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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.

It could all be a wash.

For almost a year, New York Members, their staffs and national political leaders worried, lobbied and kvetched about the deadlocked Congressional redistricting process in the New York Legislature. It was for naught: A federal court, frustrated with the endless delay in the once-a-decade process of redrawing federal lines, stepped in and created its own map, now ensconced in law.

That map presents significant opportunities for both parties and is almost certain to lead to at least a few Members losing their seats. But, privately, New York Republicans and Democrats admit that the nonpartisan map means each party could win as many seats as it loses this cycle. Given the massive Republican gains in the state — the GOP picked up six seats in 2010 — a wash would significantly help the party hold the House majority.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, led by New York Rep. Steve Israel, has noted that there are no truly safe Republican seats anymore in the Empire State. That’s true, and in a wave election, Democrats could gain a bonanza of districts in a state that is fundamentally a Democratic stronghold. But a wave election favoring Democrats doesn’t appear likely this cycle. Also helping to counteract the Democratic nature of the state in competitive races: Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) has launched a super PAC dedicated to supporting the state’s Republicans running for the House.

If there’s a slight lean to the overall House outlook in New York, it’s probably in Democrats’ favor, with a possible net gain of one seat.

Shifts in national population mean New York lost two seats; eliminated in redistricting were the seats of retiring Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) and Rep. Bob Turner (R), who is running a quixotic Senate bid.

There are also a handful of primaries to watch — many of which have room to evolve before the late June election.

Regardless of how the larger national dynamics play out, there will be a lot of competitive races to watch in the Empire State, from Binghamton to the Big Apple.

1st district
Incumbent: Tim Bishop (D)
5th term (50 percent)
Rating: Leans Democratic

Encompassing the eastern end of Long Island, this is a true tossup district — voters are evenly split between those who vote for Republicans and those who vote for Democrats — but it’s not really a tossup race.

Bishop faces a rematch with likely GOP nominee Randy Altschuler, a businessman who lost by 593 votes in 2010.

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