The Future of New York's Congressional Delegation
13th District: Steve Harrison didn't have anything near the money or anything resembling the name recognition of entrenched incumbent Vito Fossella, a popular Republican in a conservative Catholic area of Brooklyn and Staten Island. But he had the issue: Iraq and Fossella's adamant support of President Bush. Fossella compared Harrison to Osama and accused him of taking money from terrorists, but Harrison hung tough. Still, it looks like Fossella will squeak by.
19th District: John Hall started out in this race as a long-shot musician-activist-politician. But tomorrow the seventies hit maker and environmentally conscious resident of the Hudson region will pull the unthinkable and knock off popular Republican Sue Kelly. Hall ran a smart campaign and successfully tied the "moderate" Kelly to George Bush, Iraq, and the Mark Foley scandal (Kelly oversaw the congressional page program during a portion of the Foley rampage). Kelly refused to debate Hall on local TV, and Hall was even cool and composed enough to make an appearance on The Colbert Report work in his favor.
20th District: It's been ugly, real ugly. In a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a wide margin, Representative John Sweeney has spectacularly self-destructed. From attending a frat party at taxpayer expense to skiing with lobbyists, he was a poster boy for the cliché of the corrupt do-nothing Republican congressman. Opponent Kirsten Gillibrand's experience has been questioned, and she ran some tongue-in-cheek ads mocking Sweeney that didn't entirely hit home. But she's surging now, and with reports in the papers last week that Sweeney abused his wife, the climate for an upset is ideal. Gillibrand in a true nail-biter.
24th District: In the region surrounding glorious Utica, Democratic prosecutor Mike Arcuri and Republican State Senator Ray Meier battle for the open seat. National parties have stepped in to spend nearly $3 million on the race, which has gotten nasty. The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Arcuri of calling a phone-sex line in 1994 and charging it to Oneida County residents. A mailer sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Meier was "spending like a drunken sailor" as a state lawmaker. It's very close, but the anti-Republican tide and the state Democratic ticket carries Arcuri over the top.
26th District: Out in Western New York, RNCC head Tom Reynolds easily beat billionaire "Goldwater Democrat" Jack Davis in 2004, 56-44. This year his role in covering up the Foley scandal, which he handled abysmally, put him into a fifteen-point hole. But a helping hand from the White House, his role as point man in the relief effort following a freak blizzard, and Davis's lackluster campaign have conflated to keep Reynolds in the hunt. He'll pull it out.
29th District: Up Rochester way in a highly agricultural, traditionally Republican district, Navy vet Eric Massa has been giving one-term GOP incumbent Randy Kuhl a run for his money. His issues are Iraq and the lagging upstate economy. Kuhl is a moderate on most issues (immigration is an exception), and Massa is a centrist as well. What should've been a walk will be a run, but Kuhl will hold on.