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.
The new map was extremely good to Higgins. His district went from being slightly competitive by the numbers to being staunchly Democratic. He can comfortably begin planning for his next term in Congress.
27th district Incumbent: Kathy Hochul (D) 1st term (47 percent) Rating: Tossup
In the most Republican district in New York, Hochul really should be toast. Her upset special election victory last year always appeared to be something of a fluke, and she was drawn into a district that would have voted only 44 percent for Obama in 2008.
But Hochul remains quite well-liked in the district, and Republicans managed to fumble recruiting.
The candidates in the race are former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who hasn’t filed official federal paperwork yet, and Army veteran David Bellavia, who raised an embarrassing $11,000 in the first quarter.
“If it’s Collins, leave it to the Dems,” a longtime New York Republican operative admitted unhappily. “The thing with Collins is he’s pissed off a lot of people up there.”
Indeed he’s somehow managed to cross a lot of influential Republicans in the district, but he still has a massive edge in the primary because he’s expected to have significantly more money and starts with a base of name identification from his time as an Erie County elected official. Collins lost his re-election bid in 2011.
“Collins has the edge on money, but Bellavia has the edge on local support,” one upstate New York GOP consultant explained. As for the general, the consultant was not particularly bullish: “Hochul is pretty noncontroversial and well-liked.”
And in a Republican district, she’ll be able to claim at least some independence. According to a 2011 Congressional Quarterly vote study, she voted with Democrats only 81 percent of the time in votes where a majority of Democrats voted against a majority for Republicans.
By the numbers, this district should lean Republican, but Hochul’s likability and the potential GOP contenders make this a tossup race for now.
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