Special Election Bracket Busters

Cinderella stories are common in March, but what about in April?

On April 24 the state’s political season kicks off with special elections from Long Island to Buffalo. There will be 11 potential upsets, with nine Assembly races and two in the state Senate.

Most eyes are on the 37th Senate District because it’s viewed as a pivotal battleground for control of the state Senate. The district leans Democratic, but Republicans are hoping they can wrestle back control and pad their majority. Michael Lawler, campaign manager for Republican hopeful Julie Killian, joined the podcast to talk about their path to an upset victory.

The Assembly seats could also be ripe for surprise victories, as was the case in last spring’s special election on Long Island. Melinda Person, political director for NYSUT, came on the show to talk about the possibility of repeating that win on a larger scale.

Continue reading “Special Election Bracket Busters”

The Republican Case for Westchester

The conventional wisdom regarding the race to fill George Latimer’s vacant senate seat is that Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer has the edge in a special election this spring.

Democrats have a large enrollment edge in the district, enthusiasm nationally is on their side and Mayer is a household name in part of the county. But there is hope for Julie Killian and Republicans – and it comes from the makeup of special election voters.

Special elections are notoriously hard to poll because it’s difficult to accurately predict who will vote. (This was covered in a previous episode of Poozer Politics.) But it’s not impossible to sketch a pretty good picture of what the electorate will look like. Continue reading “The Republican Case for Westchester”

EXTRA EXTRA: Alt-Right Financier Funds Local Attack Ad

All politics is local, even if you’re a billionaire.

Robert Mercer, the conservative financier behind Steve Bannon and then-candidate Donald Trump, waded into the Westchester County Executive election last month with nearly $1 million for a super PAC supporting incumbent Rob Astorino.

      Mark Lungariello

Journal News reporter Mark Lungariello joined Poozer Politics to explain Astorino’s ties with Mercer, talk about the impact of the ad blitz against challenger George Latimer and highlight indicators to look for on Tuesday night. Continue reading “EXTRA EXTRA: Alt-Right Financier Funds Local Attack Ad”

Underwhelming Senate Democrats

From Hillary Clinton to state senate candidates, New York Democrats had an underwhelming performance on Tuesday.

The showing was particularly poor in the Hudson Valley region and on Long Island, where Democrats believed there were multiple seats up for grabs. It’s not clear if the Democrats will pick up any of these seats, but they have a shot in one race where their candidate is up by 33 votes (I will do an analysis of this race in a future post, but now my gut says the Republicans will hold the seat because the Democrat closed the gap late).

The results in the Hudson Valley were particularly troubling for the Democrats, as the only improvements from 2012 appear to be by incumbent Sen. George Latimer in the 37th Senate District and the result of a two-way race in the 41st Senate District, which was a three-way race in 2012.

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The most depressing result for the Democrats in the Hudson Valley has to be the 39th Senate District, where Democrat Chris Eachus only lost by about 5 percentage points in 2012. In the rematch, Sen. William Larkin won by nearly 16 percentage points.

It also appears that Sen. George Amedore has cemented his hold on the 46th Senate District after narrowly losing his first attempt in 2012. His performance in Ulster County was especially impressive, as he was destroyed there four years ago and split the county this time around.

Among the seats the Democrats hoped to pick up on Long Island the biggest improvement compared to 2012 was the 5th Senate District. There was a massive improvement in the 8th Senate District, but that wasn’t anticipated until a late scandal, and much better numbers in the 9th Senate District, but a Democrat is an incumbent there now.

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In the 6th Senate District, where Democrats hoped to knock off Sen. Kemp Hannon, the Republicans did better than in 2012. And in the 7th Senate District, which was an open seat and considered the Democrats best chance for a gain, they did only slightly better than in 2012.

One rationale for the Long Island showing by the Democrats could be the short coattails of Clinton, who took a smaller share of the vote there than President Barack Obama did in 2012.

2016-long-island-prezNone of this is good news for the Democrats and their quest to win back the state senate. Based on these performances it appears their hopes for winning any of these Long Island or Hudson Valley seats (prior to the next presidential election) are contingent on unique circumstances such as a strong third-party candidate in the race, a special election or a corruption issue.

 

Extra Extra: What’s in a Name?

For this bonus episode, USA Today Network’s Jon Campbell talks about organizations mounting independent expenditure campaigns in New York that focus on issues unrelated to their interests. The conversation focuses on the efforts of Airbnb, which has used controversial advertisements on environmental issues to attack a state legislator from the Hudson Valley.