A Closer Look: New York's Red Wave
Last week, Eric Cunningham had a thorough look at what happened in New York State, where the GOP had significant gains across the board. And it wasn’t just in the House, where Sean Patrick Maloney’s and Hakeem Jeffries’ gerrymandering overreach was responsible for the loss of 4 blue districts flipping red. And it wasn’t just because of Long Island’s red wave. Mostly it was because the Democratic Party is dysfunctional, trying to be so big a tent that it is no longer an effective vehicle for the legitimate aspirations of the working class. Instead it is little more than a vehicle for the careerism of party elites.
Let’s start with the gubernatorial race— and with something that Cunningham neglected to mention: Kathy Hochul was the worst candidate for statewide office since… Andrew Cuomo picked her as his running mate in 2014 to bring in conservative upstate votes. She certainly could have never won a statewide race otherwise. This video is Kathy Hochul in her own words; it explains why New York’s voter turnout dropped by over 5% compared to the 2018 midterms, even while states like New Hampshire (up 8.3%), Arizona (up 7.8%), Pennsylvania (up 6.6%), Michigan (up 5.3%) and Nevada (up 4.7%) saw enthused Democrats turnout in big numbers to turn back the red tide that engulfed Long Island.
Lee Zeldin did very well, garnering 47.4%, better than any Republican has done since 2002 when Gorge Pataki was elected in 1998 with 54.3% and the reelected in 2002 with 49.4%. But that wasn’t because Zeldin is any good; he isn’t He’s just a garden variety MAGA idiot. It’s because Hochul stinks. Cunningham, impressed with Zeldin’s scores, pointed out that “Zeldin appears to have won just over 30% of the vote in New York City (a 14.1% shift right from 2020, and more than the 27% George Pataki needed to win in 1994), while carrying the city’s direct suburbs by 6.8% (a 17.7% shift right from 2020) and upstate proper by 9.4% (a 13.1% shift from 2020). Those are three very, very impressive performances on their own, and even more impressive in combination– and it still wasn’t enough to bring the state within five, let alone to win.” His analysis in the congressional and legislative races are more valuable.
Perhaps the most striking result on Election Night wasn’t Zeldin’s performance, but instead the scope of Republican gains in the House of Representatives; Republicans flipped four congressional districts (NY-03 and NY-04 on Long Island, and NY-17 and NY-19 in the Hudson Valley), held NY-22 despite the retirement of John Katko, and substantially overperformed in two other high double-digit Biden seats (NY-20 in Albany and NY-25 in Rochester). The new crop of Republican congressmen includes George Santos (likely the first openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress as a freshman) and Marc Molinaro…
While the Republican overperformance upstate was seen as a real possibility (both sides regarded NY-25 as competitive, for example), a clean sweep of Long Island was seen as far less so. NY-03 reaches into portions of Queens (a borough Republicans haven’t had Congressional representation in since Bob Turner’s fluke win in a 2011 special election), while NY-04 voted for Joe Biden by 12 percentage points and is centered in the strongly Democratic town of Hempstead. In hindsight, however, these Republican wins were preceded in 2021 by sweeping gains in local elections in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
It’s worth noting that Democrats nominated a worthless careerist candidate in NY-03 who didn’t give voters any reason to elect him other than national messages:
We may suck; they suck worse
Cunningham noted that “these gains account for the incoming Republican House majority. Moreover, the 11-member Republican caucus is the largest the Empire State has seen since 2000, when 12 Republicans were elected. Crucially, this would not have been possible under the much-maligned “Hochulmander,” which was struck down earlier this year before being redrawn by a special master; as many as eight congressional districts could have had different results under the discarded map… As a consequence of these gains, Republicans will certainly be playing defense in 2024. Soon-to-be former Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito of NY-04 will almost certainly be the most prominent target, and his seat will be a tough one for Republicans to hold, but the state’s propensity for ticket-splitting shouldn’t be discounted; it’s entirely possible that most of these new representatives hold on.”
Votes are still being tallied in the closet state legislative races but there is no question that the GOP made real inroads. For starters, the Democrats probably lost their supermajority in the Senate. Republicans ousted at least 3 Democratic incumbents:
SD-5 (Nassau Co.)- Republican Steven Rhoads pulverized John Brooks, 61-39%
SD-7 (Nassau Co.)- Republican Jack Martins ousted Anna Kaplan 53-47%
SD-38 (Rockland Co.)- Republican Bill Weber beat William Reichlin-Melnick, 52-48
There were 2 contests that pitted Democratic incumbents against Republican incumbents, SD-41 (parts of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene and Ulster counties), where Michelle Hinchey (D) managed to slip by Susan Serino (R) 52-48% and SD-61 (part off Erie County), where Sean Ryan (D) beat Ed Rath (R) 57-43%. All the rest of the good news for Team Blue was that they managed to hold on in some of the races Cunningham’s early turns saw them losing:
SD-4 (Suffolk Co.)- Democrat Monica Martinez beat Wendy Rodriguez 51-49% in the open seat
SD-17 (Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Kensington and Sunset Parkin Brooklyn)- an open seat where Democrat Iwen Chu is leading Vito LaBella 50.3-49.7%
SD-23 (Staten Island)- Incumbent Jessica Scarcella-Spanton beat back Joseph Tirone 51-49%
SD 41- That’s the Hinchey vs Serino upstate race we noted above
SD-52 (all of Cortland and Tompkins counties and part of Broome County, including the city of Binghamton)- Democrat Lea Webb beat Richard David in the open seat, 50.7% to 49.3%
Two seats are still not called
SD-42 (Orange Co.)- Democratic incumbent James Skoufis in holding on against Dorey Houle, 50.6- 49.4% and is likely to win
SD-50 (parts of Onondaga and Oswego counties.)- Democratic incumbent John Mannion is holding by a hair on against Rebecca Shiroff, 50.1-49.9%. Automatic hand recount starts next week.
The situation in the state Assembly was worse for the Democrats and, once again, with the Democratic super-majority in jeopardy depending on still uncalled, super-tight races. For starters, 3 Democratic incumbents were defeated
AD-45 (Brighton Beach and Gravesend in Brooklyn)- Democratic incumbent Steven Cymbrowitz was wiped out by Republican Michael Novakhov, 60% to 40%
AD-46 (Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Coney Island in Brooklyn)- Democratic incumbent Mathylde Frontus was defeated by Republican Alec Brook-Krasny, 51-49%
AD-49 (Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst and Borough Park in Brooklyn)- Democratic incumbent Peter Abbate was defeated by Republican Lester Chang, 52 to 48%
There are 3 uncalled races with Republican challengers leading Democratic incumbents and one with a Democratic incumbent, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, barely hanging on in Suffolk County:
AD-4 (Port Jefferson, Stony Brook, Setauket, Strongs Neck and parts of Coram, and Selden in Suffolk Co.)- Republican Edward Flood is leading Democratic incumbent Steve Englebright, 51-49%
AD-11 (Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, North Lindenhurst, Wyandanch, parts of East Farmingdale, and parts of North Babylon in Suffolk Co.)- Democratic incumbent Kimberly Jean-Pierre is holding on against Christopher Sperber 50.2% to 49.8%
AD-21 (Malverne, Lynbrook and Rockville Centre in Nassau Co)- Republican Brian Curran is leading Democratic incumbent Judy Griffin, 50.2% to 49.8%
AD-23 (Howard Beach and Rockaway in Queens)- Republican Tom Sullivan is leading Democratic incumbent Stacey Pheffer-Amato, 50.4% to 49.6%
There is also one open seat, AD-99 (the district Republican Colin Schmitt gave up in parts of Orange and Rockland counties for his unsuccessful run for Congress), where Republican Kathryn Luciani is ever-so-narrowly leading Democrat Christopher Eachus, 50.1% to 49.9%