NY Drama: Republicans Could Gain Two More House Seats in Empire State

Posted: Nov 08, 2010 12:16 PM
Two recounts are underway in New York State, where the GOP has already picked off five Democrat-controlled House seats (in Congressional Districts 13, 19, 20, 24, and 29).  Republicans stand to gain up to two additional seats, depending on the final tally.  Here are the latest reports from the two races still pending:

NY-01: Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop led by approximately 3,500 votes on election night, but a subsequent recanvass resulted in a dramatic surge for Republican Randy Altschuler, who now leads by 392 votes.  This race will be determined by absentee and military ballots, roughly 9,000 of which are being pored over.  If Altschuler hangs on to win in this Eastern Long Island district, it would mark the second major New York upset.  Rep. Michael McMahon's loss to Republican Michael Grimm in New York City was the other Election Night stunner.

: The battle over this upstate district that includes Syracuse and suburban Rochester is down to the wire.  Incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei currently trails Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle by 684 votes.  A recent recanvass resulted in both candidates losing votes, although the Democrat's total was harder hit.  As is the case in NY-01, this election will come down to absentee ballots -- which number nearly 12,000.  For a breakdown of which way those ballots may break, read this thorough analysis from a local newspaper.

An NRCC source points out that if Republicans win either of these races -- and they lead in both -- New York will emerge as the state in which the GOP netted the most House seats this cycle.  As it stands, the Empire State is currently tied with Pennsylvania and Ohio at five seats apiece. 

This would be an improbable turnaround for an enervated New York Republican Party, especially considering the top-down weakness of the overall ticket.  In Pennsylvania and Ohio, united state parties fielded strong and victorious nominees at the top of the ticket (PA: Toomey, Corbett / OH: Portman, Kasich), and Congressional candidates reaped the benefits.  In New York, no such coattail effect materialized -- to phrase it charitably.  Put bluntly, down ticket GOPers won despite a dauntingly weak slate of statewide candidates.  New York Republicans' two Senate nominees and gubernatorial candidate lost by an average of 28 points on Election Night, making the House race victories all the more impressive.