Upstate New York Race Less Vulnerable With Collins Resignation

October 1, 2019by Nathan L. Gonzales

WASHINGTON — Not all House departures are created equal. New York Rep. Chris Collins’ resignation should make it easier for Republicans to hold his Buffalo-area seat, because the GOP should have a nominee without legal problems. But New York’s multiple ballot lines could complicate a special election, as it has in the past.

Collins, who was reelected last year proclaiming his innocence on charges of insider trading, submitted his resignation Monday, a day before he is expected to change his not guilty plea.

His legal troubles made holding his district more complicated than it needed to be for Republicans. Donald Trump carried the 27th District by 25 points in 2016, 60% to 35 percent, yet Collins won by less than half of a percentage point last fall.

Since Collins won’t appear on the 2020 ballot, Inside Elections is changing its rating of the race from Leans Republican to Solid Republican.

Normally, the race would warrant a Solid Republican rating. But in the past, Republicans found ways to make special elections more interesting than they need to be. Most recently in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republicans spent more than $6 million defending a seat that Trump carried by more than 10 points.

New York’s races can be uniquely complicated, however, because of third parties having their own ballot lines, which could divide partisan voters.

For example, in 2011, Democrat Kathy Hochul (now New York’s lieutenant governor) won a special election for an earlier version of Collins’ seat (the old 26th District) with 47% against Republican Jane Corwin (42 percent) and wealthy tea party candidate Jack Davis, who received 9 percent. (Collins defeated Hochul by 2 points in 2012.)

And back in 2009, Democrat Bill Owens won a special election for the old 23rd District with 48% while Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman received 46% and Republican Dede Scozzafava (who dropped out before the election) received 6 percent.

New York’s 27th District should elect another Republican. It’s “pure rural,” according to City Lab, and 92% non-Hispanic white — the type of district that’s been trending Republican. But the potential for a divide in the Republican Party to manifest itself between multiple candidates on one ballot is a potential headache. And a special election timed with the Democratic presidential primary could hinder the GOP’s chances as well.

According to state law, there will be no primary, so local county party officials will choose nominees by weighted vote based on the previous gubernatorial result in the district. Typically, Democrats and Republicans choose their nominees first followed by Conservative, Working Families, Green Party, Libertarian, and Independence parties, on separate, subsequent nights.

“In most cases, everyone gets the joke, and the Republicans and Conservatives nominate the same person, and Democrats and Working Families parties nominate the same person,” one GOP operative from New York said. “It is technically possible that different candidates come out of that process on either side of the equation. That happens in rare cases when the parties are fighting or have some ax to grind with a particular nominee and may go in a different direction.”

With the possibility that Democrats could also be divided between multiple candidates, and a 25-point cushion in favor of the Republicans, the GOP should hold this seat without Collins. But don’t be surprised if gets more interesting.

———

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Political News

Trump ‘Surprised’ at Pushback to Hosting G-7 at His Doral Resort, Chief of Staff Says Geopolitics
Trump ‘Surprised’ at Pushback to Hosting G-7 at His Doral Resort, Chief of Staff Says

MIAMI — President Donald Trump changed his mind about hosting a summit of world leaders at his own resort in Doral after being “surprised at the level of push-back” to last week’s announcement, his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday. Mulvaney, speaking during an... Read More

Judge Could Soon Order SC Republicans to Hold 2020 Primary State News
Judge Could Soon Order SC Republicans to Hold 2020 Primary
October 18, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A circuit court judge in South Carolina heard more than two hours of oral arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the state GOP executive committee's vote last month to forgo a 2020 Republican presidential primary. In the end, Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman indicated her... Read More

Zuckerberg Defends Facebook's 'Free Expression' Policy in Wake of False Trump Campaign Ads Social Media
Zuckerberg Defends Facebook's 'Free Expression' Policy in Wake of False Trump Campaign Ads
October 18, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Mark Zuckerberg allowed himself only a brief smile Thursday afternoon as he approached the podium awaiting him on stage in Georgetown University's Gaston Hall. After weeks of criticism over Facebook's decision not to moderate political speech or fact-check political ads, the company's CEO was... Read More

Democrats’ Hope for Quick Impeachment is Looking a Bit More Complicated Impeachment
Democrats’ Hope for Quick Impeachment is Looking a Bit More Complicated

WASHINGTON — House Democrats’ hopes for a short and focused impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump are being put to the test by a string of new leads that could lengthen their investigation, as well as by some moderate Democrats who remain skeptical about whether the... Read More

Energy Chief Perry Tells Trump He Plans to Leave Post Soon Energy
Energy Chief Perry Tells Trump He Plans to Leave Post Soon

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry notified President Donald Trump Thursday that he will soon be leaving the post, according to two people familiar with the matter. Perry, one of the administration’s original Cabinet secretaries, enjoyed good rapport with Trump. The former Texas governor has recently... Read More

Trump to Host G-7 Summit at His Doral Resort, White House Says Foreign Affairs
Trump to Host G-7 Summit at His Doral Resort, White House Says

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump intends to host next year’s Group of Seven conference at his Doral International Resort in Miami in June, the White House confirmed Thursday, a controversial decision certain to raise conflict-of-interest questions given the financial benefit to Trump’s business. Trump first floated... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top