Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

New York Offers Landscape-Shifting Potential

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Democrats are optimistic that they can net several seats in New York in November. But to do that they have to beat Republicans such as Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle and Chris Gibson and make sure vulnerable Democrats such as Reps. Kathy Hochul (above) and Bill Owens return.

If you believe the spin, Democrats and Republicans are both thrilled with their prospects for House gains in the Congressional battleground of New York.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, who calls New York home and has much at stake there this fall, crowed about Tuesday’s primary results in a statement.  “New York Republicans are in trouble,” Israel said while predicting that a political reversal from last cycle could be on tap.

“Democrats have the opportunity to make big gains across the state,” the DCCC wrote in a memo Wednesday. “New York Republicans are on the run and Democratic incumbents are in strong position for November.”

But Republicans, who won six Empire State seats in November 2010, did their own form of gloating in a Wednesday conference call with reporters, knocking Democratic recruiting in the state and talking up their potential to build on pickups from 2010.

“We have an opportunity to expand the playing field in New York,” National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison said. “You look at the offensive opportunities we have, we’ve got another five opportunities there.”

The truth is a bit more nuanced than either party would have you believe.

The GOP doesn’t have five serious pickup opportunities in New York — and Democrats appear unlikely to make big gains.

In fact, the reality on the ground is not particularly good for House Democrats. As the map currently stands, there are a number of competitive races for both parties, leading to the very real possibility that a win by one side could offset a win by the other. Democrats could lose as many New York seats as they gain, which would be a particularly troubling development for Israel if the road to the majority goes through New York, as the DCCC chairman often declares. Democrats need a net gain of 25 House seats to take the Speaker’s gavel.

Former NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) said that is unlikely. “The Democrats need to win several in New York in order to have a gateway to get to a majority,” he said. “I don’t think ... that they are going to make the inroads that they had hoped for in New York.”

That’s because the Congressional map is not the one a lot of New York Members wanted, nor is it a map that sets Democrats up for as many gains as they might have been positioned for had Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the Democratic-controlled Assembly pushed through a Democratic gerrymander of Congressional lines.

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