A Look at the 2020 Election: Some Middle Atlantic States, Part 2- New York and New Jersey

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Next, we cover New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey

The 2018 midterms were cruel to the GOP in New Jersey.  First, there is a Senate race as Corey Booker is up for reelection.  He is opposed by Rik Mehta who surprised the much-better funded Hirsh Singh in the primary.  It will be an uphill climb for Mehta who starts off with a name recognition problem and considerably less money in a reliably blue state.

Most of the voting population is centered in the northern part of the state which is considerably more liberal than the southern, or even most of the central sections.

There are four House races of interest and if the GOP hopes to take back the lower chamber, they must take at least one seat while facing a tough battle to retain another seat.  Some believe that the GOP can take the Fifth District up north, but this district has been drifting towards the Democrats over previous cycles and may be out of reach.  Instead, the better target is the 7th District.  Democrat Tom Malinowski defeated GOP incumbent Leonard Lance in 2018.  This year, he faces Tom Kean, Jr., a name well-respected in New Jersey.  In fact, the name “Kean” is to New Jersey what “Kennedy” is to Massachusetts.  I believe, given the nature of the district, this one will be a GOP victory.

Speaking of Kennedy, in the Second District in the southern part of the state, and a sprawling one at that, Jeff Van Drew won in 2018 in an open race as a Democrat and switched parties in light of the Trump impeachment.  The Democrat knives came out…big time.  I know…I live in this district.  I voted for Van Drew even though he was a Democrat (the Republican, actually a libertarian, was a certifiable nutcase! I had many a running debate with him in his newspaper column and on his radio show).

He faces Amy Kennedy, the wife of Patrick Kennedy of the Kennedy clan and she is using the last name to full advantage as if she actually is a Kennedy.  It is disgraceful her use of JFK’s image in the mailings I receive from this southern New Jersey born and raised former school teacher.  Van Drew has his work cut out for him.  However, if one looks at the money game, most of Van Drew’s financial support comes from within the district while most of Kennedy’s money comes from out-of-state.  This writer believes he will prevail by a small margin after winning by 7 points two years ago.

There is also the 3rd District where Democrat Andy Kim won in 2018 in a very expensive race.  This year he faces David Richter who originally was running in the 2nd until Van Drew switched parties.  He basically carpetbagged his way into the Third District.  I would be more bullish on this one if the better funded and native Kate Gibbs won the primary.

One interesting ballot question asks voters to legalize the possession and use of marijuana.

From comments in other articles, I know some people believe Trump has a chance here.  Given the distribution of population in the state, however, I cannot see it.  The high population counties will go for Biden because he is not Trump.  The low population counties will vote for Trump because he is Trump.  If Trump has any chance it will people skipping over the top of the ticket because they dislike both candidates which may make Trump’s loss margin lower than 2016.  From where I sit in New Jersey, I see very little enthusiasm for Biden.

New York

The Democrats hold a 21-6 advantage in the House in New York after the GOP took a beating in 2018.  There are five races of interest.  Unfortunately, we will have to endure at least two more years of horse-toothed smiles from the likes of AOC.

 In the Second District, Republican Peter King is retiring and this seat will be a tough battle out on Long Island.  Republican Andrew Gabarino started with a huge financial disadvantage to the Democrat, Jackie Gordon.  This district has been drifting towards blue and losing it would not be a major surprise.  However, it would be a big surprise if the GOP does not take the Staten Island-based 11th District currently held by Democrat Max Rose.  Although Cook rates it nominally GOP, Trump won the district by double digits in 2016.

In the central state-based 22nd District, Claudia Tenney, who lost by one point in 2018 to Democrat Anthony Bandisi is back for a rematch.  Given her previous performance in a year unfavorable to the GOP in a district Trump won in 2016 and which Cook rates favorably for the GOP and her name recognition, look for her to win here.

Joe Katko is in the mold of NeverTrumper Rick Wilson and Democrats are coming for him in 2020 which should be a lesson to all those NeverTrumper, Bulwarkians out there.  Part of me would not mind seeing this piece of trash gone, but the “R” after his name is necessary despite being a pain in the ass.

 Perhaps the most important race when all is said and done is the First District out there on the end of Long Island represented by Republican Lee Zeldin.  On the plus side, several Democrats entered their brutal primary and Nancy Goroff prevailed but had to spend over $2.3 million getting there.  This will be a tough one and if Zeldin loses, it could be a long night for the GOP.  This writer, however, believes Zeldin will prevail by the skin of his teeth in an election whose results may come in much later in the night, or even days later.  It’s baby steps in New York.

Running Totals

Biden widens his lead on Trump in the electoral vote count 124-50, but all is not lost.  Democrats also widen their lead in the House 80-49 as visions of power start to swirl in the head of Nancy Pelosi.  Likewise, Chuck Schumer starts to feel a tingle in his leg as the Democrats double up the GOP in the Senate 28-14.  Schumer and Pelosi pose for their rendition of American Gothic 3.0.


Some border and some Midwestern states.