Congress 2018 New York City/State Voting

New York and New Jersey House Races Factor into the National MidTerm Picture

New York and New Jersey competitive House races are battleground districts in the midterms next week.

Here’s a straight-no-chaser article reporting on the polling status of these races.

In Upstate New York, two incumbent Republicans are in dead heats with their Democratic opponents, according to recent polls from the Siena Research Institute, and a third, incumbent Republican Chris Collins, under indictment for insider trading, leads Democrat Nate McMurray 44%-40%, with 13% undecided, in a poll nearly completed by NYT/Siena live polling. (You can see the results of these polls live online; this district is 97% complete as I write.) Trump won the district by 25 points and Collins won his 2016 race by 35 points.

In the Staten Island/Brooklyn Congressional district in NYC, the NYT/Siena poll showed lone NYC Republican Dan Donovan leading his Democratic challenger, Max Rose, by four points, 44% -40%, with 15% undecided. In a fifth race, on eastern Long Island, Republican Lee Zeldin, the incumbent, led Perry Gershon, the Democrat, by 8 points, 49% – 41%, in a poll finished Oct.8th.

In New Jersey, two incumbent Republicans, Tom MacArthur and Leonard Lance, confront dead heats with their Democratic challengers, Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski, according to the NYT/Siena Poll. Kim led MacArthur by ten in a NYT/Siena poll in late September, but another one finished a few days ago showed a dead heat, with the Republican by one point, 45% -44%. The Monmouth University Poll had Kim leading McArthur by two points, considered to be statistically insignificant, in a poll finished just last week. The NYT/Siena Poll had Lance and Malinowski in a dead heat (Lance by 1, 45%-44%), reported Sept.21, and a 2nd poll in that district is underway as I write you.

Two districts in New Jersey where the Republican incumbents retired are rated as lean Democrat by the Cook Political Report. In one, Democrat Mikie Sherrill led Republican Jay Webber by 11 points, 49% -38%, on Oct. 17th, in a NYT/Siena Poll. The Monmouth Poll had Sherrill leading 48%-44%, on Oct. 9th. In the other district, Democrat Jeff Van Drew was leading Republican Seth Grossman by 17 and 23 points in polls by Stockton University.

The two dead heats in Upstate New York include three of my former Assembly colleagues, the two incumbent Republicans, John Faso and Claudia Tenney, and Ms. Tenney’s challenger, current Democratic Assembly Member Anthony Brindisi of Utica.

John Faso, the Congressmember from the NY 19th district, in the Hudson Valley, was formerly the minority leader in the New York State Assembly and the Republican candidate for NY State Comptroller in 2006. He defeated Zephyr Teachout by nine points in 2016 ( Trump had 51% there), and this year he is faced by Democrat Antonio Delgado in an intensely competitive race. The Monmouth Poll had Delgado leading 48% -45%, in a September poll, and Siena Research Institute had a dead heat, Faso 44% & Delgado 43% (I call 1% point a tie or a dead heat), on Oct. 22nd. Third party candidates were getting six points in that poll. Delgado grew up in Schenectady, graduated from Colgate, and was a Rhodes Scholar.

Assemblymember Brindisi led Congressmember Tenney 46%-45% in a Siena Poll reported Oct. 24th, and also had a 46%-44% lead in another Siena Poll from late August, in NY’s 22nd Congressional district in Central New York. The 22nd is even tougher turf for a Democrat than the 19th. Trump had 55% there in 2016( Clinton had 40%). Ms. Tenney won that year in a 3-way, 47%-41%-12%, when she left her Assembly seat to run for the opening created by the retirement of Republican Richard Hanna. Hanna has endorsed Mr. Brindisi, who has remained competitive despite a heavy Republican registration advantage. Brindisi was winning 23% of Republicans in the latest poll.

We all know polls can be wrong- these polls carry margins of error of 4-5 points, meaning the sample of voters forming the result of the poll could vary by that much from a true result of all persons from within that group. These polls also differ from a random sample of all registered voters because the pollsters estimated who is likely to vote in the midterm election- a hard thing to do- as compared to a Presidential election where 80% of the nation’s registered voters will vote and a poll of that range will get you a good random sample. But these are definitely highly competitive elections and the districts in New York and New Jersey will be factors in the final national results of the midterms. Wow !!

DISCLOSURE: I was a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly for 32 years and have contributed to some Democratic candidates mentioned in the article, as well as to Democrats nationally.

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