Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/161 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 08:40:08 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) New York Congressional Primaries to Watch Ahead of June 26 Vote http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7728:new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7728:new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote trump dan donovan

Rep. Dan Donovan with President Trump (photo: @DanDonovanSI)


New Yorkers will head to the polls on Tuesday, June 26 to vote in Democratic and Republican congressional primary elections, determining which candidates will appear on the parties’ ballots in November’s general election. Not every one of New York’s 27 congressional districts is home to one or two primaries, but some districts are in the midst of competitive primary campaigns.

In New York City, where just one seat in the House of Representatives delegation is held by a Republican, there are several hotly-contested primaries, though only one race is expected to be competitive in the general election. The lone GOP-held seat is also the one where a tough general election is expected -- there is currently an intense primary on each side of the aisle in the 11th Congressional District, which includes Staten Island and a sliver of Southern Brooklyn and is represented by incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan.

A small handful of Democratic incumbents representing parts of the city are facing spirited primary challenges, largely from the left, though incumbents, as is almost always the case, are favored. Without public polling, it is often difficult to tell if challengers are breaking through at all, or how voters feel about their incumbent representative.

Candidates are campaigning feverishly leading up to the primary, which is expected to see fairly low turnout, though it may see a boost relative to past years due to the competitive nature of some races and the larger atmosphere surrounding “the resistance” to President Donald Trump.

While NY-11 will factor into the discussion for the general election, other congressional seats outside New York City will form the vast majority of those seen as the state’s swing districts, where either a Democrat or a Republican could win and influence which party controls the House in January.

While every one of the country’s 435 House seats are on the ballot this year, as they are every other year, there are some U.S. Senate seats up for election this year as well -- Senators serve six-year terms and states stagger the elections of their two Senate seats. This year, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is seeking another term and is being challenged by Republican Chele Farley in the general election.

In order to vote in the upcoming federal primaries, New Yorkers have to already be registered to vote and with the party holding a primary in their district. A closer look at the congressional primaries to watch leading up to June 26:

District 9
In Central Brooklyn’s District 9, 12-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke faces her first primary challenge in six years. Adem Bunkeddeko, 29, was, until recently, an associate director at Brooklyn Community Services and, for five years, a member of Brooklyn Community Board 8, which includes Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Weeksville.

He says he is running because “the political culture is so static” in the nation’s largest and most diverse city. Bunkeddeko’s platform includes the expansion of charter schools, legalization of marijuana, and an aggressive housing plan that, he says, would open paths to homeownership for families making between $30,000 and $80,000 a year.

Bunkeddeko has raised more than $200,000 in his bid for the Democratic nomination as of March 31. Clarke, meanwhile, has raised at least $600,000 in her bid for re-election. Almost 60% of Clarke’s campaign contributions have come from political action committees; Bunkeddeko has reported zero donations from PACs.

Clarke’s campaign highlights her introduction of legislation granting new legal rights to homeowners facing foreclosure, work on the Affordable Care Act, and support for universal firearm background checks. She also is a signatory to the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Clarke has not stated her positions on other marquee Democratic issues like  legalization of marijuana and the abolition of ICE, though she has introduced legislation that would equip ICE agents with body cameras.

“Our community is under siege and has been for quite some time,” Bunkeddeko wrote on his website, with reference to the Trump administration. “More and more of our neighbors are finding inequality and injustice in Central Brooklyn (NY-9), and good folks are being pushed out in droves.”

District 11
In New York City’s only Republican-represented congressional district, Rep. Dan Donovan is facing a primary challenge from his predecessor, former Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned the office three-and-a-half years ago just after winning reelection while under federal indictment. Grimm pleaded guilty to tax evasion and served time in federal prison. He now wants his old job back and is challenging Donovan in a Republican-heavy district where, unlike in most of the rest of the city, allegiance to President Donald Trump is seen as essential -- at least in the primary.

Grimm represented the mostly-Staten Island district from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, he was charged with 20 counts of fraud, federal tax evasion and perjury. He resigned in January of 2015, and served eight months in federal prison.

Grimm recently gathered over 3,000 signatures from those in the district, easily surpassing the 1,250 required to appear on the primary ballot, and, while Donovan has raised over three times as much money as Grimm, a recent NY1/Siena poll shows Grimm with a ten-point lead over the incumbent.

Differences between the candidates have been largely non-ideological — Grimm’s campaign website does not even offer a list of his positions, and Donovan’s stakes out his stances on widely-agreeable issues like Staten Islanders’ commutes (shorten them), taxes (cut them), and homeland security (protect it).

As representatives, Donovan introduced legislation this year to target federal funding for sanctuary cities, and Grimm, in 2013, urged the Department of Homeland Security to stop releasing low-risk undocumented immigrants from detention camps.

In 2012, the two worked together — Donovan as Staten Island District Attorney, Grimm as Congressional representative — on legislation to fight prescription drug abuse.

Both candidates have made a show of their support for Trump in the only New York City district he carried. While Grimm has attacked Donovan as a moderate who voted against the Trump tax reform package, Donovan has pointed to Grimm’s moderate record when he represented the district. Donovan introduced a bill that would mandate every post office display photos of the president and vice president.

Trump recently endorsed Donovan, tweeting that “There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again.”

“Dan has my full endorsement!” he concluded. Donovan was quick to boast about the endorsement, while Grimm downplayed it.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of a competitive Democratic primary in NY-11, which includes six Democrats. That pack is led by fundraising leader and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee endorsee Max Rose, a veteran who has raised more money as of the March 31 filing date than all of his Democratic competitors combined. Michael DeVito is also running an especially active campaign, while other Democrats include Omar Vaid, Zach Emig, Paul Sperling, and Radhakrishna Mohan.

NY-11 is on the Democratic Party’s “Red to Blue” shortlist of currently-Republican congressional districts that realistically may elect a Democrat in November.

District 12
Meanwhile, in District 12, covering much of Manhattan’s East Side and parts of Brooklyn and Queens, 34-year-old Suraj Patel, an entrepreneur and business ethics professor at New York University, is attempting to unseat 25-year incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

Patel has raised slightly over $1 million for his bid, nearly matching Maloney’s $1.4 million war chest -- a rare development for a primary challenger to an incumbent. Maloney retained the money advantage, at least as of the March 31 filing, and has significant establishment support for her reelection.

Patel was born in Mississippi to Indian immigrant parents, and has worked in various capacities in Barack Obama’s orbit, including as a volunteer on his 2008 presidential campaign.

“Our republic is broken,” Patel wrote on his website. “Big money has corrupted the system, there are too many obstacles to voting, and undemocratic policies like partisan gerrymandering have made our House of Representatives unrepresentative of the American people.”

The upstart and insurgent candidate challenging a well-established party representative is something Maloney has seen before. She last faced a serious primary challenge in 2010, when lawyer Reshma Saujani raised upwards of $1.3 million in a bid to unseat the incumbent. Nevertheless, Maloney prevailed with 81% of the vote.

Saujani endorsed Maloney in early March, according to the New York Post, as have several advocacy groups and unions, including 32BJ SEIU, the largest union of property service workers in America.

She is running on her consumer protection bona fides, experience “on the front lines in the fight for women’s rights,” and legislative work for paid parental leave, among other positions.

Maloney and Patel will debate on Tuesday, June 12 on NY1 television.

District 14
In District 14, covering northwest Queens and the eastern Bronx, 28-year-old organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is offering 56-year-old Rep. Joe Crowley his first contested primary in his 14 years in office.

Crowley has significant establishment ties: as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, he’s the fourth highest ranking official in the House Democratic leadership and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Crowley runs the Queens County Democratic Party, with great influence over local elections, the courts, and government in Queens and beyond.

Crowley touts his support for equal pay legislation, co-sponsorship of legislation mandating universal firearm background checks, and authorship of an act providing tax relief for poor renters.

Ocasio-Cortez is challenging Crowley from his left as part of the slate of the Justice Democrats, a political action committee that supports progressive candidates who pledge to not accept corporate donations. She’s staked out her support for a federal jobs guarantee, the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and tuition-free public college.

Both candidates tout their immigrant roots — Crowley’s family is Irish, Ocasio-Cortez’s is Puerto Rican — and their support for Medicare-for-All.

The fundraising gap between the two candidates is significant — with $2.78 million on hand compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s $116,000, Crowley’s outraised his opponent almost twenty-four times over.

“It's a major David-vs-Goliath tale for the soul of the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a blog post on Reddit. “We are going to have to choose whether we will continue down the path of corporate patronage or return to the Democratic spirit of our governance.”

The two Democrats will debate on NY1 television on Friday June 15.

Races Outside New York City: Districts 1, 19, 22, and 24
The Cook Political Report carefully designates “competitive” House races and lists a few New York races outside the five boroughs.

In Long Island’s 1st District, five Democrats are running for their party’s nomination. Perry Gershon, a former businessman who says he was inspired by Trump’s election to “set out to personally fight for change,” has raised more money than all his competitors combined. The winner of the contested primary will face off against two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin, who co-sponsored a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Voters in the 19th District, which comprises of much of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, will choose from seven Democrats competing for a chance to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso in the general election.

The district backed Barack Obama in 2012 but favored Donald Trump in 2016, and its past three representatives have been Republican. Most recently, Faso defeated Democrat Zephyr Teachout in 2016.

The Democratic candidates debated each other this past Thursday on WAMC, a public radio network headquartered in Albany, for nearly two hours, regarding topics ranging from the environment to health care.

In District 22, another vital district that the national Democratic Party is prioritizing, Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi is challenging Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in what looks to be a tight race.

In District 24, which includes a chunk of central New York, Democrats Dana Balter and Juanita Perez Williams are competing for the chance to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in the general.

Districts 22 and 24 are also on the Democratic Party’s “Red to Blue” list.

National
The Democratic Party is hoping to gain control of the House of Representatives through November’s general elections. Currently, the House is composed of 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats with seven vacancies. Democrats see several recent elections results, in New York and elsewhere, as encouraging in their efforts to flip the House this year, including through a few New York wins.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at a rally last year with House Minority Leader Pelosi, of California, and other Democratic leaders to announce a movement to flip six New York House seats from red to blue. Cuomo vowed to unseat New York Representatives Lee Zeldin (CD1), John Faso (CD19), Elise Stefanik (CD21), Claudia Tenney (CD22), and Tom Reed (CD23), and Chris Collins (CD27). The districts represented by Reps. Stefanik, Reed, and Collins are generally regarded as safely Republican.

You can find your local polling station here.

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by Jordan Kimmel and Daniel Yadin

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by Jordan Kimmel, Gotham Gazette
@GothamGazette

Read more by this writer.

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New York Congressional Primaries to Watch Ahead of June 26 Vote Mon, 11 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
2018 Will Be a Busy, Contentious Election Year in New York http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7434:2018-will-be-a-busy-contentious-election-year-in-new-york http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7434:2018-will-be-a-busy-contentious-election-year-in-new-york election polling place Brooklyn

a polling place (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


This year will be another busy, contentious election year for New Yorkers. While 2017 saw the majority of elections confined to local government, 2018 will see three election days and races for state-level offices, including five of six statewide positions and all of the state Legislature, as well as all of the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives.

A fourth election day will occur in some districts after Governor Andrew Cuomo called special elections to fill 11 vacant state Senate and Assembly seats. That election day is Tuesday April 24. Cuomo could have called the special election weeks earlier, but waited to do so, leaving those 11 districts with less than full representation throughout budget negotiations in Albany.

Aside from those special elections and depending on political party affiliation, New Yorkers will be able to vote in the federal primaries on Tuesday June 26; the state primaries in September (the date is likely being moved from Tuesday September 11 to Thursday September 13 because of Rosh Hashanah); and Election Day, Tuesday November 6. Only those registered with a party can vote in party primaries in New York, but the November general elections are open to all registered voters. So-called “independent” voters -- those registered to vote but not with a party -- cannot participate in party primaries, nor can those registered with parties wherein primaries are not being decided.

In 2016 there was an unsuccessful push to combine the congressional and state primaries to a single date, which ensured four election days given it was a presidential year and that primary was in April. There is a good chance there will be a similar push this year to combine primary dates, but while Democrats have sought to move the state primaries to June, Republicans have suggested an August date, leaving the sides at an impasse.

Along with all the 27 New York House seats, which are elected every two years, one of New York’s two United State Senate seats, elected every six years, is on the ballot this year -- the one currently held by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. At the state government level, the four statewide posts of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller are all on the ballot in their four-year cycle, as well as the every-two-year elections of all 150 seats in the state Assembly and all 63 seats in the state Senate.

In New York, this year’s deadlines for candidates to file for federal office is April 12 and for state offices, July 12.

Another macro issue to watch ahead of this year’s elections is voting reform in New York. There is an ongoing push to see early voting passed, among other reforms like same-day registration and no-excuse absentee voting. While Cuomo, a Democrat, and the Democrat-controlled Assembly support such reforms, Republicans who control the state Senate do not.

[Read: 11 Special Elections Set for April 24]

2018 Federal Elections in New York
While Gillibrand is up for reelection this year, New York’s other U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer, won reelection in 2016 and won’t be on the ballot again until 2022. Gillibrand served in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009 before being appointed to the Senate in 2009, and winning a special election in 2010, to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant seat when she was appointed Secretary of State. Gillibrand went on to win the regularly-scheduled 2012 election for the seat as well and is now running for her second full term as a senator. She is rumored as a possible 2020 presidential candidate. It is unclear who Republicans will run against her this year in New York.

In the House, New York and national Democrats are eyeing several seats to help flip control of the chamber through the 2018 elections. As of January 2018, the House is composed of 238 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with 4 vacancies.

Given Republican President Donald Trump’s record unpopularity, which is especially acute in his home state of New York; recent Democratic electoral wins in New York and elsewhere; and historical trends whereby a new president’s party loses congressional seats in the midterm elections, many are expecting a Democratic wave in 2018, with the potential for flipping the House and possibly the Senate.

Democrats’ “red to blue” campaign across the country will include multiple New York districts while local party activists may target others. Governor Cuomo, himself seeking a third term this year, has promised a campaign to flip six New York House seats after their officeholders have supported legislation Cuomo deems detrimental to New York. Cuomo joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats at a June 2017 rally in Manhattan to kick off a campaign to unseat Reps. Lee Zeldin (CD1), Chris Collins (CD27), John Faso (CD19), Elise Stefanik (CD21), Claudia Tenney (CD22), and Tom Reed (CD23).

The national Democratic Party is currently prioritizing two of those New York Congressional Districts, the 11th and the 22nd. Rep. Donovan currently represents the 11th, which includes all of Staten Island and some of Brooklyn. Max Rose is seen as the Democrats’ best chance to unseat Donovan in November, though Donovan also must first survivie a primary challenge by former Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges. Rep. Tenney represents the 22nd, sitting just east of Syracuse and including Binghamton, Cortland, and Utica, and the Democratic Party is apparently behind Anthony Brindisi, a state Assembly member.

New York’s 19th Congressional District, currently represented by Faso, is expected to be a toss up. Faso won a hotly contested 2016 race against Democrat Zephyr Teachout. The Hudson Valley seat is likely to again be home to a great deal of political spending.

The 24th Congressional District may also be home to a strong challenge to a sitting Republican. Syracuse’s recently-former mayor Stephanie Miner, a Democrat, has hinted at potentially challenging current Rep. Katko. The Democratic Party’s “red to blue” campaign lists the district in its efforts as well but has not found a candidate to support yet.

In the other direction, in early February 2017 the National Republican Congressional Committee released it’s Democratic targets for the 2018 elections. The list contained references to two New York Democrats: Tom Suozzi, who represents Congressional District 3 in the north and western portion of Nassau County, Long Island and Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents the 18th Congressional District containing Poughkeepsie, Woodbury, and Newburgh.

Aside from the Grimm-Donovan primary, there may be a handful of other intraparty challenges to sitting representatives worth watching. Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens, for example, is being challenged from the left by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While Ocasio-Cortez faces very long odds, she may be able to at least make Crowley pay more attention to his home district than his larger ambitions and agenda.

State-Level Special Elections
11 Special Elections Set for April 24

2018 State-Level Elections in New York
As mentioned, 2018 is an election year for the four state-level statewide positions of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller. All four posts are held by Democrats expected to seek another term.

Governor Cuomo was first elected to the position in 2010 and won reelection in 2014. While Bob Duffy was Cuomo’s first-term Lieutenant Governor, he declined to run for reelection in 2014 and Cuomo chose Kathy Hochul as his running mate. She has said she is running again. Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor can run as a slate, but they are elected separately in party primaries, then together in the general election. Cuomo and Hochul may have to each survive Democratic primary challengers before they can rejoin as a ticket for the general election.

The Lieutenant Governor’s role is similar to the Vice President of the United States. The LG is President of the State Senate and acts as Governor in the Governor’s absence from the state, in the case of severe disability, death, impeachment, or resignation from office. Otherwise it is a largely ceremonial position often seen as a cheerleader for the governor and the administration’s policies. Hochul often represents the Cuomo administration at events across the state, and has taken the lead on certain issues, such as co-chairing a recent task force put together by Cuomo on women’s opportunity.

It is unclear who Republicans will nominate for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, but GOP leadership has indicated it wants to avoid a primary. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has launched a gubernatorial campaign on the Republican side. Meanwhile, several minor parties will also put forward candidates. Democratic challengers to Cuomo and Hochul have begun to emerge, with former State Senator Terry Gibson aggressively testing the gubernatorial waters and New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams opening an exploratory committee to run for LG.

New York State’s Attorney General is also up for election in 2018. Eric Schneiderman first won election to the office of Attorney General in 2010. He would go on to win reelection in 2014. The Attorney General will be running for his third term in 2018 should he seek reelection. Schneiderman has been in the news a lot lately for his frequent lawsuits on behalf of New York against the Trump Administration and its policies.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is also expected to run for reelection this year. Dinapoli was first appointed to the position in 2007 after the resignation of Alan Hevesi. He would go on to win election to the Comptroller’s Office in 2010 and 2014. The Comptroller is tasked with managing the state’s enormous pension fund, auditing state agencies and local governments, and reviewing state and local budgets.

All 63 seats in the state Senate will be on the ballot this fall. Unlike the Assembly, control of the Senate will be at stake, with several swing districts at play. There is currently a complicated and contentious breakdown of power in the Senate, where Republicans hold 31 seats, but have a majority because of nine Democrats -- Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder conferences with the GOP while the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference forms a ruling coalition with that Republican conference.

Mainline and Independent Democrats reached a tentative deal in late 2017 to begin to work together in the State Senate, but only on a number of conditions, including winning the two special elections for currently vacant seats. The empty seat in the Bronx is all but a lock, while the empty Westchester seat will be closer to a toss-up. Felder’s status is not completely clear in terms of what he will do -- he has always maintained he’ll take the best deal for him and his constituents.

Complicating things is grassroots anger at members of the IDC, whereby several if not all IDC members will be facing primary challenges. IDC Leader Jeff Klein of the Bronx (SD34), Jesse Hamilton of Brooklyn (SD20), Jose Peralta of Queens (SD13), and Marisol Alcantara of Manhattan (SD31) are among those members already facing primary challenges.

Meanwhile, there are somewhere around a half-dozen swing districts to watch outside New York City, and one potential swing district within the five boroughs -- the Brooklyn seat currently held by Senator Martin Golden. The expected Democratic wave could lead to several seats switching hands, though local races can turn on different issues and long-time incumbents like Golden can be very difficult to beat. Districts on Long Island and in the suburbs just north of New York City are often more likely to change hands, while New York City and other large cities around the state are overwhelmingly represented by Democrats and upstate areas outside of other major cities are heavily Republican.

All 150 state Assembly seats are up for election in 2018. The chamber is heavily Democratic, with a current partisan split of 103 Democrats, 37 Republicans, one Independence Party member, and the nine vacancies.

With all that is happening in other races, especially those for Governor and in key House and state Senate swing districts, there will likely be little attention paid to most Assembly races this year.

There will be other local elections in 2018, including local school board and trial court judicial elections, among others.

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by Matthew Sweeney, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

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2018 Will Be a Busy, Contentious Election Year in New York Mon, 22 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0000
For 2018, The Center Must Hold http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7082:for-2018-the-center-must-hold http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7082:for-2018-the-center-must-hold Cuomo NY Dems

Gov. Cuomo rallying to flip NY House seats (photo: NY Democratic Party)


If the national Women’s March was any indication, we are in for a Democratic tidal wave come 2018. We’re only seven months into 2017, of course. But if such a wave does occur, then the Republican Party in Congress will only revert back to ideological extremes and obstructionism.

Why? Because the seats up for grabs are largely the 50 seats held by moderate Tuesday Group caucus members. As their influence wanes, the influence of the Freedom Caucus and other extreme conservatives will only grow.

While governing is about compromise, politics is about winning, and having worked on several campaigns in New York, I certainly cannot begrudge Democrats for trying to unseat some of our more moderate Congressional members, as they are the campaign equivalent of low-hanging fruit.

However, in order to govern, the center must hold.

America needs the Tuesday Group. America needs Democratic blue dogs. Congressional Republicans need moderate leaders like Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Charlie Dent, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Without them, the party in Congress will see a return to turmoil, the likes of which we only briefly glimpsed after John Boehner announced his resignation in September 2015.

Ward Baker, former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, wrote a lengthy memo last year to GOP Senate campaigns after it became clear Donald Trump was on track to win the Republican nomination for President. The message of the memo: run your own race.

Tuesday Group members, I cannot stress this enough.

Do not feel beholden to a toxic and unpopular and unpredictable White House. Support the Speaker, cast your vote, but vote your constituents, vote your conscience – not the Saturday morning Twitter spasms of an irrational and unstable Commander-in-Chief.

Reince Priebus and Howard Dean both proved that big tent strategy beats strict ideological adherence every time.

Dean built a 50-state infrastructure that helped Democrats navigate their way to the majority in 2006. Meanwhile, Priebus wrangled FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Ending Spending, and other conservative groups to do the same for Republicans in 2010 and 2014.

That’s the reason why my party is now gifted with talented pols like Joni Ernst, Rob Portman, Cory Gardner, Elise Stefanik, John Katko, and Marco Rubio.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has already declared “war” on Republican House members throughout the state, but based on his track record his bark is worse than his bite. Congressional Reps. John Faso and Claudia Tenney may face strong Democratic challenges, but Cuomo will be too busy padding his own reelection effort to take notice.

Democrats, if they’re interested in winning, need to ditch – and quit praying at the altar of – a Vermont demagogue and remnant of the Old World communist left, who still refuses to even identify as a Democrat, and instead embrace such 21st Century party pragmatists as Cory Booker, Patty Murray, Tom Perez, and John Hickenlooper.

If not, Democrats will only continue to flounder, and suffer more “close but no cigar” moments like Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, Jason Kander in Missouri, Jon Ossoff in Georgia, and, quite obviously, that glass ceiling-shattering candidate who was supposed to win the White House in 2008 and 2016.

Democrats, I may not be your friend, but I’m certainly not your enemy – Putin and ISIS are the enemy. Your party is in turmoil, you need to figure out what you stand for, and then bring your A-game.

Show Americans you’ve got what it takes to provide jobs, provide roads and bridges, provide health care, education and equal justice, provide prosperity, liberty, safety, security, and the freedom of choice for all.

However, if you can’t do that, if you can’t organize for something other than marching, if you can’t resolve your own petty internecine warfare between intransigent Bernie believers and mainstream party practicables then you deserve to live in the minority until you do.

***
John William Schiffbauer was the Deputy Communications Director for the New York Republican State Committee 2014-16. Last fall, he served as campaign manager for Republican Melinda Crump’s State Senate campaign in New York’s 31st District. On Twitter @jwschiffgop.

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

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For 2018, The Center Must Hold Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:25:00 +0000
Trump's Speech, a Nightmare for Democrats http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6783:trump-s-speech-a-nightmare-for-democrats http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6783:trump-s-speech-a-nightmare-for-democrats trump military

President Donald Trump (photo: @POTUS)


In the weeks before Donald Trump’s address to Congress, the main topic of conversation among Democrats was not how to make the president look incompetent and unfit—it was how to best exploit the fact that he so clearly is.

We underestimated him.

In the biggest political rope-a-dope of all time, after setting the bar as low as he could during 40 days of tumultuous terribleness and a chaotic campaign, Trump delivered a well-crafted, coherent and populist-yet-serious speech on Tuesday night. His presidency re-started today, powered by its success.

In other words, this is the Democrats’ worst nightmare.

As unpopular a president as Trump is, a high percentage of American voters approve of his policies when they put aside their personal feelings about Trump himself. That means he may still be able to be a well-thought-of president—if he can just act, well, presidential.

And that’s what he did last night.

Trump will now undoubtedly get a bump up in polls. He may even get a bit of a honeymoon period here similar to what presidents normally receive when they are first elected. It’s even possible most of the country will temporarily forget just how badly he and his people bungled the beginning of his presidency.

But the really scary thing for Democrats isn’t the speech; it’s what was in it. Though there were plenty of the same divisive ideas that are sure to enrage the liberal base, there was also plenty of bi-partisan policy and sentiment that is tough to argue with.

Ironically, that was the same strategy as another Comeback Kid, who just happens to be the husband of the Democratic candidate Trump beat in November. Yes, in addition to the red meat he threw his base, President Trump attempted to triangulate his way out of trouble on Tuesday, using Bill Clinton’s method of marginalizing dissent by siding with the opposition party.

A few examples of Trump tacking left include:

--Immigration. The president seemed to indicate he would accept legal status for some undocumented immigrants, saying “I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible.”

--Paid maternity leave. The president went way left on a favorite policy of liberals, declaring, “My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave.”

--Lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Traditionally an issue for Democrats, Trump announced (for the umpteenth time) that he would “work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs.”

Trump also made plenty of inarguable - and stereotypically presidential - statements in his speech. He decried hate crimes. He called for unity. He laid praise on the military. Sure, some of it sounded hollow and pandering. But he didn’t smirk or flub or appear indifferent. In fact, he delivered the lines believably.

You’d have to remember that he has said racist things, divided Americans for his own benefit, and criticized a war hero for getting caught by the enemy to be offended by his duplicity. A lot of Americans won’t.

And to be turned off by his false statements, of which there were plenty, you’d have to know they were false. For the record, these included the claims that Americans live in “lawless chaos” (American crime rates are near all-time lows), “Obamacare is collapsing” (20 million more Americans have health insurance now who didn’t before the health plan was passed), and our country is undergoing the “worst financial recovery in 65 years” (75 months of straight job creation and historically low unemployment).

And, by God, it was great TV.

Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, Trump is the producer of a top-rated show. But maybe you would think that a Trump-produced address of Congress would be too over the top to be convincingly earnest. It wasn’t.

The most memorable moment of the evening – or of any presidential address of Congress in recent memory – was the moving memorial for Senior Chief William Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL killed in a counter-terror operation in Yemen. His wife, Carryn, appeared to be speaking skyward to her late husband as the chamber stood and applauded. The applause lasted for several minutes. Then, the president quoted the Bible in eulogy.

Perhaps Trump’s communications team was thinking more about the effect that moment would have on its principal’s approval rating than the importance of it for the widow and the appreciation of the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier. Perhaps not. It doesn’t matter. It made the president look presidential.

But the Democrats do have one thing going for them: this was just a speech. Today may be a brighter day for Republicans and the White House—but sunlight is the best disinfectant, and only progress on the president’s promises will allow him to maintain his momentum.

Plus: Trump is Trump. If history is any guide, he does not have the discipline to stay on message for more than a short time.

So chalk one up for Team Trump. And Democrats beware. But leading a divided nation, convincing a cantankerous Congress and advancing a bi-partisan agenda is a lot harder than reading off of a Teleprompter.

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Evan Thies is the co-founder of Pythia Public Affairs. On Twitter @EvanRThies.

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

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Trump's Speech, a Nightmare for Democrats Wed, 01 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000
Donald Trump Elected President in Big Night for GOP http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6615:donald-trump-elected-president-in-big-night-for-gop http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6615:donald-trump-elected-president-in-big-night-for-gop Trump election night 2

President-Elect Donald Trump


On a huge Election Day for Republicans, Donald Trump won the presidential election, the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress, and, here in New York, Republicans have increased their margin in the state Senate, the party’s last stronghold of statewide power.

With a stunning show of support across the country, Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence won more states than expected and Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. Reports came in around 2:40 a.m. that Hillary Clinton had called Trump to concede, and soon after, Trump took the stage at the New York Hilton to declare victory.

It was less than an hour after Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said that several states were “too close to call,” that the campaign was going to see every vote counted, and that it would have more to say on Wednesday.

But as more votes came in, the Associated Press called the race for Trump and reports came in of Clinton’s call. Trump called for unity and promised to be a President for all Americans. He repeated campaign promises of investment in infrastructure and jobs for Americans. He did not mention several of his other promises from the campaign trail, like building a wall on the Mexican border and getting Mexico to pay for it, nor did he use disparaging nicknames for his opponent or lash out at critics, as he had throughout the primary and general elections. Trump did not threaten key pieces of the U.S. Constitution as he had over the course of his campaign.

The President-elect spoke calmly and graciously, thanking many members of his team for their work and support, and he thanked Hillary Clinton for her service to the country. There is a great deal of uncertainty about how he will handle the transition of power and the Presidency once inaugurated on January 20, 2017. He is the first person ever elected U.S. President with no government or military experience.

The popular vote count is very close, and Clinton could very well win that but lose the Electoral College and thus the presidency. Trump pulled out a variety of swing states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina.

Financial markets in the U.S. and around the world tumbled as Trump’s win became more apparent.

In the U.S. Senate, where Republicans held a 54-46 advantage coming into the elections, during which 34 Senate seats were being voting on, Republicans appear to have lost just one seat, in Illinois. However, as of 3 a.m., there were two races still not called. It appears likely that the Senate split will be 53-47 or 52-48. New York Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat who won reelection easily, is on track to become Senate Minority Leader.

Republicans will also maintain control of the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were on the ballot and the GOP came into the elections with a 247-188 advantage. Democrats appear to be picking up a handful of seats to slightly narrow that gap.

Here in New York, congressional races contributed to those House results. Despite several hotly contested races, mostly on Long Island and the Hudson Valley, the New York delegation to the House will remain the same in terms of party representation. In the most watched race in the state, if not the country, Republican John Faso defeated Democrat Zephyr Teachout to replace retiring GOP Rep. Chris Gibson.

In the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, Democrat Tom Suozzi has defeated Republican Jack Martins. Other Congressional results include wins for Republicans Lee Zeldin, Peter King, Dan Donovan, Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney, Thomas Reed, John Katko, and Chris Collins; and for Democrats Kathleen Rice, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Joe Crowley, Jose Serrano, Eliot Engel, Sean Patrick Maloney, Paul Tonko, Louise Slaughter, and Brian Higgins.

All of the seats in the New York State Legislature were also on the ballot this year: 63 Senate seats and 150 Assembly seats. Democrats will maintain a healthy majority in the Assembly. The Senate math is more complicated, but Republicans appear to have ensured they will have at least a bare majority of 32, including Senator Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with the GOP. As of 3 a.m. there were two races too close to call, though, which will influence the final margin and could give the GOP more cushion: Republican Sen. Michael Venditto and Democratic challenger John Brooks and Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino and Democratic challenger James Gaughran are locked in tight battles, both on Long Island.

There is another key piece to the state Senate puzzle, of course: the soon-to-be seven-member Independent Democratic Conference and the GOP are likely to continue to align in a power-sharing coalition. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan indicated in an Election Night press statement that the GOP-IDC partnership would continue in 2017. It is not immediately clear what this means for the Albany agendas laid out by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo as they discussed what they hoped to see next year if Democrats took the chamber.

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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Note: this story has been updated with additional information.

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Donald Trump Elected President in Big Night for GOP Tue, 08 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000
New York Congressional Primary Results; Espaillat, Teachout Among Winners http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6420:new-york-congressional-primary-results-espaillat-teachout-among-winners http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6420:new-york-congressional-primary-results-espaillat-teachout-among-winners Espaillat presser

Adriano Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)


New York voters chose congressional candidates in 13 primaries across the state on Tuesday, with seven of those contests taking place within New York City—all of which were Democratic. New York has 27 seats in the House of Representatives.

While the current New York City congressional delegation consists of 11 Democrats and one Republican, a makeup that is unlikely to change this year, results from key primaries in three swing districts outside the city have set the stage for races that could factor into which party controls the House after November’s elections.

In the most-watched and only competitive primary in New York City, nine candidates contended to be the Democratic nominee for New York’s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel announced he will step down after 46 years in office. The district includes much of Upper Manhattan and some of the South Bronx. Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary winner is a lock to become the next district representative in Congress.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost primary challenges to Rangel in 2012 and 2014, declared victory in NY-13, barely defeating Assemblymember Keith Wright. While Wright did not immediately concede, asserting that every vote must be counted and that efforts to suppress the vote of African-Americans must be investigated, NY1 projected Espaillat the winner just after 11 p.m., at which point 98% of precincts had reported their ballots and Espaillat held a lead of about 1,270 votes. The NY-13 vote was relatively high among expectedly low turnout affairs across the city and state, with about 43,000 votes cast -- Espaillat received about 15,700 (37%); Wright about 14,400 (34%).

Clyde Williams (11%) finished a somewhat distant third, followed by Adam Clayton Powell IV (6%), Guillermo Linares (5.5%), Suzan Johnson-Cook (5%), Michael Gallagher, Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.

Most New York City congressional primaries were marked by victories for incumbent candidates. Democrats Gregory Meeks of Queens; Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn; Jerrod Nadler and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan; and Jose Serrano of the Bronx kept their seats by wide margins in contested primaries. All are expected to win general election races in November, along with other Democrats, like Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries, who did not have primary challenges, and Republican Rep. Daniel Donovan, who was unopposed in the primary.

A key primary outside the city was the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where current Republican Rep. Chris Gibson has announced he will retire this year. Zephyr Teachout defeated Will Yandik to clinch the Democratic nomination there, while John Faso won the Republican nomination over Andrew Heaney. Teachout and Faso are preparing for what could be a very competitive general election that may garner national attention and resources from the two major party apparatuses.

Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, will also retire at the end of this term. In the primaries, Thomas Suozzi defeated Jon Kaiman, Steve Stern, Jonathan Clarke, and Anna Kaplan to become the Democratic nominee. Suozzi will face Republican candidate Jack Martins in the general election.

Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of the 22nd Congressional District in Utica has also announced he will step down this year after three terms in office. In the district’s Republican primary, Claudia Tenney defeated George Philips and Steven Wells to become the nominee, and will run against Democratic candidate Kim Meyers in November.

As the November general election approaches, candidates on both sides of the aisle will be looking up the ticket at presidential nominees. The two major parties both have presumptive nominees from New York, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The official nominating conventions are in July.

Come November, there will be one New York Senate race on the ballot, with incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, facing Republican challenger Wendy Long. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who defeated Long in 2012, is not up for reelection this year.

The general election will take place November 8. Before the November election, New Yorkers will have a third primary election day, with state Assembly and Senate primaries on September 13. Few New York City-based races are expected to be competitive, but if Espaillat is indeed the winner in NY-13, his state Senate seat will be open and there are at least two Democrats, Micah Lasher and Robert Jackson, already in the running.

[See the details of New York primary voting results via WNYC here]

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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Aaron Holmes contributed reporting.

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New York Congressional Primary Results; Espaillat, Teachout Among Winners Tue, 28 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000
Espaillat Unveils Plan to Address Child Care Costs http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6387:espaillat-unveils-plan-to-address-child-care-costs http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6387:espaillat-unveils-plan-to-address-child-care-costs Espaillat news conference

Sen. Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)


To address the city’s escalating affordability crisis, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Democratic candidate in the 13th Congressional District, is unveiling a proposal to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

The announcement comes as the heated Congressional primary enters its final weeks. Espaillat’s campaign is announcing a series of policy papers in an attempt to separate itself in a race that has focused on political allegiances, polls, and fundraising. Other candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel include Assemblymember Keith Wright, former Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell, Assemblymemeber Guillermo Linares, and Clyde Williams, former political director of the Democratic National Committee. Espaillat unsuccessfully challenged Rangel in 2012 and 2014. This year’s primary is set for June 28.

“I think there is a growing affordability crisis in the city and the state that has been framed around rent and the minimum wage, but not that fine-tuned to address issues young families face as far child care,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “There are big costs these families face to live in the city while trying to raise kids. Some parents won’t go to work if they aren’t sure their children are receiving proper care.”

Espaillat cites a study by Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office that shows child care costs for city residents rising $1,612 per family each year. The study further shows that the average New York City family spends up to $16,250 per year on child care for an infant, $11,648 for a toddler and $9,620 for a school-age child. Gillibrand, like Rangel, has endorsed Wright in the congressional race. Espaillat said he had not spoken to the senator about his plan.

Espaillat’s plan would increase the CDCTC for families with children under four, allow families to claim 50 percent of child care costs up to $6,000 per child, and increase the maximum credit for families receiving federal, state, and city credits by 43 percent per child, making the maximum credit $8,775 per child.

Only families making under $30,000 a year with children under four years of age are eligible for the city tax credit. Families of all income levels with children up to the age of 13 are eligible for the state and federal credits, but the credits shrink depending on income. The state and city CDCTC are calculated as a percentage of the federal credit, so an increase to the federal plan would in turn boost state and local aid.

Espaillat’s policy paper estimates that “A family receiving the maximum federal, state, and city credits would receive $6,143-just over one-third the average price of child care for an infant in New York City. But a family earning $50,000 with a three-year-old child would only receive $2,400. This is a massive burden on New York City’s working- and middle-class families.”

Espaillat said he believes his proposal is one that could attract bipartisan support and gain traction in Congress because people across the country struggle to pay for child care. “This cuts across state and party lines,” Espaillat told Gotham Gazette. “This is like student loans; it has universal appeal whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or independent.”

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

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Espaillat Unveils Plan to Address Child Care Costs Thu, 09 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000
New Yorkers Vote in Congressional Primaries June 28 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6380:new-yorkers-vote-in-congressional-primaries-june-28 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6380:new-yorkers-vote-in-congressional-primaries-june-28 rangel voting congress new york

Rep. Charles Rangel is retiring (photo via Rep. Rangel on Flickr)


While many voters and most media are focused on the race for President, this year will also see all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats on the ballot. New York’s 27 seats in the House and one of its two Senate seats - the one held by Senator Charles Schumer -  will be voted on during June 28 primaries and the November 8 general election.

In an odd - some say counterproductive and undemocratic - twist, New York is holding four election days this year. Many New Yorkers have already had the chance to vote in one election this year—the April 19 presidential primaries—and, in the fall, will have the opportunity to vote in September state Senate and state Assembly primary elections before the general election with all of the aforementioned offices on the ballot.

Ahead of the June 28 congressional primaries, things are largely quiet in New York City’s 13 districts, though a few incumbents are being challenged and there is one particularly prominent primary - that to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. Rangel is one of three congressional incumbents across the state not seeking reelection this year.

Twelve of New York City’s 13 districts are currently represented by Democrats, with the exception of District 11, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn and is represented by Rep. Daniel Donovan, who is not facing a primary challenge.

Rangel represents New York’s thirteenth congressional district, which includes upper Manhattan and a small part of the Bronx. Rangel has served the area since 1971. His decision to retire has prompted a crowded field eager to fill the rare empty seat. That crowd includes state Senator Adriano Espaillat, who challenged Rangel in both 2012 and 2014. Rangel has endorsed Assembly Member Keith Wright as his chosen successor.

Christine Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University, says that Rangel’s endorsement is a boon to Wright’ campaign. “Having Charlie Rangel’s endorsement is important because Charlie Rangel’s people, who support [Wright], know they have to vote in June, not just in November,” Greer told Gotham Gazette.

Greer says that the June congressional primary is often forgotten, especially since New Yorkers will be asked to go to the polls three other times this year. With a bevy of other Democratic candidates in the running, Rangel’s endorsement could indeed be a difference-maker. It is a virtual certainty that the Democratic primary winner will win the general election in November and be seated in Congress come January.

Along with Wright and Espaillat, other Democratic primary candidates in NY13 are Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Adam Clayton Powell IV, Clyde Williams, Suzan Johnson Cook, and Michael Gallagher.

In New York City, several Democratic congressional incumbents will face primary challengers, though they are expected to win reelection easily:

In District 5, which is located largely in Queens, incumbent Rep. Gregory Meeks will face Ali Mirza, a businessman and advocate for immigrants, according to his campaign website.

In District 7,  which is mostly located in Brooklyn, incumbent Rep. Nydia Valázquez will face two Democratic challengers: Jeff Kurzon and Yungman Lee. Kurzon, an attorney, challenged Valázquez in 2014, but lost to the 24 year-incumbent. Lee is a community banker, who has worked as an attorney and a bank regulator, according to his campaign website.

In District 10, mostly in Manhattan, incumbent Rep. Jerrold Nadler will take on his first Democratic primary challenger in 20 years - Oliver Rosenberg. Rosenberg is a businessman, a banker, and advocate for the LGBTQ Jewish community, according to his campaign website.

In District 12, which includes parts of Manhattan and Queens, incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney is being challenged by Pete Lindner, who, according to his campaign website, is a statistical analyst and advocate for the national legalization of marijuana.

In District 15, in the Bronx, José Serrano, the incumbent, has served the district for 26 years. Democratic challenger Leonel Baez will also be on the ballot; however, it does not seem that Baez has made a strong effort to campaign (his official campaign website is limited).

Meanwhile, several city-based races appear that they will see incumbents unopposed in the primary. This will also be the case outside New York City. However, there will also be a number of contested races leading to November’s Election Day, especially in places considered swing districts, where Republicans and Democrats have recently held the same seat or where party registration numbers are closer than they are in many heavily-Democratic New York City districts.

Within the bounds of New York City, only one congressional seat appears open to party oscillation - the eleventh congressional district, which includes Staten Island and part of Southern Brooklyn. That congressional seat is currently held by Daniel Donovan, a Republican, who succeeded his predecessor Michael Grimm in a 2015 special election called after Grimm pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Even while facing charges in 2014, Grimm had kept his seat in a reelection bid.

Donovan, formerly the Staten Island District Attorney, is heavily favored to keep the seat, though Richard Reichard, the Democratic challenger, and his supporters are looking to see how a likely Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential matchup could help lift down-ballot Democrats.  

David Birdsell, a professor and dean at Baruch College, doubts that the race will be competitive.

“This seat has seen a good deal of turnover in recent years, owing to redistricting and to incumbents’ personal and legal troubles. Donovan won the special election handily against a Democrat and a Green Party candidate; he’s drawing the same mix in the fall,” said Birdsell.

Despite believing that there won’t be much of a district 11 contest in November, Birdsell concedes that Trump’s candidacy could potentially boost Democratic voter turnout.  “[Trump’s candidacy] could help Reichard in the eleventh, irrespective of what Republican voters think of Donovan’s willingness to campaign on Trump’s behalf. There isn’t compelling evidence as yet that Trump has expanded GOP appeal, but he could yet deliver on the promise of lots of independent votes, and that could make a major difference in the other direction. Probably not enough so to make a difference in any city races with the possible exception of the eleventh.”

While New Yorkers will vote for their congressional representatives in the House and for President come November, there will also be one New York Senate seat on the ballot as well as all 213 seats of the state Legislature. Incumbent Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer will be running for reelection against Republican candidate Wendy Long and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced. If Schumer wins, he would enter his fourth six-year term serving as a senator.

As of now, New York’s two Senators are Democrats, as are 18 of its 27 congressional representatives. However, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House are both controlled by Republicans. November’s elections will determine control of both houses, as well as the presidency.

Within New York, Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the state Assembly, with more than 100 of the Assembly’s 150 seats. The state Senate has a much more complicated picture, with its 63 seats split in somewhat strange fashion and control of the chamber on the line in November. Republicans currently hold 31 seats, not quite a majority, but one Democrat, Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, continues to caucus with them. There are also five members of the Independent Democratic Conference, which has a governing coalition with Republicans through this year. Democrats recently flipped one seat in a special election, that for the Long Island seat vacated by former Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted on federal corruption charges.

In terms of party control of government and the policy ramifications thereof, there is a great deal at stake for New York and the country come November 8.

For the upcoming New York congressional primaries June 28, only voters registered with a party can vote - voters can check their registration through the state Board of Elections. New voters had to register several weeks ago to be eligible for this vote, while anyone changing party registration had to do so more than a year ago.

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by Rebecca Oh, Gotham Gazette
@GothamGazette

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New Yorkers Vote in Congressional Primaries June 28 Mon, 06 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000