Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Race of the Day- New York U.S. Senate

69 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Both major party Presidential campaigns are headquartered in the Empire State this year, within the Big Apple of New York City, and both candidates, old friends of course, will be casting their votes in the area. Despite this coincidence of two New York candidates, and the lofty claims of the Trump campaign,  the strongly Democrat state is not going to be competitive for its electoral votes and the Senate election will be even more one-sided.

Democrat Chuck Schumer has held elective office since he graduated from law school. In fact, he has never even practiced law, but has moved from the New York Assembly to 18 years in the U.S. House, to being elected in 1998 to the Senate. Now, Schumer is seeking a fourth term, and that is a foregone conclusion. He has other ambitions though, as the current number three Democrat in the Senate, is poised to take over as his party's leader next year. Upon announcing his retirement, Reid made clear his preference for Schumer over the current number 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, a former Schumer roommate. Will the New Yorker be the Minority Leader or the Majority Leader though? He is clearly hoping for the latter and the Presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, who has in the past strongly backed Schumer financially and claims to have a "great relationship" with him, may wind up being enough of a drag on Republican Senate candidates to make Schumer the most powerful Senator.

Senate Democrats seem comfortable with Schumer's frequent media and his fundraising acumen. He is seen as being very liberal and an enthusiastic partisan battler. He has almost always sided with the Administration of Barack Obama, but did disagree with them over the Iran nuclear deal, one of the few Democrats to do so. The Jewish Schumer, who of course represents a state with many Jewish voters, has traditionally been more supportive of the State of Israel than many current liberals. After his announcement on Iran, the White House seemed to suggest that Democrats might hold it against Schumer in their post-election leadership elections, but that seems to have gone by the wayside and Schumer is not expected to be challenged. Conservatives will suggest that there was simply a quid pro quo and that the Senator would have backed the controversial deal if his vote was truly needed.

There was not a contested primary among Republicans in New York for the Senate this year. The GOP, along with the Conservative Party and the Reform party, who each have their own ballot line, offered their support to attorney Wendy Long. The Manhattan resident has a very impressive legal background, having clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and later being a partner in a large New York City law firm. In 2012, she was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate and lost by more than 40 points in the one of the  state's largest ever Senate blowouts.

The staunchly conservative and combative Long is unlikely to do any better this time around. She has been an early supporter of Donald Trump's Presidential campaign and is going out of her way to tie her Senate candidacy to his Presidential campaign. Like the race for the White House, New Yorkers have no good option for the U.S. Senate.

Senate races predicted thus far:
7 D (5 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
15 R (4 Safe, 5 Likely, 3 Leans, 3 Tossup)

 Overall predicted thus far: 43 D, 45 R


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