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

Battle Over Coronavirus Rules, Reopenings Increasingly Partisan, Bitter
Battle Over Coronavirus Rules, Reopenings Increasingly Partisan, Bitter

Urged on by President Donald Trump, Republican officials in several swing states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are ramping up pressure on Democratic governors to move faster on reopening their economies, despite experts’ warnings of a surge in infections and deaths. The mounting pressure comes as... Read More

Fever-Reading Drones Just First of a Wave of Privacy Challenges, Civil Liberties Advocates Say
Privacy
Fever-Reading Drones Just First of a Wave of Privacy Challenges, Civil Liberties Advocates Say

MIAMI — Last month, police departments in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Connecticut unveiled what was initially touted as a potential new tool against a pandemic: drones capable of taking a person’s temperature from 300 feet in the air. Both agencies quickly backtracked on using the machines... Read More

Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Aims to Rush Coronavirus Vaccine
Health
Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Aims to Rush Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is quietly organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal to have 100 million doses ready by year’s end, according to two people familiar with the matter. Called “Operation Warp... Read More

Problem Solvers Release Reopening and 'Back to Work' Checklist
Congress
Problem Solvers Release Reopening and 'Back to Work' Checklist
April 21, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has released a lengthy checklist it hopes will help guide the White House and congressional leaders as they continue to work toward fully reopening the U.S. economy. While the caucus, which has 25 Republican and 25 Democratic members, acknowledges... Read More

France to Unveil End-of-Lockdown Plan Within 2 Weeks
In The News
France to Unveil End-of-Lockdown Plan Within 2 Weeks

France will unveil within two weeks a plan to progressively lift restrictions on travel and business that aimed to curb the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Sunday. After May 11, when the lockdown starts to get lifted, “our lives won’t be exactly the... Read More

Kasich, McAuliffe on COVID-19’s Impacts on Campaigns, Elections, and Voter Security
In The News
Kasich, McAuliffe on COVID-19’s Impacts on Campaigns, Elections, and Voter Security
April 17, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Despite continued uncertainty over how the Coronavirus pandemic will end, its economic impact will surely cast a shadow over the November election, according to a pair of former governors. Govs. John Kasich, a Republican of Ohio, and Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat of Virginia, spoke... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top