Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (left) isnt facing a competitive race this cycle, but his job will be focusing on protecting vulnerable incumbents such as Rep. Tim Bishop.
Altschuler has some significant advantages in his second bid that he didn’t have last time: The party establishment is behind him, he has a stronger campaign team, he’ll be on the New York Independence Party’s ballot line, Republicans have a registration advantage in the district, he’s now a seasoned candidate, and he’s been working to emphasize his personal narrative to soften his image.
But all of that might not matter. The electorate that turns out in a presidential year is considerably more favorable to Bishop, who never really stopped campaigning after 2010.
“I am expecting a very tough race. I am not taking anything for granted,” he said earlier this year.
Altschuler will be hampered as much as helped by his business bona fides.
Democrats will attack him, as they did in 2010, for his former business OfficeTiger, which outsourced jobs to India. And Democrats note that if that line of attack was successful enough to beat him in a truly abysmal environment for the party, the 2012 climate doesn’t bode well for Altschuler’s chances.
Altschuler will tie Bishop to an unpopular Washington, D.C., establishment, but messaging won’t matter as much as turnout in the end.
Said one longtime New York Republican operative: “I think it’s going to be awful hard, in a presidential year, for a Republican to win it.”
2nd district Incumbent: Peter King (R) 10th term (72 percent) Rating: Safe Republican
Redistricting did King no favors, but that doesn’t mean he’s in any real danger this cycle. His current district voted for McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, while his newly configured one would have gone for Barack Obama. Still, he should significantly outperform presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in November.
3rd district Incumbent: Steve Israel (D) 6th term (56 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Israel, the DCCC chairman, saw his district grow a touch less Democratic in the redraw, but he’ll be fine.
4th district Incumbent: Carolyn McCarthy (D) 8th term (54 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
McCarthy’s district got a few points less Democratic under the new map, but she shouldn’t face much of a battle. Still, if the economy tanks and the mood of the country turns strongly against the president, this district could be worth watching, even if the Republican candidates here this cycle are not.
5th district Incumbent: Gregory Meeks (D) 7th full term (88 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Under the redraw, Meek retains 80 percent of his current constituents and should cruise to another term in the House.
6th district New seat Rating: Safe Democratic
This new Queens-based district has portions of retiring Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman’s current seat, along with about 46 percent of GOP Rep. Bob Turner’s constituents. Turner is running for Senate and couldn’t win in such a strong Democratic seat anyway.
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D) has the backing of the Queens Democratic party and EMILY’s List, but her shot at Congress is no sure thing. Her campaign has struggled to get a good early footing.
“So far, the miscues of the Meng campaign have been significant,” said a New York City Democratic insider unaffiliated with any campaign, noting issues of discipline and organization.