It still seems like a distant, somewhat anxiety-inducing date, but it’s somehow upon us. In 2024, the country will have its first presidential election – and will have to contend with Donald Trump again – after the divisive 2020 election and its disastrous aftermath. And thanks to Democrats and New York’s newly reconfigured state Court of Appeals, redistricting is also back. This will be the year Democrats try to take back the House through swing seats in New York. It’s also when potential Eric Adams challengers may start committing to bids for New York City mayor.
We reached out to knowledgeable consultants and academics to get a sense of what they’re expecting in the long awaited – and feared – 2024. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What do you think redistricting will mean for the 2024 elections?
Brandon West, New York City Democratic Socialists of America steering committee member and former New York City Council candidate: I think we will get maps that will largely challenge the power of the GOP outside of the city, and mostly keep the sitting congressional delegation happy where they are within New York City. I think there may be some incentive from the party establishment to remove Rep. Jamaal Bowman and make his seat more challenging for him. Obviously folks on the left will need to center that race for resources. The Democrats are going to try and draw these maps aggressively, and I think try and go after Rep. Nicole Malliotakis as well, so some of southern Brooklyn could change.
Jack O’Donnell, managing partner at lobbying and political consulting firm O’Donnell & Associates: Redistricting will help Democrats in New York, but not quite as much as Democratic activists think or hope.
Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University: The answer depends on how the lines are drawn. If the Democrats try to push through another egregiously partisan map as they did last year, there’s a good chance that the courts that gave them the opportunity to redraw the lines could throw theirs out again – and stick with the ones we have. And Republicans did pretty well with them. If the Democrats go about it a bit more cautiously, they should be able to pass judicial muster and win back at least four of the seats they lost – unless Biden’s candidacy collapses on Election Day. That would mean a red wave all over the country, and it wouldn’t matter how the lines are drawn. Republicans would win a lot of seats, even some that now aren’t even considered in play.
Camille Rivera, partner at progressive consulting firm New Deal Strategies: Groundhog Day and chaos. It’s like a bad dream that never goes away. If Democrats take this on right and put it all on the field with the new map, they have the potential to not only win back these seats, but flip new districts across the state – particularly in Staten Island, Long Island and the Hudson Valley. As a result of this redistricting, many political strategists are seeing New York as a battleground of the Democrats’ efforts to take back the House. It’s a sign that we need to be investing in races here in New York next year. So Jay Jacobs needs to step up.
Hank Sheinkopf, veteran strategist and founder of Sheinkopf Communications: Congressional redistricting should benefit Democrats. But not on Long Island. Nassau and Suffolk counties appear to redden with most local and federal elections. Continuing Republican dominance of these New York City suburbs does not today bode well for 2026 statewide Democrats. Hard to win statewide elections if you continue being crushed in New York City suburbs. Why? More intense suburban voting for Republicans with higher turnouts reduces the value of the city’s Democratic Party voting edge.
Christina Greer, Moynihan Public Scholars fellow, City College, CUNY: New York Democrats will try to undo the damage done in the 2022 elections and will gain back at least two seats. They will make no changes in the leadership of the state Democratic Party.
Who will win in the 3rd Congressional District special election, and what does that election mean for the 2024 general election?
Bradley Honan, CEO and president of Honan Strategy Group, a Democratic polling and data analytics firm: Tom Suozzi will win the Feb. 13 special election, and he will show the path forward for Democrats looking to retake key races in Long Island and across the country.
West: I’m not particularly excited about anyone running, but I assume Suozzi will get over the finish line. The larger conversation is the rightward shift of Long Island, and how that plays out politically in state politics as well.
O’Donnell: Tom Suozzi will win a dogfight, presaging the dark melee that will be the 2024 midterms.
Levy: Democrat Tom Suozzi has to be seen as the favorite. The party has an enrollment edge and the abortion issue to energize not only its base, but perhaps some moderate Republican women. And he has a history as a moderate, who should have a fair chance to fend off efforts to tie him to popular policies, like bail reform, of its progressive city lawmakers. But it could be very close, because Long Island Republicans have found a candidate with an appealing biography – Mazi mania! – and have been on fire in the last few election cycles. (They) have a knack for zeroing in on messages that move voters, including independents, who have broken heavily in their favor in recent years.
Rivera: Duh … lol. Though the race is going to be tight, former Rep. Tom Suozzi has a clear advantage, and if he leans into the right issues, it will make the difference. The George Santos saga has left that district exhausted. Literally all we have to do is take the voters seriously. It’s our race to lose.
Sheinkopf: Predictions are what they are: generally unscientific presumptions. Trends tell a better story. In NY-3, odds today do not favor Democrats. Republicans continue, under the leadership of GOP Chair Joe Cairo, to win Nassau County elections at all levels. Segments of the Queens portion of the district are likely to respond to similar messaging: fear that the “city” is seeping into eastern Queens: Migrants, crime, homeless people – exactly what eastern Queens and western Nassau residents moved to avoid. Demographic shifts in Nassau to more conservative Jews – particularly Iranians – can help the Republicans. Finally, every vote Democrat Tom Suozzi took in Congress with any member of the anti-Israel “Squad,” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will hurt. The real winners: political consultants. This will be a big score.
Greer: Tom Suozzi will win the 3rd and will usher in a small blue wave for the 2024 election in New York.
What will be the defining factor for the 2024 New York congressional races?
Honan: How well Democrats can demonstrate to swing voters that they are meeting voters where they are at, which means focusing on issues like crime and concerns about the migrant crisis.
West: Consultants and pundits will try to pivot to Trump and abortion. I think centering abortion is an important strategy, but the Democratic Party had a long time to codify and do more for women and marginalized people and chose to do nothing. I see a defining factor actually being how we excite people to come to the polls, especially young people and people of color, when the president, the standard-bearer for the party, is alienating huge swaths of their electorate with a host of unfulfilled promises and conservative pandering.
O’Donnell: These races will continue to be local, and while a host of national issues – crime, education, health care, reproductive rights, Trump and Biden – will play a role, it will be New York-specific issues, including congestion pricing, housing, efforts in Albany to raise taxes and asylum-seekers that will be deciding factors.
Levy: That’s easy: the appeal at the top of the ticket. If Joe Biden can resuscitate his candidacy and rebuild the coalition that beats Trump, Democrats will elect more members of Congress than if he can’t. Right now, a lot of Republican candidates – especially the ones running in competitive districts, which are pretty much all suburban – are really worried about Trump turning off moderate suburbanites, especially women, who abandoned him in droves from 2016 to 2020 and are showing few signs of returning.
Rivera: Abortion, abortion, abortion. It’s important to remember that Trump will likely be on the ballot voters in New York will be filling out this November. The Republican Party has, in recent years, become synonymous with injustice, hatred and ineptitude – especially with childish conduct in Congress throughout this year. Ultimately, though, these candidates will try to distance themselves from Trump and his positions on abortion and gun control; they will be unsuccessful.
Sheinkopf: The last time a Republican presidential candidate won New York state was in 1980: Ronald Reagan bested incumbent Jimmy Carter. Republicans should generally have a tough time in 2024. Trump on the ballot will help Democrats. Another Republican presidential nominee will help Republicans … but not enough. Trump’s presence or nonpresence could be the most significant 2024 factor.
Who are you watching for a possible comeback in 2024?
West: Before I go to bed every night, I clasp my hands and I pray that Andrew Cuomo never finds a place in politics ever again. It hasn’t stopped some in the Brooklyn Democratic Party rolling out the red carpet for him unfortunately. I’m also wondering what the future brings for Tish James.
Levy: Suozzi and – depending on Biden’s strength or toxicity – Laura Gillen in the 4th Congressional District.
Rivera: Warning not watching, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is gearing up for a comeback in 2024, namely through a bid for New York City mayor. Given Cuomo’s history, this is a comeback progressives and centrists alike should be wary of. Ineffective leadership today should not be an invitation for the corrupt leaders of yesterday to return.
Sheinkopf: If an opportunity arises, Andrew Cuomo.
Greer: Eric Adams
Who will be a rising star in 2024?
West: I’m actually excited about a few people. I may be biased, but I see Eon Huntley, who is challenging Stephanie Zinerman in Assembly District 56, as an exciting candidate. He’s a Black man from Brooklyn, lived in NYCHA, a leader in his PTA and a big volunteer for Bernie (Sanders). I also see some leaders in the City Council Progressive Caucus, namely Tiffany Cabán, Alexa Avilés, Shahana Hanif, Sandy Nurse, Chi Ossé, and a few others who are finding their voice pushing back on this mayor. Next year could be interesting.
Levy: The Republican North Hempstead town supervisor, Jennifer DeSena.
Sheinkopf: All under 35 year-olds who win open legislative seats in 2024.
Greer: Zellnor Myrie.
Will anyone announce an official challenge to Mayor Eric Adams in 2024? If so, who?
West: I would assume so. I don’t see Adams leaving office. We were all patiently awaiting an indictment that Monday, and it didn’t happen. Even if it did, he’d hold on despite his polls plummeting. I think this will galvanize more than one person to announce, but the left has got to encourage either folks to consolidate, or at a minimum coordinate, against the mayor. I think what’s interesting is that the UFT and maybe other unions are suing him, and this could be a good time to peel labor away from him. I was at that Staten Island house party, so I’m clearly a fan of Antonio Reynoso, but I think there are more than a few candidates who would be good from the left, including Zellnor Myrie.
O’Donnell: Jessica Ramos.
Levy: Probably too many people to mention, which is the best scenario he could hope for.
Sheinkopf: No one will openly announce a challenge to Mayor Adams. Names will be floated to determine potential. In the last 80 years, only two incumbent mayors have been denied a second term: Abraham Beame and David Dinkins. Scheming behind Adams’ back and planning for an early 2025 entry is more probable.
Greer: If I had to guess someone challenging sitting Mayor Eric Adams, it would be Scott Stringer.
Which issue will dominate the legislative session in Albany?
Honan: Budget: taxes and spending.
West: My knee-jerk feeling is not much is going to dominate the session because everyone will be so focused on the election cycle. But I honestly believe housing may return in some way, and Albany will be pressured to finally do something. That could mean “good cause” eviction once again, but I’m partial to a Social Housing Development Authority getting passed some day.
O’Donnell: Financial issues: budget deficits, paying for newly arrived New Yorkers, efforts to raise taxes and so on.
Levy: Beyond any particular issue, what will dominate everything in Albany – even more than it usually does – is how the parties approach everything with an eye toward their image, particularly with swing voters. Both Republicans and Democrats are in a precarious position. And their leaders know that they need to improve their brands in a big way. So I guess another way of putting it is: The biggest issue, if you can call it that, will be the tug of war between so-called progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party and MAGA types and moderates in the Republican Party.
Rivera: Revenue, revenue, revenue, we’ve got to tax the rich. This upcoming legislative session will be marred by Eric Adams’ drastic cuts. Housing continues to be a pressing issue as activists, everyday New Yorkers and progressives increase their calls for stronger tenant protections, an expansion of affordable housing and rent control measures.
Sheinkopf: The Legislature in an election year – despite veto-proof majorities – will take little risk. Migrants, affordable housing and health care will be the issues. If New York City’s difficult fiscal condition becomes a crisis, it will dominate politics.