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Official portrait of Rep. Bill Owens (D)
Rep. Bill Owens (D)
In another blow to Democratic hopes of retaking the House, Upstate New York Rep. Bill Owens has announced that he'll retire at the end of this term. Owens hadn't been in Congress very long: He first won a crazy special election in 2009, picking up a GOP-held seat when the Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, dropped out days before the election and endorsed Owens over Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. Owens narrowly prevailed, and that would become a theme for him in subsequent elections.

In fact, his first victory margin—all of 2.4 percent—was his widest. In both 2010 and 2012, he won by less than 2 percent. A big reason for that is the district's demographics: New York's 21st went for Barack Obama by a rather close 52-46 spread in 2012, though it's slowly been trending toward Democrats overall. Owens also found himself in the midst of an ethical imbroglio last cycle over a lobbyist-arranged trip to Taiwan, and Republicans hammered him for it. However, he still hung on, and last year, the House Ethics Committee dropped its inquiry into the matter.

Still, Owens was set to face yet another hard-fought race this year against businesswoman and former Bush aide Elise Stefanik, and that may have been enough to send him to the exits. Now, his departure will likely make it harder for Democrats to hold this seat, particularly since the party's bench in this area is not especially deep. However, as we alluded above, Owens did run behind Obama last time, so a new candidate might offer some upside. And Stefanik might suddenly find herself with company in the GOP primary, now that the seat is open.

But as a result of Owens' unexpected decision to call it quits, we're changing our rating on this race from Lean Democrat to Tossup.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 09:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

    by David Nir on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 09:52:30 AM PST

  •  Calling this a toss-up may be (7+ / 0-)

    a bit of a stretch.

    Owens was the first Democrat elected to represent this area in Congress since the Civil War era, and he only won the seat due to the fact that he had two Republicans on the ballot (one as a conservative candidate) in both his first and second elections. Amazingly, he won in 2012 against just one Republican candidate, though it was the same Republican nominee on the ballot in 2010 (a vulture capitalist with a lot of baggage).

    In all honest, this seems like a likely Republican pickup at this point.

    However...the worst thing of all...is what people refer to as the "optics" of this retirement. There have been a string of unexpected retirement announcements from Democrats lately. Republicans will likely start a new talking point to try to bolster their chances for November: Democrats are so scared of their position heading into the November elections, that they're dropping like flies.
    (And, it's beginning to worry me, too.)

    •  It depends on the nominees (15+ / 0-)

      Obama won this district twice, getting 52% in 2012, so I dont think you can call it likely GOP yet.

      Stefanik's main political experience is as a domestic policy adviser to George W. Bush.

      If she is the nominee and Dems can get Darrel Aubertine in the race, then I think it's definitely tossup, maybe lean D.

      And there have been unexpected retirements on both sides. GOP has seen Latham, Runyan, Wolf, and others decline to run for re-election.

      •  Aubertine would be great.... (6+ / 0-)

        ...he would probably be the strongest. However, as someone who happens to have close connections to NY-21...perhaps President Obama carried the district the way that it's currently carved up (it's my understanding that this was made a little more Democratic in redistricting)...but this district is still composed of heavily Republican areas with an overwhelming number of elected Republican officials.

        Aubertine would be one of the strongest nominees that Democrats could put up; however...he did lose his last Senate race to a Republican.

        •  fair points (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wdrath, LordMike, Aquarius40, ramesh

          Of McIntrye, Matheson and Owens, retirement by Owens is probably the most difficult for Dems, since I think the other two were very likely to lose, and nationals Dems probably werent going to spend a lot of money there.

        •  It was 2010 (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wdrath, LordMike, James Allen, AlexDrew

          And again, it's much harder to win local elections in areas that are shifting their voting allignment nationally, than it is to win a federal election.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:39:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  This district has been moving in a "D" direction (10+ / 0-)

      My husband was born in Plattsburg and still has family in Mooers and Mooers Forks. His relatives contend that although Obama carried the district by only 6 points, Clinton would have carried the district by 10-12 points. It is a very white district with a significant number of older Ds who has difficulty supporting Obama.

      I agree with the poster who said if Aubertine gets in the race it should be rated "lean D". Stefanik has zero cross-over appeal and the Republican party in the ditrict is still fractured.

    •  Mike McIntyre's seat (8+ / 0-)

      hasn't been represented by a Republican since the 19th century, if ever, and nobody's citing that as an argument in favor of it staying Democratic.  So the historic argument doesn't hold water.

      We'll have to see how the candidate selection develops, and this is a seat where that could make a difference; if the GOP nominates a candidate too far to the right, something activist groups will demand, that increases the chance of a good Democrat winning.  (I think Owens might never have been elected if Dick Armey/Freedomworks, Sarah Palin, etc. hadn't butted their ugly heads into the 2009 race.)

      And is being a George W. Bush aide really the sort of credential that would send a Democratic incumbent scurrying for the exits in advance of a guaranteed loss?  I don't think so.

      38, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:21:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This area has been changing very fast (15+ / 0-)

      The district's core, the strip of counties consisting of St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Clinton counties, have been increasingly Democratic over the years, and Essex has had the strongest trend of all. I made a note of this before, but let me outline it again.

      In 1998 Chuck Schumer won 54% of the vote, yet lost St. Lawrence 57-40, Essex 69-29, Franklin 63-36, and Clinton 69-29. This was a typical result for a state election, even though President Clinton managed to narrowly win Franklin with 51%, Essex with 46.5%, Clinton with 53%, and St. Lawrence with 56.7% of the vote.

      Now the 2010 Attorney General race is even more downballot than Senate, (and a good example to see where local voting still differs from national voting), and the margin was similar to the 1998 Senatorial race. Yet (and consider also the dynamics of the 2010 Republican headwind and the fact that Schneiderman is very liberal), look at the difference in voting in those four counties. Schneiderman won St. Lawrence 54-45, Clinton 52-47, and Franklin 52-47, and only lost Essex 51-47. Not even Thomas DiNapoli's comptroller opponent was able to take a majority of the vote in Clinton, Franklin, or St. Lawrence,  despite getting over 46% of the vote statewide.

      Democrats have a very high floor in these counties up and down the ballot now. Obama's voting percentage was slightly better in 2012 in almost every single county within this district, which is counter to the national trend between the two elections. In fact, there was a full 3 point shift in Essex, a 1 point shift in Clinton, and a 2 point shift in Franklin. Up to 58%, 61%, and 62% respectively. That in itself is a big turn aroung from Kerry, who just barely won Clinton and Franklin and lost Essex. And these four counties are nothing to sneeze at; they account for 100,000 votes, and around 60% of the districts population and they are all approaching parity with the state in terms of their typical voting percentage, and New York is a very Democratic state.

      I think it's entirely too short-sighted to turn and look and say that because the district and region was only ever represented by Republicans, they are now favored in picking it up. No Republican has ever won McIntyre's district. Yet now it's a safe-bet for them to pick up. Now NY-23 is not nearly as Democratic in Presidential elections as NC-07 is Republican, but it is steadily becoming more Democratic as the region realigns, and obviously, local elections take longer for this to filter too, driven by parochial concerns and geography (the Republican party has long maintained a grip on the upstate by exerting their parties independence from NYC).

      Democrats have a few good candidates. The only way I could see Republicans putting this seat away is if former Representative John McHugh suddenly decided to attempt a comeback.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:37:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if there is one advantage Democrats may have (3+ / 0-)

        ...it's that this is a large, sprawling district, area-wise and geographically (bordered on the west by the St. Lawrence, on the east by Lake Champlain and the north by Canada). So...most elected Republican officials in that area are not necessarily widely known throughout the entire district.

        It will be interesting to see whether any additional Republicans suddenly become interested now that Owens is retiring...and what top-tier Democrats might want to run.

      •  Prior to the 2010 redistricting... (4+ / 0-)

        Warren and Washington Counties were both represented by Kirsten Gillibrand and briefly by Scott Murphy. And we have been steadily drifting into the Dem fold with Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and other big league Democrats carrying these two counties on a rather consistent basis. Don't count us out of the equation.

        "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

        by RonV on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:50:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Warren and Washington have gone (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terjeanderson

          from being counties that reliably voted 2:1 Republican in all competitive races to actually being won twice by Obama, and even Kerry kept things closer there than many Democrats had in the past. Gillibrand established herself well, and Murphy did get quite in his base of Warren; any hints of him wanting a comeback, as I think he'd be a good candidate for the Washington-Warren-Saratoga portion of the district, and would be able to hold on to the big margins out of Essex-St. Lawrence-Franklin-Clinton, which is essentially the winning strategy for Democrats.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 05:58:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  At least (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinto Pony, LordMike

    a lot of these Democrats are announcing their retirement now, as opposed to a few months from now. It makes it easier to deal with.

    You're a Constitutional conservative. I'm a Constitutional conservative. Who isn't a Constitutional conservative? We are all proud Constitutional conservatives. Ted Cruz in 2016!

    by bjssp on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:15:17 AM PST

  •  This is a real shocker... (7+ / 0-)

    Bill Owens is pretty popular here in this district. Reelection would be a guarantee, but he would definitely be favored to win, even against Stefanick. I can't see her causing Owens to run for the exits.

    I would say that now the district is a likely R pick-up. Maybe if Darrel Aubertine runs (he has been spinning his wheels in state ad appointments) there is a chance of a D hold. Otherwise, I can't think of any district Dem pols that have enough local support to overcome the lean of the District.

    Addie Russell (a D state assemblyperson) would be a fine Congressman, but I am skeptical that she would be popular enough district-wide. Moreover, she supported Cuomo's gun law (NYSAFE), and that is an unpopular enough law among a segment of the population to really bring out the nasty opposition.

    •  Lean Republican (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NorthCountryNY, LordMike

      would be my assessment of this seat at this point. Of course, everyone who is saying that it depends on who the nominees are is correct, as well (although that almost always applies...pretty much everywhere).

      Republicans are likely prepared to invest a lot of money into this seat.

      •  Not "pretty much everywhere" (0+ / 0-)

        Much of the House is so gerrymandered, and the districts so polarized, that sucky candidates can probably prevail in the majority of districts simply because of the D or R on the ballot.  Of course, NY-21 isn't one of those districts.

        38, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

        by Mike in MD on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:25:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see this as an R pick-up (8+ / 0-)

      Other Ds that could give Stefanick a run for her money include Sarah Rowden and John Gallagher. Clinton County is pretty solidly D. Franklin is definitely redder but there is a big split between Chamber and Tea Party types in the more conservative parts of the district. That split would help any Democratic candidate.

      A Democratic candidate doesn't need to overcome the lean of the district. It has been trending D for the last decade. A sucessful candidate needs only to accelerate the existing trend.

    •  I really don't see how Owens was that popular (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      He consistently underperformed Obama, Schumer, Cuomo and Gillibrand, the later three by large margins (and they are what I would call "popular").

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:41:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well look at your comaprison (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10

        Owens alway faced better candidates (with 3rd parties playing real roles) for this district than either Obama/Clinton/Gillibrand/Schumer ever did.  Of course he'd underperform them.

        "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

        by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:51:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't consider Hoffman or Doheny (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terjeanderson, James Allen

          top tier candidates, nor great fits for the district.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:56:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well you'd be wrong (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NorthCountryNY, RonV, sulthernao

            They were both okay fits, hence why both almost won.  They wer eboth better fits than Mitt Romney or any competitors faced by Dems in Statewide and Federal races recently, which is the whole point.

            The district is trending blue for top ticket races because the top ticket races are lost causes in NY.  The more local you get, the redder the voting.  It's why there is not a great Dem bench in the area.

            Saying someone isn't great because they are underperforming the Cuomo's and Schumer's of the world is apples and oranges at best.  Schumer faces random GOP candidate and Owens faces Matt Doheny, of course Owens is going to underform.

            "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

            by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:19:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Look at those holding local offices in Clinton (0+ / 0-)

              Franklin or Essex County and then tell me again that the Ds lack a bench.

              •  Dems lack a good bench (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RonV

                The combined total vote totals of Clinton/Essex/Franklin were baely 25% of the total districts votes in 2012.  Dems have next to nothing in Washington or Warren, and the district doesn't include enough of Saratoga for a county-wide officeholder from Saratoga to run in NY-21.

                We can win, but it certainly won't be due to some amazing elected bench Dems have in these areas.  It simply doesn't exist...our bench isn't in the elected positions. I don't think this district has elevated an existing officeholder for a very long time.  I don't recall Owens/Gillibrand/Murphy/Sweeney having held elective office before but I could be wrong.  

                A win is predicated on a good Dem candidate (though very likely not an existing office-holder) and the GOP not getting anyone good, which I'd bet money they won't.  I really don't get he GOP's erratic behavior in the district, though I do enjoy it.

                I don't know who the Owens/Murphy/Gillibrand will be this time...I'm just pretty sure it's not anyone currently serving as an elected official right now.

                "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

                by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:47:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As an elected Democratic office holder... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terjeanderson

                  in Warren County, I represent your remark!

                  "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

                  by RonV on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 01:49:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're Johnsburg, right? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RonV

                    I grew up in Fort Ann.

                    "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

                    by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 01:51:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yep. And I am not on the bench. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                      "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

                      by RonV on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:04:26 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Sounds to me (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bjssp

                        Like someone wants a draft RonV movement.

                        "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

                        by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:45:09 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Some analysis... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    Here is reaction to the news reported in North Country Public Radio UPDATE: BILL OWENS WILL NOT SEEK REELECTION

  •  Is Doug Hoffman going to run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, Aquarius40

    again? Any other teaparty patriots willing to help the D's?

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:41:08 AM PST

  •  Dede Scozzafava as a Democratic candidate? (11+ / 0-)

    I'm halfway serious.

    She's working in the Cuomo administration now. But her former party ID and geographic base in the centre of the district might help her in a general election campaign.

    She's fairly liberal on social questions, tied to labour, and was viewed as a good legislator.

    Besides, Kos backed her (over Owens) in the special election... maybe this time he'd support her running as a Democrat?

    Aubertine and Russell come to mind first, but there might be reasons for neither of them to run... if so, Scozzafava might be a decent option.  

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:41:14 AM PST

    •  Why not be completely serious? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      She doesn't have to be a first choice to be completely acceptable, and I doubt many in the party would find her unacceptable.

      You're a Constitutional conservative. I'm a Constitutional conservative. Who isn't a Constitutional conservative? We are all proud Constitutional conservatives. Ted Cruz in 2016!

      by bjssp on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:53:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That was really a WTF moment by Kos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      But I have heard worse suggestions than this one.

    •  If anybody thinks Kos (0+ / 0-)

      has that much influence in that district, they are crazy.

      •  I don't think he has any influence in the district (0+ / 0-)

        He didn't back during that special election, and he doesn't now.

        What he does have some influence over is how the netroots views contests like this - and thereby channeling donations, volunteer energy and some media spin.

        Kos' endorsement of Scozzafava did mean that some left leaning activists were hostile to Owns (Kos was extremely critical of Owens as some kind of BlueDog/DINO type). It also may have slightly influenced press coverage of the race - sending a message that Scozzafava was a liberal Republican, and hence unacceptable to the party base.

        Kos' endorsement if Scozzafava back then was a bizarre moment for a guy dedicated to the mantra of "more and better Democrats".  But it certainly wasn't something that made any difference to voters in the North Country of New York.

        But it would be ironic if it turned out he was just 5 years ahead of his time.

        My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

        by terjeanderson on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 01:33:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dede Scozzafava part of Cuomo's Cabinet... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, RonV

      I am guessing it has now crossed Gov. Andy Cuomo's mind to encourage Scozzafava to jump in a Democrat candidate now. She is part of his adminsitration, representing his outreach to the North County: Gouverneur's Dede Scozzafava, now member of Gov. Cuomo's cabinet, to deliver regional state of state message in Massena today

      I am sure the Governor would like nothing better than to have a Congressman in Washington beholden to him. However, I don't think Dede Scozzafava is that great a candidate  - not just on her moderate Republicrat views, but also on her ability to run a contested major campaign. Moreover, I don't think she is all that popular where she is known, and she is an unknown over most of the district. Her name will be floated, and she may stand for the primaries, but she will only get the nomination if Cuomo twists arms and writes checks. And (depending on the candidate) I would rate her a weak candidate in the general.

      •  Randy Douglas... (0+ / 0-)

        Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors might be a possibility.

        My former assemblywoman, Theresa Sayward could be a possibility as she also endorsed Owens even though she is a republican. But then again, she has a bit of scandal behind her.

        "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

        by RonV on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:02:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Owens was hardly the best Democrat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, terjeanderson, madmojo, PinHole

    voting against the minimum wage requirement is to me, something that's proven not to be a political loser anywhere by ballot initiatives. But beyond that, I didn't see things in following his campaigns that displayed a great deal of talent for politics. Owens did not appear to be a very good politician, and indeed had no real experience in politics before he was picked (at the time more as a sacrificial lamb to the popular Schozzafava, a broadly moderate Republican in the upstate's more traditional vein) to run in the special election. He never had the sort of base and established regional connections that a polician running on the federal level needs to have to become entrenched; even after 2 competitive reelection campaigns Owens didn't appear to built the rapport needed, nor to have spent time and money boosting the local Democratic party apparatuses on a county by county basis.

    I don't think 2014 will be a bad time for NY Democrats. Cuomo will likely dominate, Schneiderman won't get a qualified opponent this time and will dominate, and all the state Republican resources are going to be tied up into holding the State Senate.

    "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

    by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:49:01 AM PST

    •  I am not sure why you say this.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV

      At least out here in the northwestern part of his district, Owens maintained good constituent services, and was was constantly in the news doing something locally. In general, he was seen as a pretty middle-of-the-road, mainstreet Congressman who worked well with Republicans as well as Democrats. Really a Democrat version of the popular former Congressman John McHugh.

      It did take some time for him to become familiar and 'prove himself' to constituents in the district. It appears to me that he is now at that point - he would need to campaign, but would be a pretty sure bet for reelection. I agree with NCPR's Brian Mann on that.

      •  Agreed. (5+ / 0-)

        He was everywhere and readily accessible in this huge district. In fact he called me to congratulate me on my re-election last year. We knew each other a bit, but taking the time to called a small town official like that? He was certainly paying attention to detail (and that;s not the only time he called me...) Even some of the Republicans I work with at both the town and county level respected him and his political savvy.

        He was a breath of fresh air for a county who had preciously been represented by Gerald Solomon and John Sweeney.

        "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

        by RonV on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:35:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He may not be 'the best Democrat' (6+ / 0-)

      but he is probably the best Democrat that is electable in this congressional district. He is more progressive than Darrel Aubertine, for instance.

    •  Cuomo will dominate. The only question is, by (0+ / 0-)

      how much? If Trump manages to get the nomination, I could see the Republicans failing to get 30 percent.

      You're a Constitutional conservative. I'm a Constitutional conservative. Who isn't a Constitutional conservative? We are all proud Constitutional conservatives. Ted Cruz in 2016!

      by bjssp on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:09:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't understand your critique of Owens (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, ArkDem14

      My connections in Clinton and Franklin Counties thought he was wonderful, holding frequent meeting with constituents, attending local Democratic dinners and functions and just generally doing what a rep needs to to build rapport.

      •  building up support with Democratic activists at (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ArkDem14

        dinners can get you some volunteers, maybe, but it doesn't help you with swing voters and being popular outside of the Democratic base, which is necessary in a marginal district like this.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:36:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This was just my impression (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen

        What I thought more important for Owens was to help fund the expansion of some of the local Democratic parties. Again, we have a reverse deep south phenomena here, where there is a large Republican voting registration edge, and the local Democratic parties are inexperienced and still under-developed on a county level. Perhaps I was being unfair and judging him according to Gillibrand, who wins over every crowd and every group she comes into contact with through her charisma and knowledge on whatever parochial issue is important to them. Gillibrand as a congresswoman was everywhere in NY-20; farming groups, veteran's groups, you name it. She got their priorities noticed in Congress, and won them over very quickly, winning 2:1 in 2008 despite facing a legitimate and well-funded opponent in Sandy Treadwell.

        "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

        by ArkDem14 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:07:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nobody is mentioning the 2014 factor (0+ / 0-)

    This is a president's second midterm.  And,...this president is not all that popular and doubtful will be in 2014, after the GOP runs against him in 50 states, and he can't defend himself by doing what he does best, Campaigning.

    I'm not expecting 2010, but this guy underperformed Obama by a wide margin in a year when Obama won by landslide.  Unless the GOP screws this up by nominating a fire-breather, or splits the vote with a third party candidate, this seat is a GOP pick-up.

  •  Anthony Weiner is a SUNY-Plattsburgh grad (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe he could go back and try for a comeback.

    :)

  •  Owens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian

    Democrats will lose this seat because many of us are too lazy to get off our butts and vote in an off year election. This is why Republicans control the House and so many Governorships.

    •  Owens managed to win in 2010. (7+ / 0-)

      D in FL at the SSP.

      by Avedee on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:25:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No likely in this district (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      We are not talking about depending on inner city turnout or even a large presidential youth vote that disappears in an off year. Look at the census data on the district and past turnout.

      Turnout has not been a problem but underrvoting has impacted down-ballot races. That is an easier problem to adddress in a campaign.

      •  Great point! (0+ / 0-)

        This district is also getting some spillover from Vermont, there were counties in this district that actually trended Dem from 08 to 12.

        In this district, Dems need to persuade Independents instead of focusing on turnout, the turnout is here but the Independents need to not go to the Republican side.

        The problem is that this area is traditionally Republican downballot.

        For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog http://racesandredistricting.blogspot.com/ CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

        by Alibguy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:17:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  NorthCountryNY is the only one to mention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NorthCountryNY

    a factor which will be important in getting out the Repiglican, TP vote - NYSAFE Act.  It has totally whipped up the rural & suburban counties of upstate NY into a lather of hating the Democrats.

    County sheriffs have come out saying they will not enforce it.  
    It won't make a difference for the entire state - Cuomo will win as Gov - but it will influence local and regional elections.  

    We are "Sitting in the middle of it"   There are 11 housing units on my road.  Nine of them have "Repeal NY SAFE Act" signs by the road or on their front doors.  Every week, the local weekly has a column or LTE decrying the loss of liberty and one's Gawd-given-right to bare arms.  

    The early 20's kid next door, has on his FBk page his Favorite Things:  Weapons.  

    How would you like to live next to THAT ?!?!

    •  Exactly right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PinHole

      IF the SAFE Act becomes an issue in this race, THEN there is no way any Dem will win this race.  This is the North Country after all.  Lots of hunting, and it's not just Republicans who are riled up, rural nominal Democrats are not happy and this single issue could end up tilting them to the Republican.

      NY-22 (old and new)

      by elucas730 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:58:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Moran(D) Virginia retiring? (0+ / 0-)

    Lots of twitter activity with that rumor

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