Incumbent Democrats are waging several nasty battles for U.S. congressional seats against formidable GOP challengers in New York, threatening the Democrats’ clout in Washington.
“A lot of Democrats are holding seats traditionally held by Republicans, and it’s not a great time for Democrats generally,” said pollster Steven Greenberg, of Siena College. He noted that 12 years ago New York had 13 Republican House members, and now it only has two. “Republicans see an opportunity to win those seats back, and that’s why we’re seeing so many competitive races.”
Democrats could forfeit anywhere between one and 11 seats in New York, contributing to the 39 seats the Republicans need nationally to capture the House. With that, liberal leaders also stand to give up powerful chairmanships to congressional committees and subcommittees.
City bigwigs such as Anthony Weiner and scandal-plagued Charles Rangel are safe, but here are a few tight races:
* Mike McMahon, D, under fire for releasing list of challenger’s Jewish donors, vs. Michael Grimm, R, former Marine and Tea Party favorite, in the 13th District (Staten Island/Brooklyn)
* John Hall, D, incumbent and former rock star from band Orleans, vs. Nan Hayworth, R, ophthalmologist who said she’s proud to be “a radical,” in the 19th District (Hudson Valley)
* Mike Arcuri, D, Nancy Pelosi-aligned Congressman up for third term, vs. Richard Hanna, R, Oneida Country construction and real estate baron, in the 24th District (central New York including Broome and Cortland counties)
* Steve Israel, D, served the district since 2001 and almost went against Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate primary, vs. John Gomez, Bayport attorney, in the Second District (Suffolk/Nassau counties)
* Tim Bishop, D, Southampton Blue Dog Democrat seeking fifth-term, vs. Randy Altschuler, R, millionaire businessman, in the First District (Suffolk counties)