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New York - 27th District

Incumbent -- Brian Higgins (D) ; Running for re-election

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Tucked along the shores of Lake Erie in western New York, the 27th contains all of Erie County south of Buffalo and all but the northeastern corner of the city itself (which is in the 28th). Most of Buffalo's minority residents live in the 28th's portion of the city.

Nationwide economic downturns and a shrinking domestic auto market have hurt Buffalo's manufacturing base. The city's large blue-collar workforce used to rely on auto manufacturing, and shipping and cargo transportation were key to economic stability. Diversification into white-collar finance, insurance and real estate industries -- growth driven mostly by two banks, HSBC and M&T, which provide thousands of area jobs and remained stable during the international financial crisis -- bolstered the economy, but layoffs hit service and retail sectors. Health research facilities also are important in the Buffalo area.

Local leaders continue to see the waterfront as the core of Buffalo's renaissance effort. Development along the inner harbor is ongoing, and many officials believe the outer harbor presents a valuable opportunity to create both public space and commercial developments. The local professional sports teams, particularly football's Bills and hockey's Sabres, are a source of pride in the city.

The 27th follows the New York State Thruway southwest from Buffalo to take in all of Chautauqua County, which borders Lake Erie on the north and Pennsylvania on the south and west. This area is mainly made up of small communities that depend on agriculture and a robust grape-growing industry.

While some rural areas south of Buffalo in both Erie and Chautauqua counties can support Republicans, they cannot match the city's strong union ties: Barack Obama's 76 percent of the vote in Buffalo helped him win 54 percent of the 2008 presidential vote in the 27th.

Major Industry

Auto manufacturing, government, agriculture, tourism

Cities

Buffalo (pt.), 152,756; Cheektowaga (unincorporated), 75,178; West Seneca (unincorporated), 44,711; Jamestown, 31,146; Lackawanna, 18,141

Notable

Westfield, home to a Welch's plant, calls itself the "Grape Juice Capital of the World."

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