Fresh off last night’s primaries, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Democrats, sent out to reporters a strategy memo detailing how they intend to take back the seats swiped by the GOP in the 2010 election.
“Tuesday’s primary election results in New York show that Republicans are on the run and Democrats have strong candidates challenging vulnerable freshmen Republicans in six districts across the state, almost all of which were won by President Obama in 2008,” the memo states.
New York remains a deep blue state, but there are enough red pockets around the state to allow the GOP to pick up key seats, especially in an off-year election like 201o. Then, after looking for a while like the Republicans would be swept out of the state entirely, they picked up six seats, helping the Republicans retake the majority in the House.
The memo notes that this time around Barack Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand will be on the ballot, and that they have 24 and 43 point leads over the Republican opponents, respectively.
“This powerful drag at the top of the ticket and the fact that national Republicans will not be investing in New York, caused Speaker John Boehner to admit that New York Republicans are ‘frankly pretty vulnerable,’” the memo says. “Just this morning, The Hotline reported the primary results last night were ‘a nice boost in Chair Steve Israel’s home state.”‘
The memo also highlights what will be some serious drags on the GOP side, including Michael Grimm’s fundraising investigation, Nan Hayworth’s efforts to block Medicare, and Ann Marie Buerkle, whom they describe as a “poster-child for the extreme right.”
Full memo below:
Tuesday’s primary election results in New York show that Republicans are on the run and Democrats have strong candidates challenging vulnerable freshmen Republicans in six districts across the state, almost all of which were won by President Obama in 2008. With Republicans running from their indefensible votes to drastically cut Medicare while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil, and corporations that ship jobs overseas instead of standing up for the middle class, Democrats have the opportunity to make big gains across the state.
Heading into the 2012 general election, the Democratic brand in New York has never been stronger. According to the latest Siena Polling [6/11/12, 6/12/12] of New York voters, President Barack Obama leads Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 24 points (statistically identical to his 25 point margin of victory in 2008), Senator Gillibrand leads Republican nominee Wendy Long by 43 points, and Governor Cuomo has an astounding 70% approval rating. This powerful drag at the top of the ticket and the fact that national Republicans will not be investing in New York, caused Speaker John Boehner to admit that New York Republicans are “frankly pretty vulnerable.” Just this morning, The Hotline reported the primary results last night were “a nice boost in Chair Steve Israel’s home state.”
Recent independent polls have shown that Democrats lead in the congressional generic ballot – voters support a Democratic candidate for Congress over a Republican candidate.
· PEW Research Center poll: 47-43
· Bloomberg News National: 48-41
· Reuters/Ipsos poll: 47-44
· CNN: 48-45
Strong Democratic Challengers Take on Vulnerable Tea Party Incumbents
· NY-11 — Congressman Michael Grimm faces massive obstacles to re-election thanks to the ongoing investigation of his fundraising practices by the FBI. In addition to spending more on legal fees than he is raising, Congressman Grimm has cemented himself as one of the most corrupt members of the 112th Congress. Grimm faces Mark Murphy, a successful businessman with a history of helping small businesses secure critical investments so they can create jobs. Murphy is building a solid grassroots organization that will help him secure victory in this swing district.
· NY-18 — Congresswoman Nan Hayworth brings an ultra-conservative record to a moderate Hudson Valley district. Hayworth faces former Clinton aide Sean Patrick Maloney, who has momentum coming off an incredibly competitive primary. Maloney has outraised the incumbent for the past two reporting periods. Hayworth’s attempt to block disaster relief funds following Hurricane Irene, combined with her vote to drastically cut Medicare, make her one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.
· NY-19 — Congressman Chris Gibson saw his district change dramatically in redistricting, going from a heavy Republican advantage to being a true toss-up district. Gibson, a member of the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee, will have a tough time selling his vote to drastically cut Medicare in this moderate district. Challenger Julian Schreibman boasts a strong resume, having helped convict al Qaeda terrorists as a prosecutor in United States vs. Osama bin Laden. President Obama won this district with nearly 54 percent of the vote.
· NY-22 — Congressman Richard Hanna likes to talk like a moderate, but his votes for the Republican plan to end Medicare and help corporations ship American jobs overseas leave him very vulnerable in this swing district. Challenger Dan Lamb has a strong base in the Binghamton area, where he has worked for years in Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s office to help middle class families and small businesses succeed. Hanna’s anemic fundraising and indefensible record leave him looking at a tough race.
· NY-23 — Congressman Tom Reed faces energetic challenger Nate Shinagawa, a local legislator and health care administrator. Congressman Reed’s lock-step voting record and anti-middle class agenda clash with this Southern Tier district.
· NY-24 — Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, and she unabashedly ignores the moderate views of her district and instead is a poster-child of the extreme right. Her opponent Dan Maffei has demonstrated strong fundraising abilities and is building a strong grassroots operation across this central New York district. Maffei enjoys a deep well of support in this Democratic leaning district, which actually grew even more Democratic through redistricting. President Obama won this district with more than 57% percent of the vote and John Kerry won this district.
Democratic Incumbents Well Positioned to Win
· NY-01 – Representative Tim Bishop faces a severely flawed candidate in Randy Altschuler. Alschuler lost to Bishop in 2010, despite a huge Republican wave, due, in large part, to his record of making millions outsourcing American jobs overseas. Altschuler’s record of outsourcing will continue to plague his candidacy, and will lead to his second straight loss.
· NY-21 — Representative Bill Owens is also facing a repeat challenger in Matt Doheny, who failed to win in 2010 despite the strong Republican wave. Doheny has struggled in the early stages of the campaign, gaining national attention for photos showing him kissing a woman who’s not his fiancé while meeting with National Republicans in Washington, DC. Doheny also faces an uphill climb convincing North Country voters that his background of making millions by stripping down companies and laying off employees qualifies him to be a member of Congress.
· NY-25 — Representative Louise Slaughter is a well-liked and well-known fixture in the Rochester community. Her district voted for President Obama with nearly 60% in 2008, and is likely to see a similar result in 2012. Maggie Brooks is a seriously flawed challenger who oversaw a series of scandals while serving as County Executive and has left Monroe County $389 million in debt while raising service fees in some areas by 327%. Brooks has already aligned herself with the Republican Study Committee, the most right-wing fringe of the Republican Party. Her extreme views on key issues such as a woman’s right to choose will be a tough sell in this moderate-to-liberal district.
· NY-27 — Representative Kathy Hochul has carved out a reputation as an independent fighter for Western New York. She won an uphill special election just last year in what was already the most conservative district in the state. Her opponent, Chris Collins, was recently defeated in a re-election attempt for County Executive. Collins’ background is eerily similar to Mitt Romney’s, having made millions by buying companies and laying off the workers.
These incumbent Democrats are in a fundamentally stronger position than incumbent Republicans. These Democrats are our most electorally-savvy incumbents, buttressed by support from Independents and Republicans that allowed them to survive the tough 2010 election wave. The most recent Battleground poll by Democracy Corps surveyed the 28 most vulnerable Republican and 23 most vulnerable Democratic districts across the country. It found the most vulnerable Republicans are -2 (30–32 percent) in favorability while the most vulnerable Democrats are + 20 (43-23), meaning that threatened Democratic incumbents are in a much stronger position to win than are the vulnerable Republicans.
The bottom line: New York Republicans are on the run and Democratic incumbents are in strong position for November.