New York is considered one of the most Democratic states in the Union. Two years ago, we gave Barack Obama nearly 63% of the vote. This year, Andrew Cuomo should easily cruise into the governor's mansion, while Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand will easily dispatch their respective Republican opponents. However, what most people don't realize is that there are several important competitive races in New York. The outcome of some of those races could have national impact, not only this year, but also for the next decade.
According to the latest Siena College poll the races for attorney general and comptroller are dead heats. In the attorney general's race Democrat Eric Schneiderman and Republican Dan Donovan are tied with 44% of the vote each. They're fighting to succeed Andrew Cuomo as New York State Attorney General. Meanwhile, in the comptroller's race, incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli and Republican challenger Harry Wilson are also tied with 44% of the vote. DiNapoli was elected comptroller by the legislature back in 2007 following the resignation of Alan Hevesi. Despite these numbers, the New York Daily News' Celeste Katz warns in The Daily Politics that polling for the down-ticket statewide offices has been extremely off-the-mark in recent elections.
Meanwhile, after Democrats recaptured control of the state senate for the first time since 1965 back in 2008, Republicans are now charging hard to retake the state senate. Katz reports over at The Daily Politics that Republicans are raking in last-minute donations in their bid to retake the state senate. Keeping control of the Senate, and expanding the Democratic majority, is extremely important. With an unassailable supermajority in the Assembly retaining Senate control would ensure complete Democratic control over redistricting following this year's census, when New York will lose either 1 or 2 House seats. Expanding that majority with better Democrats would also make New York more likely to join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in having marriage equality; the New York State Assembly has already passed a marriage equality bill, which went down to defeat last year in the Senate.
At the federal level, there are seven Democratic seats at some degree of risk of falling into Republican hands. Nate Silver currently has Democrats favored to hold three of those seats and Republicans favored to pick up four of those seats. A strong turnout and strong performance could help save some of those seats currently projected to fall to Republicans, and in the process help save the Democratic House majority, something which Silver writes tonight could well happen.
Those House seats are:
NY-01 Rep. Timothy Bishop (68.3% chance of winning; projected to win 51.7-48.3)
NY-13 Rep. Michael McMahon (89.3% chance of winning; projected to win 53.4-43.9)
NY-19 Rep. John Hall (69.4% chance of losing; projected to lose 48.6-51.4)
NY-20 Rep. Scott Murphy (80.2% chance of losing; projected to lose 47.3-52.7)
NY-23 Rep. William Owens (60.8% chance of losing; projected to lose 47.5-49.2)
NY-24 Rep. Michael Arcuri (53.4% chance of winning; projected to win 50.3-49.7)
NY-29 OPEN (Matt Zeller is the Democratic candidate) following Massa resignation (97.0% chance of losing seat; projected to lose 42.2-57.8)
New York City is voting on optical scan ballots for the first time in a general election this year. Back in September's primary, the first time New York City held any election using the optical scan ballots there were widespread problems, which the City has now tried to correct. Previously, we voted on the old lever machines.
If you live in New York State, like me, and you think that because Andrew Cuomo, Charles Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand are going to win overwhelming victories tomorrow it's not important to get out and vote, dispel yourself of that notion. There are extremely competitive races for Attorney General, Comptroller, U.S. House, and the State Senate. The outcomes of those races can have national implications. This year it can be the difference between Nancy Pelosi remaining Speaker of the House or John Boehner (G-d-forbid) becoming House Speaker. Looking to the future, it can mean the difference between Democrats drawing New York's congressional map or having to share that power with Republicans.
Please, tomorrow, make sure to get out and vote. Make sure to get your family and friends out to vote. Democratic candidates across New York State need your support.
If you don't know where to vote, you can find out with this neat tool from Google.