In this entry, there are three gubernatorial races and two Senate races besides the congressional races. That represents a potential for some GOP gains.
First up, Vermont. This is one of the most liberal states in the country. There should be no surprises here as Bill Shumlin will easily win reelection as Governor and [mc_name name=’Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’W000800′ ] (D-VT)’ chamber will be reelected to the US House. Thus, there is no changes to the partisan breakdowns anywhere out of this state. Prediction: Shumlin by 11.
In Rhode Island, Democratic Governor Lincoln Chafee is not seeking reelection and for good reason. He suffers from some of the worst approval ratings of any incumbent Governor of either party in the United States. Gina Raimondo defeated favorite Angel Tavares in the Democratic primary while Allan Fung won a close race over Ken Block in the Republican primary. This has the potential to be a close race and one overlooked by the media and pollsters. Still, I believe that Rhode Island is so sufficiently blue that Raimondo will win in a close race. And the congressional district races- held by Democrats- are on the radar of no one and should remain firmly Democratic. The Senate race will not be close and Democrat [mc_name name=’Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000122′ ] will win by at least 30 points. Raimondo by 2 points.
Moving south, in Delaware, Congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. John Carney (D-DE)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001083′ ] will be easily reelected to Congress. In the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Kevin Wade, one needs to watch this race as it is a sleeper. As I stated in an entry regarding the Delaware primary, the GOP thinks they have their man in Wade. Someone noted that he had lost big time in his previous run for the Senate. There is a big difference between running against a Delaware icon like Tom Carper and running against Chris Coons. The fact is that many Delaware Democrats are not exactly enamored with Coons thus far. Although Wade may not necessarily get their votes (they would rather hold their noses and choose Coons), Wade’s almost libertarian stances may sway some Democratic voters his way along with some independents. No one is predicting a Wade victory here. Democratic Party registration far outnumbers GOP affiliation. The bulk of the population lies in northern county centered in liberal Wilmington. Wade’s chances increase somewhat if the more liberal voters opt not to hold their nose and decide to stay home instead of voting. That is a distinct possibility. Still, I believe that the potential exists here to make this race closer than most anticipate and possibly draw some Democratic resources into a race they already penciled in as a victory. I am not predicting a Wade victory however.
The New York gubernatorial race became more interesting thanks to the shenanigans of incumbent Andrew Coumo who some tout as a possibility in 2016. It is great to see that the GOP does not have a monopoly in shooting themselves in their political feet. The problem is that even if Coumo’s approval ratings take a hit, they are still so high that he is almost guaranteed reelection. If I were the GOP powers that be, I would not be wasting too many resources here. Despite the criticisms against Coumo, he is like the Teflon candidate and consistently polls above 50% against his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino. If Coumo loses, it would be an upset of epic proportions. Prediction: Cuomo by at least 20 points.
The current New York congressional delegation favors the Democratic Party 21-6. This kind of underscores the state of the GOP in New York. On the bright side, there is nowhere to go but up. Still, there are potential targets of opportunity here starting in the First District located on Long Island. This is one of those Cook Republican rated districts held by a Democrat, Tim Bishop. Unlike Cook, I rate the district +2 for the Democrats- enough to make it interesting and worthy of watching. If this were to be a GOP wave year, then I would give Lee Zeldin a greater chance for the GOP. Watch the results of this race early on November 4th. If Zeldin wins, then GOP chances elsewhere are enhanced. If Bishop prevails, then no wave. At this point with the caveat that it may change by the end of this series, I am giving the race to Bishop.
In the neighboring 2nd, GOP incumbent Steven King represents a district rated +1 GOP by Cook (I rate it +3 for the Democrats). Even still, King has enough of a high profile nationally and locally to prevail. Personally, there is enough to dislike in King from the conservative perspective, but he would appear to be a necessary evil.
Still on Long Island, the Third is rated even by Cook (+2 Democratic by me) and represented by Democrat Steven Israel. He will be opposed by Grant Lally who won the GOP primary in extremely low (6,900 voters) turnout. This indicates either a lack of enthusiasm in the choices, or a resignation to a loss in November. Like the 1st District race, should this seat flip early in the night as returns come in, the Democrats are in for a very, very long night. Prediction: Steven Israel by about 6 points.
The 4th is being vacated by Democrat [mc_name name=’Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M000309′ ] due to health reasons. Cook rates it +3 Democratic (+8 Democratic by me). In the primaries, turnout was almost even among Republicans and Democrats setting up an interesting dynamic for November. Further, enthusiasm for the GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman was strong, winning by 32 percentage points as opposed to Kathleen Rice’s 14 point victory on the Democratic side. This is another Long Island based district, but closer to New York City and slightly more liberal than the others. Still, I am calling for an upset here and predicting a Blakeman victory.
The Staten Island-based 11th District is represented by embattled and indicted GOP incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Mike Grimm (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000569′ ] who faced a daunting challenge against Democrat Dominic Recchia regardless of his legal problems. Still, some polling indicates a close victory for Grimm despite his troubles. Cook rates the district +2 in favor of the Republicans. I don’t see it! The thing saving Grimm, I believe, was his vocal advocacy for constituents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. However, I believe there is too much going on here and expect Grimm to eventually lose a close race in November. Again, the results should be watched closely early on November 4th. And again, if Grimm does prevail, the Democrats may be in for a long night.
The next interesting race will be in the 18th which is the northern suburbs and exurbs of NYC. Rated even by Cook, I rate it +5 Democratic. [mc_name name=’Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001185′ ] defeated Nan Hayworth in 2012 by 4 percentage points and she is back for a rematch, this time with no Obama at the top of the ticket. The GOP held their own in the House in 2012 with New York being the exception. I believe this year will be slightly different. Democratic pollsters have Hayworth up 4 points. Assuming there are no major snafus between now and November, I am predicting a Hayworth victory.
Moving further north to the 19th, Republican [mc_name name=’Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000564′ ] faces reelection against Democrat Sean Elridge in a district rated +1 Democratic by Cook (and +2 Democratic by me). A late 2013 poll showed Gibson down 8 points against any Democrat. A subsequent poll showed Gibson up by over 20 points when a face was placed to that Democrat- Sean Elridge. I believe this district is sufficiently distantly located from liberal strongholds like NYC to predict a Gibson victory here.
The very rural and large 21st is being vacated by Democrat [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’O000169′ ] in a district rated even by Cook (+5 Democratic by me). Elise Stefanik is the GOP nominee and has been polling very well against Democrat Aaron Wolf. Further, she had to face a primary against Matt Doheny and she crushed him 61-39%. The GOP looks motivated here and I am predicting a Stefanik victory.
In the 23rd District, Republican incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000585′ ] is vulnerable. I rate the district slightly less Republican-leaning than Cook. This shaped up to be a close race before the Democrats chose Martha Robertson as their candidate. Still, I believe that Reed will survive a close race. Daniel Maffei, the Democratic incumbent in the 24th is always considered a target, but I don’t see it and predict his reelection.
Finally, there is the 27th District represented by Republican [mc_name name=’Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001092′ ] who defeated interim representative Kathy Hochul in 2012. Cook rates this district +8 Republican; I rate it even. Hochul opted for a run for Lt. Governor rather than a rematch and Collins will instead face Buffalo police officer Jim O’Donnell. Given the swingish nature of this district, it is a tough one to call, but I am at this point predicting a Collins victory.
Thus out of New York, the GOP loses the 11th district, but picks up the, 4th, 18th and 21st districts for a net gain of two seats in New York and thus far in this series.
Next up: We move to the opposite end of the country and analyze races in California and Utah.