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.
But for now, Grimm is an incumbent in a Republican-leaning district with $1.1 million in the bank and a Democratic opponent so weak that the first descriptor most party insiders use to describe him is a weighted sigh.
The mist of scandal has grown thicker around Grimm in recent months, and Democrats hope that all the innuendo and media accounts of malfeasance will eventually doom the former FBI agent’s re-election.
Nothing solid has materialized yet against the Congressman. Democrats’ top recruit, former Rep. Michael McMahon, took a pass on another try for the Staten Island-based seat, so the party is left with presumptive nominee Mark Murphy.
A former aide to the New York City public advocate and son of a former Congressman, Murphy raised only $156,000 in the first quarter. In an interview with Roll Call after he announced his campaign, Murphy ticked through national Democratic talking points but seemed unsure in what, exactly, he believed. He said he was going to campaign hard against a “say-no Congress.” But Murphy became flustered and had trouble coming up with an answer when asked what, in particular, he opposed that Congress had said no to.
If there is an indictment or a more solid case against Grimm, Democrats will probably be welcoming the new Congressman Murphy to the Hill in 2013. But for now, it’s very much Grimm’s race to lose.
12th district Incumbent: Carolyn Maloney (D) 10th term (75 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Maloney remains in a safe Manhattan-anchored district and will almost certainly be re-elected. She lost a chunk of constituents in the redraw, which she bemoaned. “No one likes to give up areas you’ve worked really hard with,” Maloney said in a recent interview, noting big projects she had been working on with her current district for years. “I have 100,000 new people, which I look forward to meeting.”
13th district Incumbent: Charlie Rangel (D) 21st term (80 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Rangel’s long tenure in this Harlem-anchored district means he has the edge in a multicandidate primary. But he still faces a serious primary challenge from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, a Dominican-American. Rangel’s current district is 46 percent Hispanic. That number jumps to more than 55 percent under the new lines, meaning demographics could play a big role in the primary. The Campaign for Primary Accountability is seriously looking at getting involved against Rangel, a spokesman for the group said. Rangel has insisted he is running for re-election.
But if the outside group spends big money against the ethically tainted Member, Espaillat, who already has a proven base of support in the district, could get a real boost and, perhaps, give Rangel an incentive to make this term his last.
14th district Incumbent: Joe Crowley (D) 7th term (81 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Crowley is the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party and holds considerable sway over a big swath of New York City politics. He’ll easily win another term in Congress.
15th district Incumbent: José Serrano (D) 11th full term (96 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Serrano is as safe as can be in his reconfigured South Bronx district and will likely be the Congressman for the district as long as he desires.
16th district Incumbent: Eliot Engel (D) 12th term (73 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.