The Road to a Republican House Goes Through Upstate New York!

The Republicans need to net a total of 40 seats in order to take control of the House of Representatives and no state may be more important toward winning back the House than New York State. The Republicans have lost 7 Seats in New York state since 2006 and 12 Seats since 1995, when the Republicans held 14 of the 31 New York’s seats and they also held one of the two senate seats with Al D’Amato and had a Republican Governor, George Pataki that unseated Mario Cuomo in a stunning Scott Brown style upset. Pataki won 3 Terms as Governor, 2 by considerable margins. I

 New York state was Gerrymandered to protect incumbents and two House seats were eliminated from Upstate New York after the 2000 census. After the 2000 census republicans held 11 of the 29 seats. Today Republicans have just 2 of the 29 New York’s House Seats and the Democrats hold all statewide offices. In 2008 the Democrats also grabbed the State Senate and currently hold a 32-30 majority in the Senate. The Assembly has been dominated by the Dems since the 1970’s. The Democrats hold a 110 to 40 Majority.

 Seven of the nine house seats the republicans have lost come from Upstate New York and 5 of them come from districts that George W. Bush won.  There are 9 Districts that George W. Bush won in 2004 that are currently held by Democrats as well as 2 more that John Kerry won by less than 3 points, on paper things look promising for the Republicans to rebound a bit in 2010. There are some good house candidates and some races that have yet to take shape. 

 My take is that the Republicans need to win at-least 3 House seats in New York state in order to be on pace to take back the House of Representatives.  The Cook Report currently lists 6 Districts that he says lean Democrat they include,  NY-1 Tim Bishop a R+0,  NY-13 Mike McMahon a R+4, NY-19 John Halla R+3,  NY-23 Bill Owens a R+1 ,NY-24 Michael Arcuri a R+2 ,NY-29 Eric Massa a R+5 and 2 Likely Democrat NY-20 Scott Murphy a R+2, NY-25 Dan Maffei a D+3. Mr. Cook is wrong with his rating on the NY29 Eric Massa is the only absolute goner of the 8 districts. Tom Reed, the Mayor of Corning is a guaranteed lock against Eric Massa. McCain won 51% in this mostly solid Republican Southern-tier district that includes some Rochester suburbs that lean Democrat. The good news is Massa is hated even in the Democrat leaning suburbs of Rochester after the nutroots convention. Massa won by 2 points because Randy Kuhl had a scandal with pulling a shotgun on his wife. My rating for NY 29th is Likely Republican.

 In the New York 24th Richard Hanna nearly unseated Mike Arcuri despite being underfunded and Obama winning 50% of the vote in this Central New York district. Richard Hanna is a great candidate and a good fit for the district. He will win this district if 2010 is a Republican year. Hanna caught Arcuri napping and has a compelling biography. Republicans need to give big to Richard Hanna and he is the best hope of winning the district. Mike Arcuri is probably the most liberal Blue Dog voting down the line for the socialist agenda. The Republicans should get behind Richard Hanna big time. He will make a great congressman. My rating for this is a pure toss-up. 

Bill Owens started his hopefully brief congressional career off as a liar and beat a RedState Hero Doug Hoffman by 2.4 thanks to 6% of Republicans throwing their votes away on that rotten troll Dede.  Doug Hoffman is poised to return and the activists are behind him and with the Republican, Conservative, and  Independence lines, Hoffman would be the favorite to get this seat. My rating is Leans Republican.

Jim Tedisco beat Scott Murphy until the Democrats fun and games with the absentees ballot began and Tedisco lost by 700 votes out of over 160,000 votes cast. The unions and ACORN stole this one for sure. The district was represented by Kirsten Gillibrand, who is running statewide for the first time, which may give Murphy the edge here. If Tedisco runs again than this race is a pure toss-up.

The candidate situations for the other races is a little more uncertain with primaries and more candidates still entering the races. John Hall is very vulnerable given what happened in Westchester County in 2009. Republican Rob Astorino unseated Andy Spano to become Westchester Country Executive. Hall’s district has the Northern parts of Westchester County, which are the most Republican parts of the very Democrat Westchester County. George W. Bush got 54% here and Obama won the district by 3 points. Until the candidate takes shape and the republicans get behind a candidate this one Leans Democrat. This the biggest disappointment so far in the New York house races.

Don’t let Maffei and Bishop’s districts fool you both are very vulnerable. Maffei ran weakly against third-tier token opposition winning 54 to 42. Randy Altschuler is running against Bishop and so is Richard Nixon’s grandson Chris Nixon Cox.  Christopher Nixon Cox looks like a promising candidate in a district with more Republicans that has become something on a bellwether. Ed Cox is the New York Republican party chairman and Chris’s father and Nixon’s son-in-law and would work to get Chris Cox elected. If the Cox wins the nomination he can win the district, which has 15% more registered Republicans than Democrats. My rating is a toss-up if Cox is the nominee. Michael McMahon will lose if the Republicans can get a top-tier or well funded candidate in the Staten Island district that McCain got 51% of the vote. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent is getting some support from Guy Molinari and others. Grimm has a very compelling biography and is tapping into the populist outrage. Grimm’s law and order image will make people forget about Vito Fossella.  My rating leans Democrat and could be a pure toss-up if Grimm’s candidacy takes shape.

Finally on the senate side Chuck Schumer is probably safe, but his approval is just 51%. I confess Schumer is probably the only person in politics that I hate more than Obama.  I would love to see Chuck U. Schumer lose and that probably won’t happen. He currently has no serious challengers. CNBC host Larry Kudlow is rumored to be eying a run against Schumer. There is probably no candidate that can beat Chuck Schumer barring some scandal. I would take $25 million to give Schumer a real race.

Kirsten Gillibrand is vulnerable big time, but the only real candidate the GOP has is some guy named Bruce Blakeman. Blakeman who is probably a fine guy, but won’t beat Gillibrand. George Pataki could definitely beat Gillibrand and Peter King could come within single digits. Blakeman will probably lose by 20 to 25 points. I think the GOP needs a better candidate, especially with big money that can get both the Republican and conservative party lines.

 Lazio for Governor is interesting, because I think he could have beaten Gillibrand. Lazio lost to Hillary 55 to 43. Lazio’s 43% was a great showing and I believe he can run a close race with Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has a lot of baggage and I expect Lazio to surprise people. My prediction is if Rick Lazio stays in the Governor’s race Cuomo wins by just single digits. David Paterson is done and I hope he does not go quietly that would give the Republicans a real at the Governor’s mansion. I would like to see Lazio challenge Gillibrand and see Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino make a run for Governor. New Yorkers are fed up with Washington and Albany and this could be another 1994 if the GOP can get quality candidates to run for the House and Senate and fund them decently.