Yesterday, state Sen. Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) joined the enlarging group of Republicans declaring a primary challenge to indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia). Also running are state Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo) and attorney and former local judge Beth Parlato. Democratic nominee Nate McMurray, who fell within less than a percentage point of unseating Rep. Collins in November, also says he will return for the 2020 campaign.
Mr. Collins is scheduled to stand trial for insider trading in February but promises a decision as to whether he will seek re-election before the legal proceedings begin.
The TelOpinion Research firm released their independent Republican primary poll of New York’s 27th District primary featuring indicted incumbent Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia). The survey (7/31-8/1; 500 NY-27 likely Republican primary voters) finds the Congressman in relatively strong position if he were to seek re-nomination. Currently, he is scheduled to stand trial on insider trading charges in February but promises a re-election decision prior to the beginning of legal proceedings.
According to the poll results, Rep. Collins commands 46% support as compared to state Sen. Christopher Jacobs’ (R-Buffalo) 26% with attorney Beth Parlato recording 4% support. The strongest Republican appears to be Medal of Honor winner David Bellavia. He challenged Rep. Collins in the 2018 GOP primary but so far has not expressed interest in running again. If Rep. Collins decides not to run, Mr. Bellavia would have a 41-27-6% advantage over Sen. Jacobs and Ms. Parlato.
Other Republicans, such as Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr., Assemblyman Stephen Hawley of Genesee County, and state Sen. Robert Ortt R- North Tonawanda) are potential candidates particularly if the seat opens. The general election was extremely tight last year, as Mr. Collins nipped Democrat Nate McMurray, 47.8-47.2%. Mr. McMurray, a Grand Island Town Supervisor, has already announced his 2020 candidacy.
Earlier this month when Democratic National Committee member Bob Zimmerman said he would not launch a primary challenge against Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), it appeared the Congressman was home free for re-election. Yesterday, however, the situation changed. Wellness professional Melanie D’Arrigo announced that she will now challenge the Congressman for the Democratic nomination.
Ms. D’Arrigo will campaign to Mr. Suozzi’s left and begins with an attack over his membership in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. She was quoted as saying, “he trades a dollar for a quarter every time. It only benefits Republicans. It does not benefit Democrats.” Rep. Suozzi remains the obvious favorite for re-nomination.
While many Democratic incumbents are attracting credible primary challengers, one who appears to have avoided one is two-term Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove). Former Democratic National Committee member Bob Zimmerman, who had been publicly considering running and was actively exploring his chances, yesterday said he would not challenge Rep. Suozzi. The Congressman is, at least for the time being, left with only minor opponents.
One of the surprises from the 2018 primary season was New York Democratic challenger Adem Bunkeddeko’s performance against then-six-term congressional veteran Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn). Rep. Clarke defeated Mr. Bunkeddeko, a Brooklyn Community Board Member, 53-47% after trailing for most of primary election night.
Yesterday, Mr. Bunkeddeko announced he will return for a re-match. But, he is not alone. With two minor candidates likely on the ballot, and Rep. Clarke not being caught by surprise this time, a 2020 primary challenge against her becomes considerably more difficult.
Attorney and Fox News contributor Beth Parlato announced that she will join the Republican primary campaign against indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia). State Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Hamburg) is already an announced candidate. Rep. Collins, who is scheduled to face his insider trading trial in February, says he will announce whether or not he will run for re-election before the end of this year.
Another of the nation’s 2018 closest campaigns occurred in an upstate New York congressional district. In the state’s 22nd CD, freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) failed to win re-election by a scant 50.1 – 48.3% margin opposite then-state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D). Now, it appears that she, too, will join those 2018 losing candidates who will return for another try.
The 22nd District is the second strongest Trump CD (55-39%) in the US that a Democrat represents. With the President again expected to run well here in 2020, this promises to be a race to watch regardless if Ms. Tenney decides to run.
Two more New York Democratic challenger candidates announced against congressional incumbents yesterday, both of who are educators. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) will face teacher Andom Ghebreghiorgis and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) draws educationalist Lola Osoria. Both incumbents have other opponents as well. Mr. Ghebreghiorgis and Ms. Osoria each say they are inspired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx).
Of the 20 New York House Democrats seeking re-election, ten, all from New York City or Long Island, already have primary opponents.
More activity appears to be brewing in Manhattan’s 10th Congressional District. In addition to former Andrew Cuomo economic advisor Lindsey Boylan entering the Democratic primary against Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), now we see ex-Hillary Clinton campaign digital aide Peter Daou coming forward to say he is considering a challenge to the 14-term Congressman. Reasoning: Mr. Daou says that Judiciary Committee chairman Nadler is moving too slowly toward filing articles of impeachment against President Trump.
In actuality, Daou entering the primary would likely be a good thing for Rep. Nadler. With more candidates in the race, the chances of denying an incumbent re-nomination becomes much more difficult because the Congressman’s opposition is split, thus he then needs fewer votes to win. New York does not hold run-off elections, so a simple plurality is all that’s needed to clinch a party nomination.
Police officer Dave LeBlanc yesterday announced that he will challenge Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) in next year’s Democratic primary. Nassau County legislators Kevan Abrahams and Siela Bynoe are also possible candidates.
Normally, Mr. LeBlanc would not be considered a threat, but remembering Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset of then-Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), these types of New York races are now being studied more closely. Ms. Rice, being one of the Democratic leaders attempting to deny Nancy Pelosi the Speakership, has vulnerability within the party’s far left faction so any primary opponent would begin with at least a small base.
Of the 20 New York Democrats poised to seek re-election, already ten have drawn announced Democratic primary opposition. How many of these challenges turn into strong races will be decided another day. The New York primary is June 23, 2020.
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