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New York Freshmen Most Vulnerable

Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (left) isn’t facing a competitive race this cycle, but his job will be focusing on protecting vulnerable incumbents such as Rep. Tim Bishop.

Meng faces a very serious primary challenger in ambitious Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who is not particularly well-liked in Democratic circles. Also in the race is New York City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. She’s a cousin of Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.); though, as head of the Queens Democratic Party, he supports Meng.

Meng has the support of the local political machine, but it’s possible her plans might be upset along the way by Lancman.

New York City Councilman Dan Halloran is the presumptive Republican nominee, but right now he doesn’t have a shot at coming to Congress.

7th district
Incumbent: Nydia Velázquez (D)
10th term (94 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Velázquez was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress and has retained the strong support of her constituents since she took office in 1993. About 30 percent of the people in her redrawn district are new to her, and she faces a primary from New York City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan. He has the backing of Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez, but Velázquez still has the edge. The Congresswoman has the endorsements of many major elected officials in the district. She’s “in a very strong position,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D), a Velázquez supporter whose district overlaps with hers.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability, an outside group dedicated to unseating incumbents, may play in this race against Velázquez, though it is more likely to get involved against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D).

8th district
Open seat: Edolphus Towns (D) is retiring.
Rating: Safe Democratic

After Towns’ announcement earlier this month that he wouldn’t seek another term representing this Brooklyn-based seat, state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, already in a tough primary with Towns, became the likely nominee for this very safe Democratic seat. He faces New York City Councilman Charles Barron in a head-to-head primary that will determine who comes to Congress.

“Jeffries has been making the rounds for a good year, and he’s definitely the frontrunner there,” said one state Democratic Party insider, echoing the views of top Democrats across the state. Still, those most familiar with New York City politics cautioned that Barron, a former member of the Black Panther Party and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, has a true base of support and that in a low-turnout primary, he might have a shot.

Jeffries is seen as a rising star of New York progressive politics who would work to effect real change in Congress should he win the nomination fight.

Jeffries picked up the endorsement of’s political action committee Tuesday, a boon to his progressive credentials.

9th district
Incumbent: Yvette Clarke (D)
3rd term (91 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Clarke, who represents an eclectic assortment of neighborhoods in the heart of Brooklyn, should easily waltz to a fourth term in this Democratic stronghold.

10th district
Incumbent: Jerrold Nadler (D)
10th full term (73 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic

The reconfigured district is still mostly Democratic Manhattan, and Nadler will win re-election here.

11th district
Incumbent: Michael Grimm (R)
1st term (51 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

This race could change in a New York minute.

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