New York Democrats look to flip more GOP-held House seats
Candidate filing closed last month for New York’s June 23 primaries, and we’ll be running down the state of play in the state’s big congressional races here.
The state does publish a list of candidates who've filed for Congress, but it doesn't include all House seats. Candidates running for a district that is contained entirely within a single county or within the five boroughs of New York City file with their local election authorities, while everyone else files with the state.
As a result, the state's list only covers 14 of New York's 27 congressional districts; the rest we've had to obtain from New York City, Suffolk County, and Monroe County. We've consolidated these various lists and put them into a single document here. We're still missing NY-04 (which is entirely located in Nassau County), but Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice faces minimal opposition for a fourth term.
NY-01: GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin won reelection last cycle 51-47 against Democrat Perry Gershon, and Gershon is once again running for this eastern Suffolk County seat. However, two other notable Democrats—Stony Brook University professor Nancy Goroff and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming—are also competing in the June primary.
Goroff, who has the support of EMILY’s List, ended March with a $646,000 to $504,000 cash on hand lead over Gershon, though Gershon demonstrated last cycle that he’s capable of some serious self-funding. Fleming, who is the only elected official in the primary, was further behind with $305,000 on hand.
While Zeldin only pulled off a modest win in 2018, he’ll be difficult to unseat in a presidential year. Although this seat narrowly supported Barack Obama in 2012, Donald Trump took it 55-42 four years later. Zeldin also had a hefty $1.8 million to defend himself in a race Daily Kos Elections rates as Likely Republican.
NY-02: Longtime GOP Rep. Peter King’s retirement makes this southern Long Island one of Team Blue’s top pickup opportunities in the nation, but Republicans still have a good chance to keep it. The district swung from 52-47 Obama to 53-44 Trump, and Republicans do well downballot in this area. Daily Kos Elections rates this contrast as Lean Republican, but it’s one we’ll be watching closely for developments.
While plenty of Republicans jumped in the race in the months after this seat opened up, almost all of them dropped out after Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino picked up endorsements from King and the leaders of the Nassau and Suffolk County Republican parties. Fellow Assemblyman Mike LiPetri decided to stay in the primary, but Garbarino ended March with a $322,000 to $136,000 cash on hand edge.
On the Democratic side, Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon faces little intraparty opposition. Gordon, an Army veteran who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, spent months challenging King before he retired, and she ended the last quarter with $536,000 to spend.
NY-09: Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke defeated community organizer Adem Bunkeddeko in an unexpectedly close 53-47 primary last cycle, and Bunkeddeko is back for a rematch.
This time, though, three other candidates are also running for this safely blue seat in central Brooklyn. The most notable newcomer is New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, a self-described "conservative Democrat” who has a record of consistently opposing LGBTQ rights. Clarke ended March with a $267,000 to $116,000 cash on hand lead over Bunkeddeko, while Deutsch had $65,000 to spend.
NY-10: Longtime Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler faces a primary challenge from Lindsey Boylan, a former economic adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a safely blue seat that includes the west side of Manhattan and part of southern Brooklyn. Boylan entered the race last spring arguing that the incumbent had been slow to use his powerful post as chair of the House Judiciary Committee to fight the Trump administration. Nadler, though, later went on to play a prominent role in impeaching Donald Trump.
NY-11: Democrat Max Rose’ 53-47 win over GOP incumbent Dan Donovan was one of the biggest upsets of 2018, and this is a constituency that Republicans badly want to take back.
National Republicans, including Donald Trump, have consolidated behind Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. While a few other local Republicans, including disgraced ex-Rep. Mike Grimm, talked about running here (Grimm even said at one point he was “90% of the way there to run”), Malliotakis’ only intraparty foe is former Brooklyn prosecutor Joe Caldarera. Malliotakis ended March with a wide $884,000 to $51,000 cash on hand lead over Caldarera, though, and she should have no trouble winning in June.
The November election will be a much tougher affair for Team Red, though. Rose is one of the strongest fundraisers in the House, and he had $3.33 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. Rose, who is a captain in the National Guard, also earned national attention in early April when he was deployed to Staten Island to set up an emergency hospital to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
However, this is still a difficult area for Democrats. This seat, which includes all of Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn, swung from 52-47 Obama to 54-44 Trump, so even a strong incumbent like Rose will be in for a real fight. National Republicans have also reserved $1.4 million in fall TV time for a contest that we rate as a tossup.
NY-12: Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney defeated attorney Suraj Patel 60-40 in an expensive 2018 primary, and Patel is back for a rematch. However, while Patel outraised the congresswoman last time, Maloney ended March with a $427,000 to $195,000 cash on hand lead. Two other candidates are also running, which complicates Patel’s task. This seat, which includes the east side of Manhattan and nearby parts of Queens and Brooklyn, is safely blue.
NY-14: Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who pulled off one of the most shocking primary wins we’ve ever seen, faces an expensive intraparty challenge from the right from former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
Caruso-Cabrera has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and she ended March with a large $854,000 war chest after just seven weeks in the race. AOC, though, has a national base of support to draw on, and she had a massive $3.51 million in the bank. Two other Democrats are also running for this safely blue seat in the East Bronx and northern Queens.
NY-15: Longtime Rep. José Serrano is retiring from the bluest district in the entire country, and 12 fellow Democrats are running to succeed him. However, the crowded field in this Bronx seat could allow New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., who has a long and ugly history of homophobia, to win the nomination with just a plurality.
A number of other candidates are running well to Diaz’s left. The best-funded contender at the end of March by far was fellow New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who held a $939,000 to $125,000 cash on hand lead over Diaz. Torres, who would be the first gay Latino member of Congress, also has the backing of the Hotel Trades Council, which is one of the most influential unions in city politics.
Assemblyman Michael Blake has the support of two other powerful unions, SEIU 32BJ and 1199 SEIU, but he had just $77,000 in the bank. Other notable candidates include former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez; and activist Samelys Lopez, who has the endorsement of neighboring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Working Families Party.
NY-16: Longtime Rep. Eliot Engel faces four Democratic primary opponents in this safely blue seat, which includes southern Westchester County and the northern Bronx. The challenger who has attracted the most national attention so far is middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who has the support of the Working Families Party. Engel ended March with a huge $1.05 million to $217,000 cash on hand lead over Bowman while two other contenders, educator Andom Ghebreghiorgis and attorney Chris Fink, each had about $80,000 to spend.
NY-17: Longtime Rep. Nita Lowey is retiring from a safely blue seat that includes much of Westchester County and all of Rockland County, and 10 fellow Democrats are running to succeed her. The best-funded contender is former federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer, who had $1.52 million in the bank in March after self-funding most of his campaign. Behind him in the money race is former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas, who had $688,000 on hand.
Another candidate to watch is attorney Mondaire Jones, who was challenging Lowey before she retired. Jones, who had $544,000 in the bank, would be the first openly gay black member of Congress. (It was only after she died in 1996 that news accounts identified legendary Texas Rep. Barbara Jordan as a lesbian; she never discussed her sexuality during her lifetime.)
The contest also includes two state legislators. Assemblyman David Buchwald had $496,000 in the bank while state Sen. David Carlucci, who was a founding member of turncoat Independent Democratic Conference, had only $99,000. Also in the race are former NARAL board chair Allison Fine; Catherine Parker, who is the majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators; and Army veteran Asha Castleberry-Hernandez, though none of them had much money to spend.
NY-18: Democratic Rep. Sean Maloney is seeking reelection in a Lower Hudson Valley seat that swung from 51-47 Obama to 49-47 Trump, but it doesn’t look like the GOP will be making much of an effort to beat him. The only Republican candidate is 2018 Senate nominee Chele Farley, who lost that contest to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand 67-33. Maloney ended March with a wide $893,000 to $258,000 cash on hand lead in a race we rate as safe Democratic.
NY-19: Freshman Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado should have been a top GOP target, but national Republicans failed to recruit a strong candidate after their top choice, 2018 gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, declined.
Delgado ended March with a massive $2.65 million to $254,000 cash on hand lead over fashion designer Ola Hawatmeh, who has been self-funding most of her campaign; the other Republican, Army veteran Kyle Van De Water, had a mere $14,000 in the bank. This Hudson Valley seat swung from 52-46 Obama to 51-44 Trump, so it’s still possible for the GOP to score a win here if the political climate is good for them, but we’re rating this swing seat as likely Democratic.
NY-21: GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik defeated Democrat Tedra Cobb 56-42 last cycle in a contest that didn’t attract much attention, but their rematch has turned into a nationally watched affair. Stefanik infuriated progressives and delighted Trump and his fans with her antics during an impeachment hearing in November when she sought to violate House Intelligence Committee rules and then lied about why the committee's chair, Democrat Adam Schiff, had cut her off. Both candidates raised millions afterwards, and Stefanik ended March with a $4 million to $2.38 million cash on hand lead.
However, as Stefanik’s large win last time demonstrated, this is a very difficult race for Team Blue. The district, which includes the farthest upstate reaches of New York, swung from 52-46 Obama all the way to 54-40 Trump, and we rate this contest as safe Republican.
NY-22: Democrat Anthony Brindisi unseated GOP incumbent Claudia Tenney 51-49 in 2018, and Tenney is back for a rematch. The former congresswoman faces minimal intraparty opposition, but Brindisi ended March with a wide $2.16 million to $408,000 cash on hand lead.
Despite Brindisi’s huge financial edge and Tenney’s many mistakes last cycle, this is still a tough race for Team Blue. This seat, which includes Binghamton, Utica, and Rome, moved from a tiny win for Mitt Romney all the way to 55-39 Trump, and national Republicans have reserved over $2 million in fall TV time here. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as a tossup.
NY-23: GOP Rep. Tom Reed beat Democrat Tracy Mitrano 54-46 last cycle in an expensive race, and Mitrano is running again. This seat, which includes Ithaca and southwestern New York, moved from 50-48 Romney to 55-40 Trump, and Reed ended March with a wide $763,000 to $206,000 cash on hand lead. So far this contest hasn’t attracted much outside attention, and we rate it as safe Republican.
NY-24: Rep. John Katko, who is one of just two Republican incumbents seeking reelection in a Clinton seat, defeated Democrat Dana Balter 53-47 in 2018, and Balter is running again. First, though, Balter has to get past Navy veteran Francis Conole, who held a small $313,000 to $268,000 cash on hand edge at the end of March.
Whoever wins the June primary will be in for a difficult race against Katko, who had $1.19 million to defend himself; the incumbent’s allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund have also reserved $600,000 to aid him. This Syracuse seat moved from 57-41 to just 49-45 Clinton, and this is an area where Republicans do well downballot. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as lean Republican.
NY-27: The special election to succeed disgraced GOP Rep. Chris Collins, who is scheduled to report to prison on June 23 after pleading guilty to insider trading charges, will take place on the same day as the regular two-year primary. (The contest was originally set for April, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved it due to the coronavirus pandemic.) That’s created a bit of an awkward situation for state Sen. Chris Jacobs, who is the GOP’s special election nominee but faces primary challenges from the right from both attorney Beth Parlato, who has the Conservative Party’s backing, and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
However, the split field could give Jacobs the advantage as the de facto incumbent; Parlato and Mychajliw will also need to win over plenty of Republican voters at the same time that they’re supporting Jacobs in the special election. Jacobs ended March with a $521,000 to $451,000 cash on hand lead over Parlato, while Mychajliw had $72,000 to spend.
The Democratic candidate for the special election is 2018 nominee Nate McMurray, who faces no intraparty opposition in the regular primary and had $267,000 in the bank. McMurray held Collins, who was under indictment but had not been convicted, to a 49.1-48.7 win last cycle, but he’s in for an even tougher race in June. This seat in the Buffalo suburbs moved from 55-43 Romney to 60-35 Trump, and Jacobs doesn’t have Collins’ problems. We rate the special election as safe Republican.
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