Freshman Rep. Robert Dold (R) stresses his independence from his party on some issues, and that makes him an incumbent to watch. His race could provide a snapshot of how voters are feeling this election cycle.
Hochul was an upset winner in a 2011 special election, and her attacks on her GOP opponent over Medicare were a big reason. But she was hurt by redistricting (which moved the district to the east), and while the Republican nominee, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, has plenty of detractors, even within his own party, McCain carried the district by almost 10 points.
If Medicare gets traction for Democrats again this year, the personable and hardworking Hochul has a good chance to survive. But if the issue has lost some of its bite and the Congresswoman's personal appeal isn't enough to overcome the district's partisanship, Hochul could find herself on the wrong side of the results.
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.