Tuesday’s congressional primaries in New York settled the fields in some of this year’s most competitive general election races.
Democrats have six potential pickup opportunities in New York this fall, and to make a dent in their 30-seat deficit in the House, the party needs to win most of them .
Democrats are optimistic that having former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton on the top of the ticket will buoy their recruits in swing districts, while Donald Trump will be a drag on Republican nominees.
The Syracuse-based 24th District, a tossup seat that President Barack Obama won by double digits in 2012, is one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities.
Colleen Deacon, a former staffer for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, won a three-way primary here Tuesday night. Backed by national Democrats and EMILY's List, she defeated Eric Kingson, who was supported by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Deacon will face freshman GOP Rep. John Katko in the fall. A Sanders-backed candidate won in an open seat in the Hudson Valley. Progressive Democrat Zephyr Teachout will face off against Republican John Faso in the 19th District. Moderate Republican Chris Gibson is retiring , giving Democrats an opening in a seat Obama won twice.
Both Teachout and Faso led by at least 30 points in polling ahead of their respective primaries. Having challenged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a 2014 gubernatorial primary, Teachout came into the Democratic contest in the 19th District with more money and name recognition than her primary opponent, Will Yandik.
In addition to Sanders' support, she had the backing of both New York senators. Teachout's win was EMILY's List's second victory of the night in New York.
In the 22nd District, GOP Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate, is retiring, leaving behind an open seat in a tossup district Mitt Romney barely carried in 2012. The tea party-backed candidate who tried to defeat Hanna in a primary two years ago won Tuesday night’s three-way Republican contest.
Claudia Tenney led Hanna’s chosen successor, Steve Wells, 41 to 34 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Tenney will face Democrat Kim Myers, the daughter of the Dick’s Sporting Goods founder, in the fall.
Democrats are excited about taking on Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, who's embraced Donald Trump and suggested that President Obama is racist. But it's not yet clear who the Democratic nominee will be in this Tilts Republican district.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, ex-Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst led venture capitalist David Calone by 29 votes. The Associated Press had not called the race by early Monday morning.
Throne-Holst outspent Calone and had the backing of Gillibrand. EMILY's List spent more here than in any other House race this cycle.
Elsewhere on Long Island, Republicans have one Empire State offensive opportunity.
Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the 3rd District, is retiring, leaving behind a Tilts Democratic seat. Democrat Tom Suozzi defeated Israel's candidate, Steve Stern, 36 percent to 22 percent. Anna Kaplan, EMILY's List's candidate, came in fourth with 15 percent of the vote.