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It's taken until just Election-minus-40-days to get any polling from the redrawn NY-25, where veteran progressive fighter Louise Slaughter is getting what's supposed to be one of the stiffest challenges of her long Congressional career...and the news today is very, very good. Siena College's respected pollster Steve Greenberg has Louise up 10 points against Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, staked to a 52-42 advantage in a district that's been massively redrawn going into the 2012 cycle.

Some off-the-cuff analysis, below the Endangered Squiggle... (what, you didn't know kos was planning to eliminate it in the next site redesign?)

To hear the local pundits tell it, "Maggie" (this is very much a first-name-basis race) is an indomitable force in Monroe County politics. She's won her last few races for County Executive by big margins (57-43 last time around), and she still enjoys whatever peculiar kind of celebrity comes from having once been a popular local TV anchor.

But there's trouble in Maggie-land. Her Teflon tenure as County Executive has been at least lightly scuffed in recent years by a series of small-to-medium scandals in county government...but, here, let Louise tell you about them:

The big question, at least until this polling finally showed up, was how Maggie would do against a very different electorate from the one she's faced the last few times around. She's won as County Executive in off-off-year elections with very low turnout, and the turnout has been mostly from the Republican-heavy suburbs, not the Democratic-dominated city of Rochester.

This year, of course, will be different. The new 25th is entirely within Monroe County (a big change from Louise's previous 28th, which started in the city of Rochester and then snaked along the Lake Ontario shore 70 miles west to Niagara Falls and part of Buffalo). But it still doesn't include the wealthy (if relatively small) suburbs on the southern edge of the county. Mendon and Rush and Wheatland would be Maggie Country if they were in the district, but they're not - and taking Mendon out of the mix removes some of the wealthiest donors who'd otherwise perhaps be throwing more money into the race for the red team.

Siena's poll finds not only that Louise is killing Maggie, 75-19, within city limits, but also that she has a 49-45 lead in eastern Monroe County. Maggie leads 53-43 in the western suburbs, which tend to be the reddest part of the county. If city voters turned out huge numbers, this wouldn't even be a race, but they don't, and so it still (sort of) is.

More good news? That 53-43 horse-race number includes only 6% "don't know." The voters here know Maggie and Louise very, very well already. Louise represented a lot of the current 25th prior to the 2002 gerrymandering, and she's stayed visible locally even as her most recent district was stretched out to Buffalo. Maggie says she's going to go more negative on Louise's record in her next ads, but it's harder to define a well-known incumbent than a newcomer.

Still more good news? 21% of Republicans say they'll vote for Louise. Louise has a 59-36 favorability rating, while Maggie's also liked (but not as much), with a 51-42. Who's better on jobs? The poll says Louise, 47-42. And how will the district vote at the top of the ballot? Obama, 53-39.

There are at least two debates coming in October. With her TV background, Maggie's good at that, and she's bound to try to go negative...but how negative can you go against an octogenarian with a 59% approval rating without tarnishing your own reputation?

There's only one little downside to all this good news: Louise turned 83 this past summer, and she's still recovering from a nasty fall in which she broke her leg earlier this year. Maggie's only 57, and she's sure to run again in 2014...when turnout in the city will be much lower without Obama's coattails, and when Louise is 85, and while I'd like to say there's a strong Democratic bench in the county to replace Louise eventually, I'd be lying. It would be nice if a big Maggie loss in November dents her Teflon enough to get other Republicans to challenge her in 2014 for the nomination, but barring more county scandals (not an impossibility!) it's probably hers again if she wants it in two years.

So I'm not going to conclude by telling you to send Louise some money: she's obviously in very good shape, and while I'm sure a few more dollars wouldn't hurt her, they might do more good just to the east, where Dan Maffei is in a fight against the odious tea partier Ann Marie Buerkle, or to the southeast, where Nate Shinagawa is a longshot Democratic hopeful against the lightweight Republican incumbent Tom Reed.

And for heavens' sake, Monroe County Democrats...get cracking on building a bench for 2014 and beyond!

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ipsos, Woody, Odysseus

    ...am from the adjacent, new NY-24 Congressional District...and was reading yesterday about how Slaughter, at age 82 is now having to campaign with a broken leg.
    Was hoping that that wouldn't diminish her chances, especially since Republicans heavily recruited and were able to to convince one of their most well-known names in the area to run.

    It appears that Louise's many, many years of fighting tirelessly for everyday, working Americans is paying off.

    Great news.

    This means that Democrats here in New York should be down to just a couple of seats facing stiff challenges this year (Kathy Hokul, where the Republican-led Senate decided to throw a lot more Republicans into her district, and Bill Owens, the first Democrat since the Civil War to represent the "North Country" in Congress in a District with a heavy Republican enrollment edge.) Am not sure if there are any others. Hopefully, not.

    •  They love Louise here... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, wdrath, Woody, Odysseus

      and why not? Her constituent service is top-notch, she has a lot of clout in Congress (even more so if we can pull off a Democratic upset in the House), and she stands, rock-solid, behind her beliefs and principles.

      Kathy Hochul is another matter. I hope she wins, but she's not one of the "more and better Democrats" we root for here at Big Orange. She's trying to triangulate her way to re-election in a GOP-dominated district against a slimy opponent who's trying to tie her to Obama every chance he gets, and she's doing it by running away from Obama and Obamacare herself. I think that's a mistake; the Republicans up here just aren't as ideologically nuts as in much of the rest of the country, and Louise is showing us the way to get moderate Rs to vote D.

      I thought I saw some polling putting Owens up a few points in the North Country, but I can't put a finger on it now.

      If we're going to take the House back, we need some D pickups in New York. The Grimm seat on Staten Island looks like the best bet for that; I'd be thrilled to see Nan Hayworth go, too, of course, but I think the Maffei/Buerkle race is probably the easiest pickup we're going to get in New York this cycle. Could an Obama landslide in New York pull Nate Shinagawa along? That would be a pleasant surprise.

      Intended to be a factual statement.

      by ipsos on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:09:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a lot of people are counting on Maffei (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ipsos, Woody

        to take his seat back from Buerkle and he probably has the best chance of any Democrat to oust a Republican House member this year. The momentum seems to be with Maffei, who was behind by a lot (maybe eight percentage points?) last Spring, but is now either even or four points ahead, according to two recent polls.

        Maffei should be winning hands down, but Buerkle and her co-conspirators are making maximum use of all of that secret, corporate money that is now allowed under Citizens United. It's what allowed Buerkle to steal the election by about 600 votes last time...a massive avalanche of Super PAC money from outside the district in the final few weeks of the campaign. My guess is that that is her strategy again...to let the Koch brothers purchase the seat on her behalf again.

    •  PS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath

      The Republicans hardly had to "heavily recruit" Maggie to run. She's been gearing up for this for years, which is why I fear a 2012 defeat won't dent her much; she'll just take her warchest and gear up again for 2014.

      Intended to be a factual statement.

      by ipsos on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:10:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Redistricting (0+ / 0-)

      The Senate didn't draw the Congressional lines; a judge did.  And they were drawn as well as anyone could have expected; Hochul's district had to get more red, absent the ridiculous 2002-esque gerrymandering.

  •  A word of caution re: Siena polls (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, wdrath

    their track record is not that good in my unscientific observation of them the last 8 years here in NY. They had Gillibrand down big and she won. They had Murphy down and he won and the next time they had him up and he lost. They are not always wrong and I suspect Slaughter is winning but they are wrong often enough for me to want outside confirmation of their numbers.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:03:42 PM PDT

    •  I'm glad you gave some love to Nate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ipsos

      Since I've been confused about how a guy like Tom Reed that was a double or triple dealer at the font of politics (Mayor of Corning while at the same time working as legal representation for multiple jurisdictions in the Elmira-Corning area) got the support of the TP types. Granted, he's only in the House due to the Massa meltdown and the D's not having anyone in reserve that was viable.

      •  The way that district is now drawn (0+ / 0-)

        I fear a Republican ham sandwich could probably win it walking away. I would love to see some polling - any polling at all - to see if Nate's retail ground game is making a difference. The district is such a big sprawling mess with no dominant media presence that good retail politics could make a difference.

        Intended to be a factual statement.

        by ipsos on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:27:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the district is a bit more difficult (0+ / 0-)

          than before,  since only a D with strong military creds pushed forward by the tailwinds of Obama could win the district as it was previously configured (Keep in mind that Amo Houghton had the seat for about 25 years before Randy Kuhl.) Replacing Henrietta, Perinton, and Pittsford with Tompkins County doesn't help Tom Reed much. At the same time, I'm with you on the media side of it, since only the Elmira market is exclusive to the district, requiring you to buy into the  pricier Buffalo and Rochester markets (for litle results) to get any eyeballs. You imght be better off running a campaign that uses a lot of radio, since your penetration into the individual markets can be much more focused than using TV.

          •  er..might (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ipsos

            But you're right, it's gonna take a really good ground game, and someone that can work the west end of the district as well as both of these guys can get votes in the eastern end (Reed in Elmira-Corning and Nate in Ithaca and the surrounding communities). Otherwise, I'm not too sure who the D's would have in reserve for two years down the road, unless Nate is running this time to get his name out there for future runs, since the only other guy I could see running as a D (Dominic Frongillo)  is even more obscure (mainly due to being from a really small community at the eastern end of the district.)

          •  huh... I just said the opposite (0+ / 0-)

            by the raw electoral numbers it is more friendly to a Democrat then the old 29th. Still a Republican friendly district but more Democratic friendly then the old one.

            "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

            by Andrew C White on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:05:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I meant difficult for an R. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Andrew C White, ipsos

              Ithaca and Tompkins County replacing the southern suburbs of Rochester was not a good thing for someone like Reed.

              •  Ah! Ok. I wondered (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ipsos

                if perhaps you had transposed that because your argument seemed to be agreeing. :)

                "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

                by Andrew C White on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 07:21:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I will admit... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Andrew C White

                  that my attention to the Reed district has waned now that I'm being redistricted out of it. (Not that he ever gave half a hoot about my end of the district up here in Monroe County anyway.)

                  Unless Nate can pull phenomenal voter turnout out of Ithaca and Tompkins County, it just doesn't feel to me like a district that's likely to be at all favorable to a Democrat, any Democrat, over the next decade. There's just too much rural Southern Tier to cover, where the passions may not run Tea Party-hot, but where the natural instinct leans much more toward Amo Houghton than anything on the "D" line.

                  Intended to be a factual statement.

                  by ipsos on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:15:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm over in the old NY-20 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ipsos

                    and new NY-19 district. Mostly rural small town republican. The new district is much friendly to Democrats now that it takes in some of Maurice Hinchey's old district but the old version was not friendly to Democrats at all much like the old NY-29. They were very, very similar districts by the numbers and we managed to elect Gillibrand then re-elect her and then elect Murphy in a special election. So while i agree that districts like Reed's are likely Republican districts I think the trends in upstate New York are clearly moving our way and that old Amo Houghton voters are open to voting for a Democrat of similar type in opposition to a radical right wing Republican.

                    So, while I would compete in the other upstate districts first, I would not hesitate to go after that district once we knock off Buerkle, Hayworth, Hanna and Gibson.

                    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

                    by Andrew C White on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:34:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's not impossible... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...but it takes just the right kind of Democrat, I think. Before his foibles were exposed, Eric Massa was probably in the right mold, what with his military career. Even then, he benefited immensely from Randy Kuhl's incompetence. Tom Reed's bland enough that he's not going to cause much offense to anyone in the district, alas.

                      I don't have easy access to the numbers, but I suspect Crazy Carl Paladino did pretty well in the ex-29th. There were certainly plenty of his signs out there.

                      Intended to be a factual statement.

                      by ipsos on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 06:05:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Re the Southern Tier (0+ / 0-)

                    I wonder if in the future opposition to Fracking is an issue Democrats could use to get some traction in this region.

                    •  Double-edged sword (0+ / 0-)

                      Fracking's a polarizing issue. It can certainly bring out Democratic base voters who might otherwise stay home. But the pro-fracking side has plenty of passion, too. New York's Southern Tier is the northern end of Appalachia, and its cities and towns have been as economically battered as any in the country. The appeal of fracking dollars is pretty strong, and understandably so.

                      Intended to be a factual statement.

                      by ipsos on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 06:08:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The tradeoff, thought (0+ / 0-)

                        is that you also have the potential of windfarms being able to be viable in large parts of the district, due to the hilly terrain. The problem with this, based on my experience as a planner working with communities in Upstate, is that there are some issues that bring out the environmentalists related to bird and bat kills and the potential damage to viewsheds in some areas where the scenic beauty is prized.

                  •  I live in SC now, but grew up in the Ithaca area (0+ / 0-)

                    So I have heard about Nate second hand. It is going to be a tough road for him to hoe, unless he is able to also reach out to the student population at some of the other schools in the district, as well as get the traditional Democrat vote. The problem is that he is/will be seen as someone from Ithaca, and would, as a result, be perceived as too much of a flaming liberal for the blue dog Reagan Democrats in places like Jamestown, Olean, Hornell, and Elmira.

        •  Actually the new district (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ipsos

          is more friendly to Democrats then the old 29th. It is still one of the two most Republican friendly districts but then so is the rural potion of western NY so it's appropriate.

          "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

          by Andrew C White on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:03:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd love to see some other polling, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, Andrew C White

      but the crosstabs here all look at least very plausible. The 53/39 Obama/Romney number looks spot-on for this district, and so do the city/suburban breakdowns. The real question in this district will be the size of Obama's coattails. If enough city voters turn out to vote for Obama, they'll vote for Louise, too. And thankfully, we don't have much to worry about in NY when it comes to voter suppression skewing those numbers.

      Intended to be a factual statement.

      by ipsos on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:25:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree these numbers seem reasonable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ipsos

        unlike some of the others I've seen from them. This is a district a Democrat should win consistently if not handily and especially someone like Louise with strong name recognition.

        I just don't rely on Siena by itself.

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:01:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Love for Louise here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ipsos

    I believe that Amtrak's biggest problem is the acute nationwide shortage of it.

    Louise Slaughter has worked hard to get dollars and energy focused on improving the important Amtrak route thru Upstate New York.

    The Empire Corridor includes the long distance Amtrak train Lake Shore Limited, from Chicago to NYC (with cars detached at Albany to go to Boston.) It also carries the Maple Leaf, to Toronto from NYC.

    It has two daily trains running Niagara Falls-Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse-Utica-Rome-Schenectady-Albany-NYC (taking 9 1/2 hours, btw).

    The section along the Hudson River carries the Adirondack to Montreal, and the Ethan Alan into Vermont, as well as a couple more turns NYC-Albany.

    These trains all do OK, but just OK, and they could do much, much better with enuff investment to add more trains and speed them up. Louise Slaughter has been pushing and pushing hard to make them better.

    The last time jobs/stimulus money was passed out for work on the trains, regular Amtrak or HSR, the State of New York was caught flat-footed. The few projects we got funded were due in some large part to Louise Slaughter.

    The next time there is money to upgrade passenger trains, in New York State or across the country, Louise Slaughter will be there with a Democratic majority in the House. Or it won't happen.

    •  Amen! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody

      I have become a more frequent user of the Empire Corridor in recent years, but I'd be a very frequent user indeed if those trains weren't plagued with the delays that are inherent to sharing their tracks with freight. Louise has been in the forefront of fixing that - and getting money for a new station to replace our dilapidated "Amshack" here in downtown Rochester, too.

      Intended to be a factual statement.

      by ipsos on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:50:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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