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.
It’s going to be a tough race for Buerkle, who has struggled with fundraising and organization and now has to hew a path to victory as a conservative in a district that would have voted only 42 percent for McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.
She faces a rematch with former Rep. Dan Maffei (D), a proven campaigner with significant name ID whom she unseated by a small margin in 2010.
Buerkle allies see Romney doing much better than McCain did in this reconfigured district and believe she has room to grow with proper messaging. They also point to the fact that she raised $238,000 in the first quarter, the most she’s ever raised in any quarter of her political career.
“Fundraising didn’t get off to a fast start, but that ship has been righted,” campaign manager David Ray said. “We’re going to be extremely competitive going forward.”
Health care will play in this race, with Republicans working to tie Maffei to an unpopular Washington for his vote in favor of the reform bill. Democrats will tie Buerkle to her votes for the Ryan plan and slam her for twice voting “to end Medicare.”
Maffei has the early edge in the race, even though a recent GOP poll showed Buerkle slightly ahead but at 42 percent. Empire State oddsmakers of both parties wouldn’t put any money on Buerkle.
25th district Incumbent: Louise Slaughter (D) 13th term (65 percent) Rating: Leans Democratic
Here’s a comfortable Democratic district with a well-liked incumbent, so why is it a race?
Only 38 percent of the 82-year-old’s current constituents are in the new district, and she faces a very serious Republican challenger in Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
Slaughter recently broke her leg, which Republicans note will highlight her age versus the younger Brooks.
Aides say Slaughter is definitely running, and national Democrats insist she’s ready for a real fight. “She’s still full of fire and going to be running a real campaign,” said one national Democrat familiar with the district.
But there are signs besides the obvious temporal ones — she was born in 1929 — that allude to why some Democrats believe that making this her last term might be a possibility she could consider.
“It’s a thing to run a modern Congressional [race] and some of these folks — even the younger of the more senior [New York] Members — have challenges being as nimble as it takes to run a modern campaign with the blogsophere and Twitter,” said one longtime Democratic observer of New York politics. “There’s a meta media game that happens every day that I think scares the bejesus of some of these senior Members.”
There’s a plenty-big opposition research book on Brooks; it’s a Democratic district and Slaughter is well-liked, so the Congresswoman has the edge right now. But watch for how this race evolves and how able Slaughter is to run a full-fledged campaign.
26th district Incumbent: Brian Higgins (D) 4th term (61 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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