New York Is Now a Battleground State — in Fight for the House, at Least

By
You should be this excited about voting for your representative this fall.
Photo: David S. Holloway/2008 Getty Images

New Yorkers are accustomed to their votes not counting for much in presidential elections thanks to America's attachment to the electoral college. However, Politico has some exciting news. This year we'll have the opportunity to be bombarded with political ads and have our votes potentially determine the direction the nation will follow, just like swing-state voters. The only catch is that we'll have to force ourselves to get invested in the battle over a handful of potentially influential House seats.

In November, eight seats will be in play in the state, and the outcome of those races could help determine whether or not Democrats take back the House. The left is hoping to pick up 25 House seats across the nation and needs 218 seats to recapture the majority. Though New York is usually rather blue, four Democrats are considered vulnerable: Representatives Kathy Hochul, Bill Owens, Tim Bishop, and Louise Slaughter. Meanwhile, Democrats are hoping to take down four Republicans who first made it to the House as part of the GOP's 2010 midterm win: Representatives Nan Hayworth, Ann Marie Buerkle, Chris Gibson, and Michael Grimm.

New York Representative Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Politico:

New York is pivotal to taking the majority and protecting Medicare and the middle class ... As a result of redistricting, there’s no longer any such thing as a safe Republican in New York.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Nat Sillin shot back, "There’s a greater chance that Scientology wasn’t the cause of TomKat’s divorce than there is of Steve Israel’s New York fantasy coming true." (So maybe the Democrats have a shot at this? We still aren't convinced that Tom's penchant for blaring music at 7 a.m. and dancing around the house in his underwear didn't play a role in their split.)

The turnout for New York's primaries last month was disappointingly low (despite featuring several scandal-prone, dictator-praising candidates); however, elections held on a beautiful summer day, four months earlier than usual, probably aren't a good indicator of how New Yorkers will behave in November. Democrats hope that redistricting and the draw of a presidential election will work to their advantage in the fall. On the other hand, Governor Andrew Cuomo's presence in the 2010 election didn't prevent Democrats from losing House seats.

The one thing that's certain is that both parties will be pouring more money into New York in the coming months, not to mention a slew of outside groups. For most New Yorkers that will probably amount to lots of robocalls and irritating TV ads, but it's still nice to get some attention in this election, even if we weren't invited to Obama's glitzy NYC fund-raiser and Romney still doesn't think our town counts all that much.