The good news out of New York is that there is no Senate race this year. Instead, the GOP primary action will be at the district level. New York is, overall, a blue state. The GOP in New York- at least as concerns statewide races- has been a disaster. On the more local district level they have also suffered some losses in 2012. There comes a point where they can go no lower and 2014 may be the year of the turnaround.
In the 1st District located on Long Island, Democrat Tim Bishop represents this area which Cook rates as +2 Republican. Ordinarily, that would make this a targeted district except that Tim Bishop is relatively popular. The two GOP candidates are George Demos and Lee Zeldin. Both have previous campaign experience in this district. Most pundits believe Demos to be the better candidate to take on Bishop in November. If fundraising is any measure, then clearly Demos has the advantage as he beats not only Zeldin, but also Bishop. However, if you remove Demos’ self-financing figures, Zeldin takes a commanding lead. Most telling is the amounts raised by small donors and there Zeldin is the leader. This writer also believes Lee Zeldin represents a more conservative viewpoint on most major issues and would make the better candidate.
In the 3rd, Grant Lally is taking on Steven Labatte to challenge Democratic incumbent Steve Israel in November in a district Cook rates Even. Again, the pundit class believes Lally will emerge the winner and maybe he will. However, looking at the totality of their positions on the key issues, Steven Labatte would be the better conservative candidate.
The Fourth is nominally a Democratic district being vacated by Democrat Carolyn McCarthy. The three Republicans in the mix are Bruce Blakeman, Frank Scaturro, and Mike Vista. This race represents a unique opportunity for the GOP to pick up a seat in the House in liberal New York. The Fourth is within sight of New York City itself. All things considered, although tempted to go with Blakeman, this writer sometimes views with a wary eye self-financed candidates and Blakeman fits that bill. He has recently made the “radar” of the NRCC, but that is not necessarily good news given their recent track record. Not that Scaturro’s fundraising is anything to write home about, but it is better (minus the self-financing) than Blakeman and they are about even ideologically. Although not the most conservative of Republicans, Frank Scaturro holds the most promise for electoral victory in November.
In the nominally Democratic 17th District in the southern part of New York, but north of NYC, Democrat Nita Lowey seeks reelection. In the GOP mix are venture capitalist Chris Day and private investigator Frank Morganthaler. Anyone who touts their private investigative skills as an advantage to being voted in to Congress should be viewed with skepticism, and I do. Therefore, by default, the endorsement goes to Chris Day.
News out of the 21st District got interesting when Democratic incumbent Bill Owens decided to retire this year. Rated Even by Cook, this race represents a unique opportunity to pick up a seat in upstate New York- the one area of the state where Republicans have at least a 50/50 chance. Therefore, the candidate must be electable. Aaron Woolf will be the Democrat in November and the GOP primary is between Elise Stafanik and Matt Doheny who ran in 2010 and 2012. Is the third time a charm, especially in an open race? Doheny barely lost to Owens by 5,000 votes in 2010 so there is some impetus to support him. However, overall this writer believes Elise Stafanik would be a better choice.
There is a GOP primary in the 22nd, but no Democrat has declared. Incumbent Republican Richard Hanna is clearly a moderate within the party. His opponent- state assemblywoman Claudia Tenney- lays out the differences between herself and Hanna. According to the ACU, Hanna is the 3rd most liberal Republican in the House. Without any doubt, Tenney is the more conservative alternative to Hanna. Since this district is rated +8 Republican by Cook (I rate it a little higher) and because Hanna’s electoral history is not one of winning (or losing) by great margins coupled with the fact that the Democrats have yet to field a candidate here giving them a late start, this writer is compelled to go with Claudia Tenney as the best conservative alternative to Richard Hanna- a wolf in a conservative sheep’s clothing.