Image 01 Image 03

Update on Upstate NY Operation Counterweight races

Update on Upstate NY Operation Counterweight races

This is an update on the Upstate New York races covered last month as part of Operation Counterweight, and as before was prepared by a Cornell undergraduate student who prefers to remain anonymous.

Included at the bottom of each race update are the newest Cook Report ratings and PVI. Of the eight races covered, two are listed as “Leans Democratic”, one is a “Democratic Toss Up”, two are “Republican Toss Up”, and two are “Likely Republican”. Right now, it seems that the worst outcome for Republicans Upstate would be breaking even, but the results may possibly swing as high as 3 Republican pickups on election day.

Given the stakes, Speaker Boehner recently ventured Upstate in support of Buerkle (24th), Doheny (21st), and Brooks (25th) as they face tight races.

The key races for Operation Counterweight are Chris Gibson (NY-19), Matt Doheny (NY-21), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-24), Maggie Brooks (NY-25), and Chris Collins (NY-27).  Please consider a donation at the links below.  Even small amounts can make a difference in these Upstate races.

NY-18: Freshman Nan Hayworth (R) vs. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), former aide to Spitzer and Clinton

This race is definitely one to watch this fall. Despite Maloney’s baggage as both a former Spitzer staffer and a candidate who does not live in the district (unless you count second homes), Hayworth went everything but negative in her first television spot, “Roots.”

Maloney’s campaign manager, Tony Persico, recently claimed that Hayworth had “spent her time in Washington fighting for Big Oil and the Insurance industry.”

Escalating this line of rhetoric, Friends of Democracy PAC, Jonathan Soros’ anti-Super PAC Super PAC, recently spent $7,500 for a mailing on Maloney’s behalf, criticizing Hayworth’s fundraising from outside the district. Michael Knowles, the Hayworth’s campaign’s new spokesman, noted the irony: “their candidate continues to live 60 miles from our district’s border and raised a whopping five contributions from local voters during the second quarter.”

Hayworth holds a sizeable advantage in fundraising, hauling in $2.2 million through June 30 to Maloney’s $675,771. A recently released partisan poll from House Majority PAC and the Service Employees International Union showed a 48-45 edge for Hayworth, but within the margin of error. It doesn’t take a partisan poll to show that this race could be tight.

Newest Cook Rating: “Republican Toss Up; R+2”

You can contribute to Hayworth here.

NY-19: Freshman Chris Gibson (R) vs. Julian Schreibman (D), a former Ulster County Democratic Chairman

The Congressional races in NY-18 and NY-19 are fairly similar, with freshman Republicans facing increasingly blue districts. So far, Gibson has done an effective job courting farmers in the district. It’s worth noting, though, that Gibson has taken pause about Governor Cuomo’s fracking proposal.

Currently, Gibson seems to be in a slightly better spot than Hayworth. This advantage is captured by internal polling from both parties: one showing him ahead by 17 points and another showing him ahead by 10 points.

Like in NY-18, the Republican incumbent holds a sizeable fundraising advantage, with Gibson holding $1.2 million on hand to Schreibman’s $331,704.

Newest Cook Rating: “Republican Toss Up; D+1”.

You can contribute to Gibson here.

NY-21: Incumbent Bill Owens (D) vs. businessman Matt Doheny (R)

Owens not only was one of 19 Congressional Democrats who voted for temporarily extending the Bush Tax Cuts, he also voted in favor of the Democrat amended version to let tax cuts expire for earners over $1 million

Owens’ vote in favor of the Bush Tax Cuts is an  reflection of the unique political pressures of Upstate New York, which continues to have no small number of family farms and small businesses likely to be hit hard by raising the estate tax. Owens, like Gibson and Hayworth, is walking a tightrope with local constituencies whose views diverge from typical party lines.

Doheny trails Owens in cash on hand with $520,603 to Owens’ $893,521.

Meanwhile, an internal poll released by the DCCC suggests that Doheny trails Owens by about 12 points. Partisan polling aside, Owens seems to be the slight favorite at this stage.

Newest Cook Rating: “Leans Democratic; R+1”.

You can contribute to Doheney here.

NY-22: Freshman Richard Hanna (R) vs. Dan Lamb (D), District Representative of retiring Congressman Maurice Hinchey (NY-22).

This continues to be one of the safer races in Upstate New York. Nonetheless, Hanna’s recent comments about the state of the Republican party have made the race interesting. Although somewhat taken out of context, Hanna claimed that: “We [House Republicans] render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides…”, in response to Michele Bachmann’s recent claims about Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood.

A continuing issue in a number of Upstate New York races is FEMA funding in light of recent natural disasters. On this issue, Hanna has stated a desire for more funding upstate, but still has taken flak from Lamb.

Like most other incumbents, Hanna remains quite ahead of Lamb in cash on hand, with $407,118 to Lamb’s $120,657.

Newest Cook Rating: “Likely Republican; R+3”.

You can contribute to Hanna here.

NY-23: Freshman Tom Reed (R) vs. Nate Shinagawa (D), Vice Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature

At the moment, Reed’s seat seems to be very secure relative to races elsewhere Upstate. The breaking up of Maurice Hinchey’s district during redistricting stuck wildly left-leaning Ithaca back within more right-leaning regions of Upstate. Shinagawa’s platform seems to be a bit left of the district.

In any case, fracking remains a contentious issue in many parts of Upstate New York and given Governor Cuomo’s recently released plan, the Reed-Shinagawa race is bound to feature domestic energy issues.

Unsurprisingly, the New York State AFL-CIO recently released its endorsement of Shinagawa, who is running as a Democrat as well as the Working Families Party Line.

Reed had a nearly eight to one advantage in cash on hand as of the last report.

Newest Cook Rating: “Likely Republican; R+3”.

You can contribute to Reed here.

NY-24: Freshman incumbent Ann-Marie Buerkle (R) vs. Dan Maffei (D), the former Congressman narrowly unseated by Buerkle in 2010

Ann-Marie Buerkle is expected to be very threatened during this cycle. She narrowly won in 2010, but her district has become more Democrat-friendly. As mentioned earlier, Boehner recently visited the region to lend support to Buerkle, as did Allen West. Buerkle recently picked up the endorsement of the Onondaga County Veterans Party.

In line with Democrats’ national rhetoric, Maffei has blasted Buerkle’s support for extending the Bush Tax Cuts.

Despite her incumbency, Buerkle trails Maffei in fundraising, with $765,105 to Maffei’s $880,267. Given her vulnerability, Buerkle is one of the DCCC’s top targets for 2012.

Newest Cook Rating: “Lean Democratic; D+4”.

You can contribute to Buerkle here.

NY-25: 14-term Incumbent Louise Slaughter (D) vs. Maggie Brooks (R), the County Executive of Monroe County

Like Buerkle, Maggie Brooks recently received a visit from Boehner. Given recent pictures of Slaughter standing at podiums and Slaughter seems to have recovered from a broken leg which slowed down some aspects of her campaigning for quite a while.

Unsurprisingly, the DCCC has nationally targeted Brooks, naming her the “Corrupt Republican of the Month.” It isn’t yet clear where this race is going, but it has some ingredients of an upset.

Brooks has been a strong fundraiser so far, but still trailed Slaughter as of June 30th. Brooks had $672,134 on hand to Slaughter’s $963,912.

Newest Cook Rating: “Lean Democratic; D+5”.

You can contribute to Brooks here.

NY-27: Freshman Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D) vs. Chris Collins (R), former Erie County Executive

This should be an excellent opportunity for Republicans to pick up a seat in 2012. As the New York Times noted in May, Hochul’s new district “has thrown the 53-year-old freshman into the most Conservative district in the state.”

Collins was recently named as a “Young Gun” by the NRCC. So far, Collins’s main strategy has been to associate Hochul with President Obama, whose positions are much at odds with the 27th district.

Hochul was far, far ahead of Collins in fundraising, as of June 30th.

Newest Cook Rating: “Democratic Toss Up; R+7.

You can contribute to Collins here.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Dear Sarah,

Get thee to New York.