 of 796 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 26
Western New York
*Brian Higgins (DEM, WFP, SAM): 62.36%
Ricky Donovan, Sr. (REP): 30.61%
Michael Raleigh (GRE): 1.32%
With 686 of 690 election districts reporting.
Congressional District 5
Queens and Nassau counties
*Gregory Meeks (DEM): 0%
With 0 of 492 election districts reporting.
NEXT STORY: 2020 New York state legislative general election results