GOP edge in NY race spells trouble for Democrats trying to hold House

September 13, 2022

New York Post

By Zach Williams

It was once unthinkable, but a path to Republican control of the House of Representatives could run through New York.

A new poll showing Republicans with the edge in the newly-drawn Congressional District 17 gives Democrats one more reason to worry how the GOP could capture the U.S. House this November by flipping swing districts across the Empire State in the midterm elections.

GOP Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R-Rockland) has a 49% to 45% lead over Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Hudson Valley) ahead of the Nov. 8 election, according to data released Tuesday by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The poll by the GOP firm McLaughlin & Associates, which had a margin of error of 4.5%, shows GOP attacks are endangering the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head Maloney while he oversees his party’s national efforts to defend its eight-seat majority in the House this November.

“I will fight to cut taxes and spending to tackle inflation and end cashless bail to restore safety in our communities,” Lawler told The Post. “That’s what this election is about and the poll numbers bear it out.”

The race is among a half dozen races that appear to be competitive this year after the state’s highest court invalidated plans for a so-called “Hochulmander” that would have left the GOP with just a couple super-red seats.

“Democrats blew it by getting greedy with congressional lines in New York; now they’re paying the price with competitive races all across the state. That’s great news for voters who haven’t had a chance to vote in truly competitive elections for years,” Republican political consultant William O’Reilly said in a text.

Republicans are also aiming to flip the congressional seat of retiring Rep. Tom Suozzi on Long Island as well as District 18 and District 19 in the Hudson Valley – while defending three Long Island races, another on Staten Island and a seventh in the Syracuse area.

No other state has a critical mass of swing districts like New York, with the non-partisan FiveThirtyEight website rating three races (two in the Hudson Valley and in Syracuse) as toss-ups in New York – more than any other state.

“People from around the country looking to help win battleground districts are either going to discover what it’s like to be stuck on the Long Island Expressway or get to enjoy the fall foliage in the Hudson valley and upstate,” Democratic political consultant Evan Stavisky quipped.

FiveThirtyEight gives Lawler a 10% chance of beating Maloney, who recently reported having about $2.4 million to spend compared to $435,000 for Lawler, who is receiving help from the national party.

“Lawler is a radical MAGA Republican whose dangerous, out-of-touch positions are incompatible with this district; he supported the decision to overturn Roe, voted against bills to protect reproductive rights in New York, and opposes common-sense gun safety reforms,” Maloney spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg said in response to what she called the “pathetically skewed” poll showing her boss down.

Stubborn inflation could boost Lawler in the homestretch of the campaign and in other races where Republicans are locked in a fierce fight with Democrats for control of the U.S. House.

Incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis has a 93% chance of beating ex-Rep. Max Rose in a rematch of their 2020 race while GOP nominee Nicholas LoLota has a 69% chance of winning an open race for Congressional District 1 on Long Island, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Maloney remains the favorite to win reelection, according to the website, while Democratic nominees Laura Gillen and Robert Zimmerman have edges in open Long Island races against Republicans Anthony D’Esposito and George Santos.

The contests pitting newly-elected Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Hudson Valley) against Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-Orange) and the open Syracuse race between Democrat Francis Conole and Republican Brandon Williams remain a toss-ups amid Democratic hopes that Ryan’s victory in a “bellwether” August special election might hint at more victories to come.

But an encouraging poll for Lawler has him and other Republicans bullish about winning back control of the U.S. House with the help of voters in supposedly super blue New York where Democrats like Maloney are supposed to feel safe.

“On Nov. 8, we will defeat Nancy Pelosi’s campaign manager and serve as a check on the Biden administration,” Lawler vowed Tuesday.