Skip to main content

This diary is an attempt to understand how we managed to miss a very competitive race in NY-23 and blow a chance of gaining another seat in the recent elections. For 2013/2014 the many and varied DKE commentators carefully list the seats that they think are competitive CA-31 etc. However, when we did these for the last elections I think we all stuffed up by not paying closer attention to NY-23 which surprised us all.

NOTE: I do not in this diary really discuss the upcoming race in the district or the Dems  great candidate, Martha Robertson who outraised Reed in the 4th quarter there will be a follow on diary for that.

NY-23, is the southern tier of Upstate New York and saw 29th District incumbent, Tom Reed (40yrs) challenged by Nate Shinagawa (28yrs). While listed as an Emerging Race by the DCCC, all major pundits had it at Safe Republican... And most had it at Safe Republican long before the adjoining NY-22 was listed as such... Despite that district being more conservative than NY-23 and having a popular moderate incumbent in apostate Richard Hanna.

Then a month before the election a poll came out of nowhere showing a 5% race with Reed just falling short of 50%... At the time I thought that this was a desperate last gasp attempt for some money... And since the race was no longer competitive it was not on the fundraising lists ensuring I missed the late increase in cash for Shinagawa.

So how competitive was it ?


The NY-23 Candidates

Info Nate Shinagawa (DEM) Tom Reed (GOP)
Photo Photobucket Photobucket
Job Vice Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature / Guthrie Health Administrator. Incumbent (Former Mayor of Corning / Lawyer)

How Competitive was NY-23 ?

Factor Details
Polling There was only one publicly released poll on the race (22nd October) which showed Reed below the magic 50% level with 49.7% to Shinagowa's 44.7% and 5.6% undecided. Interestingly the poll had an almost dead even 3 way split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents, despite the Republicans having a 30,000 registration advantage over the Dems. I dismissed the poll at the time, due to a lack of prior polling and the seemingly convenient figure of 49.7% assigned for Reed (looked like the poll was trying to show a path to victory). The poll did however ominously showed a 10% decrease in Obama voters.
NY-23 The seat is half Appalachian, so Democrats have always struggled to get a majority in the seats in this area. Allegany County was one of two (?) counties that voted against Gillibrand in the 2012 senate race (Wyoming in NY-27 also voted against her. However there seems to be a fairly high floor to go with the low ceiling, as Tompkins County is a reliable source of Dem votes, and the Finger Lakes region seems to be trending Democratic
The Candidate Shinagowa was probably a fairly strong Democratic candidate given that this seat is historically Republican, and there is a fairly non-existent bench for the Dems in the area. He seems to be backed by Progressives and prominent elected Asian Americans. While there may have been better candidates out there, he certainly seemed like someone who could give Reed a good race.
The Opposition Reed, whilst conservative, certainly seems saner than the average Republican congressman. He represented 54% of the district after winning the special election to replace Massa.
The Ballot Weirdly Shinagawa outperformed the top of the ticket in two counties, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus... not sure why. Or it is more correct to say that Reed didn't get all the Romney voters in these two districts. Obama won Tompkins and Seneca Counties whereas Shinagowa only won Tompkins (fairly similar margin too). So Shinagawa performed fairly similar to Obama, albeit slightly worse and with some noticeable but still fairly minor differences in performance in some counties. Reed had the Independence nod and this was good for 5,750 votes (the winning margin was 10,014).
So Is It Competitive ? NY-23 is very definitely competitive, with the addition of Ithaca to the district giving the Dems a valuable stronghold of fundraising support and reliable Dem voters. With Massa winning the Appalachian county of Cattaraugus, it shows that voters are no longer rock solid Republican (albeit Massa was a fairly conservative Dem who voted against ACA). But the real key it seems to winning in a good Dem year was that Massa out raised incumbent Randy Kohl in their rematch, thus attracting strong support. But yeah the district has a Republican registration advantage and Steuben County is a good stronghold to match Tompkins for the Dems.
So How Did We Miss It ? Still not really sure... Basically the collective wisdom was that there is no such thing as a Safe Republican New York seat, but NY-23 was generally ranked by everybody as being the second safest Republican seat. Shinagawa was seen as... well no one mentioned him or the race very much. It seems like a lack of fundraising early on and losing $$ winning the primary doomed Shinagawa to invisibility. Sienna Research polled all of the competitive races, which did not include NY-23 (or so we thought) which also seemed to indicate that they didn't think it worthwhile. NY-29 didn't have a strong Democratic bastion like Ithaca, but even so Eric Massa managed to give incumbent Randy Kuhl a close race in 2006 before winning in 2008 (albeit both strong Dem years). When the late poll showing a close race came out, I thought it was a desperate measure and dismissed it (did you ?).
Way Forward I think the Obama 2008 path to victory is the way forward - we are likely to have an Ithaca or at least Thompkins County candidate who needs to max out Thompkins County, win in Ontario and Seneca Counties and try and get Chautauqua or at least level it. Not sure if there is a good Chautauqua candidate that could compete in the primary ? Not only that but I think that a loyal democrat (ie will vote for Pelosi and praise President Obama) could win this district, maybe they will not be able to vote ultra progressive, but hey I dont think we need to recruit another Eric Massa here !
For those not reading the Long Version, please let me know if you have any further info on the district (eg. any old Swing State Project diaries). Any and all feedback appreciated.



NY-23 is a rural district with some small cities (Jamestown, Ithaca, Elmira and Geneva) that is located in the Southern Tier region and the Finger Lakes region of Western New York.

NY-23 is ranked as the 24th most Democratic seat out of the 27 New York Congressional Districts with only NHY22-Hanna, NY-11-Grimm and NY-27-Collins considered more Republican.

2008 Presidential Results (new 23rd): 49.58% (Obama)/48.77% McCain
As you can see the Southern Tier region is very red, while Tompkins County is bright blue with the Finger Lakes region and coastal parts of Chautauqua County being competitive.

Senator 2008-2010 Results: 57.02% Schumer / 41.28% Townsend
Governor 2008-2010 Results: 47.48% Cuomo / 48.36% Paladino
Comptroller 2008-2010 Results: 36.25% Di Napoli / 59.00% Wilson
Attorney General 2008-2010 Results: 43.69% Scheniderman / 55.04% Donovan
Senator 2008-2010 Results: 54.78% Gillibrand / 42.94% DioGuardio

Population: 717,707
Voting Age Population: 562,496
Demographics: 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Hispanic, 2% Asian
Voter Registration: 446,348 (Total) consisting of 401,258 (Active) & 45,090 (inactive)
Party Registration:

Redistribution: 54.26% (old 29th-Reed), 18.80% (old 27th-Higgins), 16.72% (old 24th-Hanna), and 10.23% (old 22nd-Hinchey).
The figure below shows the new NY-23 compared to the old NY-29 (Green is common to both, with blue = areas not in NY-29 and orange = areas not in NY-23
Please Note: The Monroe section of the old NY-29 is not drawn accurately.

NY-23 Counties

County Region County Largest City County Seat Control
Allegany Southern Tier Belmont 14R/1 I
Cattaraugus Southern Tier Little Valley 15R / 6D
Chautauqua Niagara & Southern Tier Jamestown Mayville 13R / 6D
Chemung Southern Tier Elmira Elmira 12R / 3D
Ontario (Pt.) Finger Lakes Geneva Canandaigua 14R/6D/1I
Schuyler Finger Lakes Watkins Glen 7R / 1D
Seneca Finger Lakes Waterloo 9R / 5D
Steuben Southern Tier Corning Bath 14R / 3D
Tioga (Pt.) Southern Tier Owego 9R / 0D
Tompkins Finger Lakes Ithaca Ithaca 3R / 11D
Yates Southern Tier Periphery Penn Yan 14R / 0D
There are two counties where only part of the county is in NY-23, most of Tioga and the eastern third of Ontario which includes the city of Geneva. Tioga is nearly entirely within the district (37 of the 49 districts are in NY-23) whereas only the eastern third of Ontario County (40 out of 92 districts) is within the district.  Only two of the counties have County Executives (Chemung and Chautauqua) and both are Republicans (Hat Tip to elucas730 for the County Legislature breakdown).

As you can see from the table below NY-23 is an Obama 2008 district, which he won by 2,499 votes. This included winning 4 of the counties, including a narrow plurality win of Chautauqua by 550 votes.

2008 Presidential Results

County Obama (D) McCain (R) Total % Total
Allegany 7,016 (38.12%) 11,013 (59.83%) 18,406 6%
Cattaraugus 14,307 (43.86%) 17,770 (54.48%) 32,617 11%
Chautauqua 29,129 (49.54%) 28,579 (48.60%) 58,802 19%
Chemung 18,888 (48.81%) 19,364 (50.04%) 38,695 13%
Ontario (Pt.) 10,089 (52.33%) 8,899 (46.16%) 19,281 6%
Schuyler 3,933 (45.73%) 4,542 (52.81 %) 8,600 3%
Seneca 7,422 (50.35%) 7,038 (47.74%) 14,741 5%
Steuben 17,148 (40.92%) 24,203 (57.75%) 41,911 14%
Tioga (Pt.) 7,764 (44.62%) 9,309 (53.50%) 17,400 6%
Tompkins 29,826 (70.09%) 11,927 (28.03%) 42,552 14%
Yates 4,890 (47.57%) 5,269 (51.25%) 10,280 3%
TOTAL 150,412 (49.59%) 147,913 (48.77%) 303,285 100%
As you can see from the table below, Obama only lost the district in the 2012 election by 3353 votes... Not bad given how he went in the rest of Appalachia. So when people list the 17 Obama 2012 districts held by Republicans, don't forget that NY-23 is not far away either ! Where was the biggest difference ? He lost Chautauqua this time, and by a comfortable 4159 votes which was enough to flip the district. He actually did better in the two of the other counties he won, Seneca and Ontario (Part), but a slight dip in the margin for Thompkins County hurt him also

2012 Presidential Results

County Obama (D) Romney (R) Total % Total
Allegany 6,139 (36%) 10,390 (62%) 16,895 6%
Cattaraugus 12,649 (42%) 16,569 (56%) 29,765 11%
Chautauqua 23,812 (45%) 27,971 (53%) 52,686 19%
Chemung 16,797 (48%) 17,612 (50%) 34,947 13%
Ontario - Part 9,393 (54%) 7,751 (44%) 17,496 6%
Schuyler 3,674 (45%) 4,281 (53%) 8,130 3%
Seneca 7,094 (54%) 5,889 (45%) 13,215 5%
Steuben 15,787 (41%) 21,954 (57%) 38,434 14%
Tioga - Part 6,882 (42%) 8,990 (55%) 16,249 6%
Tompkins 27,244 (69%) 11,107 (27%) 39,643 14%
Yates 4,488 (48%) 4,798 (51%) 9,442 3%
TOTAL 133,959 (48.38%) 137,312 (49.59%) 276,902 100%
So how did President Obama lose NY-23 in 2012 after winning it in 2008 ? Basically it was not because Appalachia swung hard against him ! It was losing Chautauqua by 4,159 votes after winning it by 550, and by the Presidents margin of victory in bright blue Thompkins County falling by 1762 votes. With Romney winning by just 3,353 overall, this was enough to flip the district.

2012 vs 2008 Presidential Vote Margins

County Obama (2012) Margin Obama (2008) Margin Change in Obama Margin
Allegany -4,251 -3,997 -254
Cattaraugus -3,920 -3,463 -457
Chautauqua -4,159 550 -4,709
Chemung -815 -476 -339
Ontario - Part 1,642 1,190 452
Schuyler -607 -609 2
Seneca 1,205 384 821
Steuben -6,167 -7,055 888
Tioga - Part -2,108 -1,545 -563
Tompkins 16,137 17,899 -1762
Yates -310 -379 69
TOTAL -3,353 2,499 -5,852
As you can see from the table below, Reed won 10 out of 11 counties, with Shinagawa winning only Tompkins due to bright blue Ithaca. He does of course have greater than 46% in 5 of the 10 other counties.

2012 Congressional Results

County Shinagowa (D) Reed (R) Total % Total
Allegany 5,400 (36%) 9,560 (64%) 14,960 6%
Cattaraugus 11,450 (44%) 14,680 (56%) 26,130 11%
Chautauqua 22,042 (47%) 24,558 (53%) 46,600 19%
Chemung 15,080 (48%) 16,291 (52%) 31,371 13%
Ontario (Pt.) 6,983 (47%) 7,807 (53%) 14,790 6%
Schuyler 3,364 (46%) 3,973 (54%) 7,337 3%
Seneca 5,372 (48%) 5,775 (52%) 11,147 5%
Steuben 13,922 (40%) 20,836 (60%) 34,758 14%
Tioga (Pt.) 5,512 (39%) 8,450 (61%) 13,962 6%
Tompkins 24,264 (70%) 10,201 (30%) 34,465 14%
Yates 4,071 (43%) 4,937 (52%) 9,512 4%
TOTAL 117,055 (48.1%) 126,519 (51.9%) 243,574 100%
The first issue is that there was 33,328 votes difference between this race and the Presidential race... Not sure if this is normal or not. The table below shows where Obama did better / worse than Shinagawa in his much narrower loss... And it shows that despite Obama doing better in 9 counties, once more Chautauqua was a strange exception - there must be a reason for Shinagowa doing better here !

Obama - Shinagowa photo ObamavsShinagowaFinal_zps6c643213.jpg


To determine how competitive NY-23 is, I guess you have to look at lessons learned from NY-29. Before you all groan I know it is a bit embarrassing bringing up Eric Massa... and he fought two close elections in 2006 and 2008 which were very favourable years for Democrats. But... lets face facts, if we want to have a shot at winning the house given the gerrymandering of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan we have got to max out in California and New York.

Whilst only 54% of NY-23 is the old 29th, it is the clear predecessor to the 23rd. NY-29 had a lone blue stronghold in part of Monroe County, similar to the role Tompkins County plays in NY-23.

2006 Election Results - 29th Congressional  District
In 2006, Massa gave Kuhl a close race, although he won only one of the counties. Kuhl was able to win by racking up a large margin in Steuben County to largely cancel Massa's advantage in Monroe County. Kuhl then won all the other counties by solid margins.


2008 Election Results - 29th Congressional  District
In 2008, Massa was able to beat Kuhl by racking up twice the margin in Monroe County as Kuhl had in Steuben County, as well as keeping all of the other counties (aside from blood red Allegany County) close, even winning Appalachian counties Chemung and Cattaraugus.


So upon review of these results, while they are promising in that the Dems won, it has a few flaws, in terms of being a useful strategy moving forward. Shinagawa won Tompkins by the same sort of amount that Massa won the part of Monroe in his district... yet he still lost. To win Massa actually won two Southern Tier counties... the Finger Lakes counties despite normally being less Republican managed to stay red. Competitive Ontario's numbers barely budged. Both Massa and Kuhl were from Steuben County, with Kuhl a former NY State Senator and Steuben County Official and Massa having no prior experience.

With Ithaca in the district it seems unlikely a blue dog will win this district, so it seems we might need to take advantage of presidential turnout. Reed has a strong advantage in Steuben County that is the red equivalent of Tompkins and I am sure he will try and pad his margins in the Appalachian counties going forward... pity there is no more pork barreling or earmarks...




Nate Shinagawa is a fairly strong fundraiser, and while well outraised by Reed, still posted respectable numbers... But certainly below most other Dems in competitive NY races, although he did raise considerable more than Dan Lamb who challenged Hanna in NY-22 (Lamb only raised $300K). Murphy in the 11th got around $100K more.

TOTAL - $698K (Collected), $107K (Cash On Hand), $602K (Spent).
PG2012 - $70K (Raised), $130K (Cash On Hand), $107K (Spent).
3Q2012 - $312K (Raised), $170K (Cash On Hand), $251K (Spent).
2Q2012 - $194K (Raised), $109K (Cash On Hand). $192K (Spent).
1Q2012 - $113K (Raised), $95K (Cash On Hand), $18K (Spent).

So where did Nate (who is not a self funder) raise his cash this cycle ? Well it was mostly though around 85% individual contributions.

Of the other contributions... The late great Senator Dan Inouye's PAC swung $7k Nate's way... not inconsiderable. Mike Honda also sent cash, as did Larson. The unions contributed, as did Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club and a few "Asian" PACs. 5 of the 11 County Democratic Parties in the district sent some cash his way:  Allegany, Steubens, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates.

So in short there was union support, local support and Asian American support in funding the campaign.

Unfortunately winning the primary drained him of cash, prompting DKE to downgrade his race from Lean R to Likely R in August.


Shinagowa actually didn't perform too badly against Reed compared to Obama against Romney. The gap in Tompkins County was pretty small, and he actually did better against Reed than Obama did against Romney in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua (not sure why this is ?). But Obama won Seneca and Shinagawa didn't (wouldn't have changed the election but it is a clear difference).

Certainly it seems that Reed was largely limited to the rump Republican vote, when compared against the other Republicans in Obama Districts. Richard Hanna (won 61% of the vote) ran well ahead of Romney, as did Peter King (58%). The rest of the New York GOP reps essentially won by enough, as opposed to their being a huge % difference between the top of the ballot and the down ballot races.

So while the area may be historically Republican, Reed hasn't demonstrated any cross over appeal yet, and doesn't out perform the top of the ballot much at all.


Nate won the the Working Families ballot line, and was endorsed by Cattaraugus County Democratic Committee, Chautauqua County Democratic Committee, Steuben County Democratic Committee and Tompkins County Democratic Committee and Chemung County Democratic Committee. He was also endorsed by the mayors of Ithaca, Elmira, Dunkirk, Waterloo, Hornell,  Jamestown, and Freedonia.

As reflected in the contributions, Senator Inouye endorsed Nate for NY-23 along with the retiring Maurice Hinchey, Donna Edwards and Raúl Grijalva. I am guessing Nate was not a conservative! Snark.


In the primary, Shinagowa won a three-way race:

Shinagawa, Nate  5,697 (55%)
Burke, Leslie         3,841 (37%)
Dobson, Melissa    0,727 (7%)

After the primary, David Nir made a very nearly prophetic remark about him:

NY-23 (D) is called for Nate "The Great" Shinagawa. He earns the right to take on GOP freshman Tom Reed in November.


I won't go into his various positions on the key issues, but it is fair to say that he is fairly progressive, for example supporting SSM:


Still not really sure... But the primary did him in really. Basically the CW is that there is no such thing as a Safe Republican seat, but NY-23 was generally ranked by everybody as being the second safest Republican seat. Shinagawa was seen as... well no one mentioned him or the race very much. I couldn't find very many diaries on the subject at all, aside from the various DKE Live Digests etc.

It seems like a lack of fundraising early on and losing $$ winning the primary doomed Shinagawa to invisibility. Sienna Research polled all of the competitive races, which did not include NY-23 (or so we thought). Eric Massa managed to give incumbent Randy Kuhl a close race for the old 29th in 2006 before winning in 2008 (albeit both strong Dem years), and this was written off as a lost opportunity to get an entrenched incumbent (ala Owens).


Obama won this seat in 2008, and I believe that is the more likely coalition to win the seat... try to win Seneca and Ontario along with maxing out Tompkins and try for a win in Chautauqua whilst keeping it close in Chemung and Finger Lakes. I just don't think a conservadem could make any inroads into the Southern Tier against Reed, like Massa did to Kuhl but that is just my subjective take on it... nothing to back this up aside from the general shift against the Dems in the greater Appalachian region. Well certainly a Thompkins County / Ithaca based liberal is far less likely to !

Yes it will be tough in a non-presidential year and Reed is likely to be ready for a contest, but I believe we have to make this one of our targeted races over the next two cycles, right up there in the top ten targets. Lets turn this historically Republican stronghold blue !


All feedback is welcome, but please bear in mind that this is a Daily Kos Elections diary, which means that we look at the horse race rather than policy matters.


You may find some of the following resources helpful... they either provided useful information for this diary or were an entertaining read.

NY-23 & Miscellaneous Resources Ready Reckoner

Name Resource/Link
Roll Call EMILY’s List Backs Six House Candidates
Roll Call New York: County Legislator Announces Reed Challenge in 23rd District
Daily Kos Elections (David Jarmen) The closest calls in the 2012 House elections
Daily Kos Elections Really endangered Republicans (and danger zone Democrats)
Daily Kos Elections Daily Kos Elections announces complete set of 2012 presidential results by congressional district
The Ithaca Independent Shinagawa: No 2014 Congressional Run
Daily Kos Elections Complete Redistricting Resources
Daily Kos Elections Daily Kos Elections New York cheat sheet
Wikipedia Nate Shinagawa
Wikipedia Tom Reed
Ballotpedia NY-23 2012 Elections
AFL-CIO NY-23 Poll (22 Oct)
Tom Reed Tom Reed for Congress
Nate Shinagawa Shinagawa for Congress
twohundertseventy Update: NY Special Master Map statistics
David Nir Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2012 House fundraising reports roundup
jeffmd Daily Kos Elections 1Q 2012 House fundraising reports roundup
Race Tracker NY-23 Race
Darth Jeff The Empire State Strikes Back: A Guide to the 2012 Congressional Races in New York
Politico New York Results
Federal Election Commision Committee to Elect Nate Shinagowa
downwithtyranny Tom Reed Has Refused To Disassociate Himself From The Vicious Racism Of His Top Supporters
downwithtyranny personal blog Interview with Nate Shinagawa
Ithaca Journal Reed and Shinagawa Interviews
David Nir New York redistricting: Special master releases draft maps
LATFOR Demographic Research and Reapportionment
Wikipedia New York's 29th Congressional District
Wikipedia Randy Kuhl
Wikipedia Eric Massa
New York State Board of Elections

Originally posted to CF of Aus on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


What is the key strategy going forward ?

29%34 votes
26%30 votes
14%16 votes
5%6 votes
7%8 votes
3%4 votes
10%12 votes
3%4 votes

| 114 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  A lot of work went into this CF of Aus ... (18+ / 0-)

    Thank you. You ask a good question.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:06:37 PM PST

    •  Yes a lot of work (7+ / 0-)

      I'd love to see you analyze Shanna Bellows who is running against Susan Collins for the Senate in Maine like that

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:38:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just wanted to second that... (5+ / 0-)

      there was obviously a Shabba Ranks level trailer load of work, statistical-analytic skill,  patience, and general ownage of specific and contemporary/live update political type knowledge that as someone who is honestly only a few steps above pedestrian in regards to specific races and the significance of said races and  opportunities like this to seat progressive candidates.......I bow deeply at the waist.

      CF of Aus thank you for the work. Seriously, that's not just lip service, you could have chosen a million other things to do with your time. This is part of the hard work, the thankless work. And I don't mean to imply that it lacks the - cough - dignity of work.

      "The 5 O"clock whistles on the clink, the whistle won't blow and whatcha think, my papas still in the factory, cause he don't know what time it happens to be."

      by Meurglys on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:29:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am a lifelong Elmiran. (8+ / 0-)

    While the district tends to vote red, there are actually a lot of liberals living here. For somewhere so red people are also pretty socially liberal. I have had more than one openly LGBT boss.

  •  Excellent diary! (10+ / 0-)

    Thanks for putting all this information together for us.

  •  Ithaca a college town (8+ / 0-)

    For non-New Yorkers, I'll just note that Ithaca is a college tiny city, home to ivy-league Cornell University as well as Ithaca College.   Of course, that's not the only thing that makes it a blue oasis, but it explains a decent portion.  

    •  Every upstate city or town (0+ / 0-)

      with a college is way more liberal than the upstate average.

      Because, generally, more educated people tend to vote Democratic.

      One example among many is Saratoga Springs, where the growth of Skidmore College has helped elect three Democratic mayors in the last  20 years in what had been a GOP bastion.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:43:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No mention of Reed's property tax problems? (8+ / 0-)

    Two now. First time, he paid with campaign funds (oops! wrong checkbook!) second tax bill (school tax?) he paid late. It isn't like he's too busy in Congress to pay those bills and be a good citizen. I believe there were demonstrations in corning and elmira areas.

    Last week or so, FEC filings had Reed ahead of Martha Robertson by like $350K (Ithaca Journal, my local paper I don't subscribe to, so behind a paywall for me).

    Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

    by riverlover on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:40:56 AM PST

  •  There was not as much attention paid to (7+ / 0-)

    Congress in 2012 as should/could have been.
    The Republican clown car sucked up a lot of air and there are only so many hours in a day.
    Besides, there were so many other things needing to get done that an ineffectual House was not a total negative. In the end, 41 votes against the ACA merely kept it on the front burner.
    Getting control of the House in 2014 is critical, if we want to be able to fully focus on the White House in 2016.

    Letting Republicans have two more years to demonstrate their incompetence was not necessarily a bad thing.

    by hannah on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:07:23 AM PST

    •  Hannah - when Bush II got selected I told myself (0+ / 0-)

      in resignation, how much harm could the Republicans do in 4 years?  You know how that played out. We've had no real progress in making the world or our own society a better place for the 99% since then.  We've actually been pushed a few steps backward during the last 12 years, in spite of what Obama has tried to do.  We have a divided nation: while the middle class is fighting in the playground over exaggerated differences the rich kids are stealing our lunch money from our lockers.  

      We want you to terminate the GOP's command. With extreme prejudice. (from "Utopia Soon")

      by oddmike on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:18:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! (8+ / 0-)

    I am so tired of Dems proclaiming we can't win the House in 2014. We can if we focus on this election and not 2016.

    How can Republicans say they love America when they hate Americans so very much?

    by Tchrldy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:42:01 AM PST

  •  I fear that NY-23 (6+ / 0-)

    and other winnable upstate districts will be more difficult than ever because of opposition to the SAFE Act.

    Granted, most of that comes from conservative Republicans who never vote Democratic, but they will be more motivated than usual to turn out against Cuomo.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:55:12 AM PST

    •  Very good point. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, ER Doc, Susan from 29, PinHole, devtob

      I really hope that doesn't stop us from holding on to NY21.

      Acting Assistant Vice Chair of the DKE international cheer squad

      by CF of Aus on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:46:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately this point is correct - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, Mannie

      The Dems want to take away their guns & freedum!  NRA membership in NY has DOUBLED since the SAFE Act.  

      The Conservative & Republican Party gatherings and dinners have made a point of passing out REPEAL the SAFE Act signs - they are virtually posted at every other house & property in my area, which is north of NY-23.    The Conservative Party in my county put out a press release bragging that their recent fund raising dinner attracted more people than it ever has.  

      All the people (8 so far) running against Dan Maffei (NY24) don't just say they are hunters, they make a point of saying they are AVID hunters.  

      As usual some of those voters are misinformed about which legislative body did the dirty deed; but it doesn't matter since Pres Obama tried to get Congress to do something too.

      Many of these people are registered to vote for the first time in years.  

      Cuomo is probably safe, but congressional districts north of Yonkers all the way to Buffalo are not safe.  Turn out in cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany will be very important to off set the rural/suburban vote.  

      •  They are misinformed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole, Mannie

        because the SAFE Act has essentially no impact on hunters.

        But it nonetheless has, with the help of NRA fear-mongering and protest-sponsoring, aroused loud opposition from many upstaters who do not, and have no desire to, own military-style assault rifles.

        FWIW, the aroused are also pissed at downstate Senate Republicans who voted for the SAFE Act.

        A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

        by devtob on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:34:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course 99% of the objection (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CF of Aus, devtob, Mannie

          to the law has no impact on hunters.  But the NRA & similar organizations have whipped people up into a frenzy.

          I think Cuomo thought that once it passed and the sky didn't fall, that these people would just go back under their rocks.  It hasn't happened.  The whole county legislature (mostly Repigs) and head sheriff have come out against it, and the sheriff has said he will not enforce it.  He is not the only sheriff to declare this.  

  •  Definitely interested in this race (6+ / 0-)

    Since I grew up in Caroline (just outside of Ithaca, but votes closer to the Tioga County section of the district). It will be tough if the D's keep running Ithaca candidates, since there is still the perception in most of Upstate (and definitely in most of this district) that Ithaca politics is somewhat to the left of socialism. I think that what needs to be done is to find strong candidates that can win in Chemung County but are liberal enough to not have a strong Green candidate siphon off votes in Ithaca and the towns immediately surrounding it.

  •  Reed is rather unappealing in person. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, devtob, CF of Aus

    Honestly, he comes off a lot like Chris Christie, right down to the swagger and massive girth.

    He'd be definitely beatable in an energized year for Democrats. Unfortunately, though I hate to admit it, the enraged gun-nut backlash against the Safe Act will energize the Republican angry white guy base far more than the ACA will motivate our side.

  •  We miss a lot of things here on DK (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, CF of Aus

    One example is here in Virginia, District 32, where Elizabeth Amy Miller ran against Tag Greason and lost by 3%.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:23:07 PM PST

    •  Ugh don't mention the VA house results... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, JamieG from Md

      So disappointed we couldn't win more seats. In the end we got the second and third most blue seats held by the GOP, but we should have got more. So annoying that they won all the close races...

      Acting Assistant Vice Chair of the DKE international cheer squad

      by CF of Aus on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:00:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Niagara (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, CF of Aus, bluedust, mwh191

    Noticed in the NY-23 Counties chart that Niagara is spelled Niagra - ouch! (I'm sure you know that).

    The Southern Tier has such beautiful country - but it sure would look prettier in blue! Nice diary.

    Senator (Cruz), you're no Wendy Davis.

    by VA Gal on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:31:09 PM PST

  •  Shinagawa is Spelled Wrong in this Post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus, devtob

    Great post! Nate Shinagawa's name is spelled wrong in this story though. It's not "Shinagowa" but "Shinagawa"

    As seen here:

  •  I don't know anyone here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, devtob, CF of Aus, MichaelNY

    Who would ever, ever, ever say this area is Appalachia.  Very distracting for a local to read this with all the references to Appalachia.

    2012 kind of produced a best case scenario.  Obama was on the ticket, the college kids came out in droves, and nearly half the district was brand new to Reed.

    As long as Reed continues to run, the geography of this district is going to make things difficult.  The district is set up to nominate a Tompkins County Democrat, and they don't exactly play well with the western parts of the district.

    The SAFE Act will make 2014 just about impossible.  Robertson will get trounced by a much larger margin than Shinagawa got beat by.

    I would say the best candidates going forward would be Jamestown mayor Sam Teresi or ex-Elmira mayor John Tonello.

    •  And to help out with your table (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, devtob, CF of Aus, MichaelNY

      Breakdown of county legislatures by party:

      Chautauqua 13R 6D
      Cattaraugus 15R 6D
      Allegany 14R 1I
      Steuben 14R 3D
      Chemung 12R 3D
      Tioga 9R 0D
      Tompkins 11D 3R
      Schuyler 7R 1D
      Yates 14R 0D
      Seneca 9R 5D
      Ontario 14R 6D 1I

      124R 41D 2I

      I think Chemung and Chautauqua are the only ones who also have a county executive, and both are Republicans.

      NY-22 (old and new)

      by elucas730 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:48:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, Appalachia is a stretch (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One defining characteristic of Appalachia to me is coal mining, which is not really a part of New York's portion of the Appalachian range.  I think rural upstate New York, with an urban spine stretching from Albany to Buffalo, is a distinct region apart from "Appalachia".

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:10:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah the SAFE Act (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Will be a problem this cycle, the subject of my next diary. But I don't get your Reed comment, I don't see how he is particularly strong.

      But I think you are far more pessimistic than me with these races. You thought Maggie Brooks was likely to beat Slaughter from memory (or at least the race was closer to tossup).

      It is clear from the numbers that a win in this district is possible, and no way does Reed deserve a free pass. Of course as with any incumbent that get harder to beat the more entrenched they are.

      Any insight on Chautauqua ?

      Thanks for your feedback on these candidates, it seems that the mayors are our only bench outside of Tompkins.

      Acting Assistant Vice Chair of the DKE international cheer squad

      by CF of Aus on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:01:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fret not (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, CF of Aus, Corax

    This seat is simply being held warm until 2016 when I expect Svante Myrick to run.  

    Presidential year turnout + Myrick's backstory/profile + his results as Mayor of Ithaca = Congressman Myrick.

    "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 Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:34:20 AM PST

  •  As a resident of Geneva, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, CF of Aus, MichaelNY

    What stuck out to me the most was that the portion of Ontario County that is in the district (which includes Geneva) was the single biggest place where people voted for Obama but not for Nate. I was not on campus in Fall 2012 (semester in D.C.), so unfortunately I did not help out very much other than my vote for Nate, but I will be here in Fall 2014 and I know that, along with my poli sci professor who is a part of the Geneva Democratic Committee, we will be working to turn out voters here in Ontario County. Given the gap between President and Congress, this seems like a good place to start. Chautauqua County also seems like the place to go.

  •  Massa wanted single payer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus

    The diary mentions that former NY-29 Democratic Rep. Eric Massa was a "conservative Democrat" who voted against the ACA.  While he may have been a conservative Democrat on some issues, Massa often stated that he voted against the ACA because he wanted single payer or at least a public option.  

    •  I guess there is a view that like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Stephen Lynch that was a convenient excuse so he could essentially claim to have voted against it... And then to the base claim that it was because of this better option that of course wasn't on the table.

      I don't think Massa was As Conservative is some of the Souther Dems.

      Acting Assistant Vice Chair of the DKE international cheer squad

      by CF of Aus on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:06:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus, teresa1958, whittx

    This is my district. Nate is a young, gifted retail politician who ran an excellent campaign but ultimately did not have the funds to compete in this very very large district. He is one of a crew of Ithaca "young guns" politicians that includes the current Mayor Svante Myrick.

    Nate won the primary by out-organizing the lackluster establishment candidate on her home turf of Ithaca. But for whatever reason, he could not get this race on the national radar and thus he was not able to match Reed's fundraising. He was unable to raise his name recognition outside of Ithaca and despite traveling all over the district, was not able to generate enough enthusiasm across the district. Reed is supported heavily by corporate interests and is a lazy campaigner.

    So, the current candidate, Martha Robertson, does have a chance of picking up this seat. Her initial fundraising is much better and with her longer record and larger network of support she might be able to gain the traction that Nate failed to get. She may even receive national attention, and if the partisan lean of this cycle is not too extreme she has a definite shot. I think the hand wringing over the SAFE act is baloney but so is the talk about Reed's scandals; this race will be decided almost entirely by fundraising and PVI.

    That of course will change come 2016, when as rdw72777 says, Svante Myrick will probably take a shot, and he will stomp Reed into the dirt. I wouldn't go so far as to call Martha Robertson a seat-warmer but I agree with the analysis that Svante already owns this seat in 2016.

  •  I work and spend much time in this area (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teresa1958, MichaelNY

    Anyways, if a Dem is to have any chance at beating a repug it comes down to ONE key issue


    Even many repugs are against fracking in the Southern Tier. (As many have wells for drinking water and much farmland)  Any Dem who wants to win MUST (IMHO) be a VERY LOUD opponet of fracking and hammer the repug candidate on this issue

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 02:06:02 PM PST

  •  This is a great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CF of Aus

    But you really should correct misspellings: Nate Shinagawa, not Shinagowa. Tompkins County, not Thompkins.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:12:49 AM PST

  •  Great read! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, CF of Aus

    I really appreciate the effort you put in.

    This district is a great lesson that post-redistricting, we need to always be vigilant.  I always wondered why this district wasn't getting a lot of focus because it's a swing district with a lot of new constituents unfamiliar to the incumbent.  The DCCC really dropped the ball as this should've been a top target from the get-go and they should have tried to recruit a tier one candidate.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site