New York is not exactly a swing state in the presidential election, but it plays a key role in the fight for Congress. NY1's Bobby Cuza files this first report in a new series on the state's most competitive contests for seats in the House of Representatives.
New York may be as blue a state as they come, but when it comes to the House of Representatives, it is actually a battleground state, thanks in part, analysts say, to new district lines drawn by a court magistrate.
“The court drew the map and drew a number of competitive districts between the parties. they essentially un-gerrymandered New York’s district boundaries," says David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. "As a result, there are about eight competitive races in the state where the result is in doubt.”
Currently, of 435 seats, the House has 240 Republicans, 190 Democrats and five vacancies, which means Democrats need a net gain of about 25 seats to regain control.
New York state currently has 29 representatives, although it is losing two seats in reapportionment this year thanks to slow population growth. Of the 29, 22 are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Six of them are freshmen in their first terms in office, vulnerable to challenge.
“We talk about 'one-hit wonders' on the radio. There could be one some 'one-term wonders' out of New York state," says Wasserman. "Republican freshmen who took districts that they ordinarily wouldn’t have had any chance of winning, had it not been for a massive Republican wave election in 2010.”
“We’re going to pick up as many as four seats in New York,” says Executive Director Robby Mook of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Among others, the DCCC says it is targeting Republicans Ann Marie Buerkle, Nan Hayworth and Michael Grimm, and hoping to use the top of the ticket against them.
“In some races in New York, we’re actually running ads against candidates attacking them for their support for Mitt Romney. He’s so toxic in New York State,” says Mook.
The National Republican Congressional Committee believes it can add to the gains made in 2010, targeting Democrats Kathy Hochul, Bill Owens, Tim Bishop and Louise Slaughter.
“In 2010, Republicans won six House seats in New York in a year where a Democratic governor was elected with more than 60 percent. And this year, Republicans are playing offense, and we look to likely gain even more seats,” says National RNC spokesman Nat Sillin.
Republicans say they are outspending Democrats in New York about 3-to-1. The end results will be seen on November 6.