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United States House of Representatives elections in New York, 2006

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On November 7, 2006, New York, along with the rest of the country held elections for the United States House of Representatives. Democrats picked up 3 House seats, the 19th, the 20th, and the 24th.

In federal elections, the Empire State has consistently handed its vote to Democratic candidates. Of New York's twenty-nine congressional districts, all but ten are centered on heavily liberal and Democratic New York City and its surrounding suburbs, including Long Island and Westchester County. In addition, Democrats were also predicting easy victories in the double digits for its gubernatorial candidate, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Senator Hillary Clinton. In 2002, a reapportionment was conducted and was planned as what is described as "a bipartisan incumbent protection plan". Many of the Republican-held districts were won by George W. Bush in the 2000 election while he lost statewide by a 25% margin. The primary was held on September 12, 2006. On September 11, the New York Times reported that Democrats were becoming less optimistic they could win Republican held House seats in New York this year. However, this turned out not to be the case as three districts elected Democrats over their Republican challengers, two of them incumbents. Projections regarding the senate and gubernatorial races were correct: Clinton held on to her place in the Senate with her nearest competitor trailing by more than half, and Spitzer was elected governor.

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  • Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6
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Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics, and today we're going to talk about what is, if you ask the general public, the most important part of politics: elections. If you ask me, it's hair styles. Look at Martin Van Buren's sideburns, how could he not be elected? Americans are kind of obsessed with elections, I mean when this was being recorded in early 2015, television, news and the internet were already talking about who would be Democrat and Republican candidates for president in 2016. And many of the candidates have unofficially been campaigning for years. I've been campaigning; your grandma's been campaigning. Presidential elections are exciting and you can gamble on them. Is that legal, can you gamble on them, Stan? Anyway, why we're so obsessed with them is a topic for another day. Right now I'm gonna tell you that the fixation on the presidential elections is wrong, but not because the president doesn't matter. No, today we're gonna look at the elections of the people that are supposed to matter the most, Congress. Constitutionally at least, Congress is the most important branch of government because it is the one that is supposed to be the most responsive to the people. One of the main reasons it's so responsive, at least in theory, is the frequency of elections. If a politician has to run for office often, he or she, because unlike the president we have women serving in Congress, kind of has to pay attention to what the constituents want, a little bit, maybe. By now, I'm sure that most of you have memorized the Constitution, so you recognize that despite their importance in the way we discuss politics, elections aren't really a big feature of the Constitution. Except of course for the ridiculously complex electoral college system for choosing the president, which we don't even want to think about for a few episodes. In fact, here's what the Constitution says about Congressional Elections in Article 1 Section 2: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature." So the Constitution does establish that the whole of the house is up for election every 2 years, and 1/3 of the senate is too, but mainly it leaves the scheduling and rules of elections up to the states. The actual rules of elections, like when the polls are open and where they actually are, as well as the registration requirements, are pretty much up to the states, subject to some federal election law. If you really want to know the rules in your state, I'm sure that someone at the Board of Elections, will be happy to explain them to you. Really, you should give them a call; they're very, very lonely. In general though, here's what we can say about American elections. First stating the super obvious, in order to serve in congress, you need to win an election. In the House of Representatives, each election district chooses a single representative, which is why we call them single-member districts. The number of districts is determined by the Census, which happens every 10 years, and which means that elections ending in zeros are super important, for reasons that I'll explain in greater detail in a future episode. It's because of gerrymandering. The Senate is much easier to figure out because both of the state Senators are elected by the entire state. It's as if the state itself were a single district, which is true for states like Wyoming, which are so unpopulated as to have only 1 representative. Sometimes these elections are called at large elections. Before the election ever happens, you need candidates. How candidates are chosen differs from state to state, but usually it has something to do with political parties, although it doesn't have to. Why are things so complicated?! What we can say is that candidates, or at least good candidates, usually have certain characteristics. Sorry America. First off, if you are gonna run for office, you should have an unblemished record, free of, oh I don't know, felony convictions or sex scandals, except maybe in Louisiana or New York. This might lead to some pretty bland candidates or people who are so calculating that they have no skeletons in their closet, but we Americans are a moral people and like our candidates to reflect our ideals rather than our reality. The second characteristic that a candidate must possess is the ability to raise money. Now some candidates are billionaires and can finance their own campaigns. But most billionaires have better things to do: buying yachts, making even more money, building money forts, buying more yachts, so they don't have time to run for office. But most candidates get their money for their campaigns by asking for it. The ability to raise money is key, especially now, because running for office is expensive. Can I get a how expensive is it? "How expensive is it?!" Well, so expensive that the prices of elections continually rises and in 2012 winners of House races spent nearly 2 million each. Senate winners spent more than 10 million. By the time this episode airs, I'm sure the numbers will be much higher like a gajillion billion million. Money is important in winning an election, but even more important, statistically, is already being in Congress. Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The person holding an office who runs for that office again is called the incumbent and has a big advantage over any challenger. This is according to political scientists who, being almost as bad at naming things as historians, refer to this as incumbency advantage. There are a number of reasons why incumbents tend to hold onto their seats in congress, if they want to. The first is that a sitting congressman has a record to run on, which we hope includes some legislative accomplishments, although for the past few Congresses, these don't seem to matter. The record might include case work, which is providing direct services to constituents. This is usually done by congressional staffers and includes things like answering questions about how to get certain government benefits or writing recommendation letters to West Point. Congressmen can also provide jobs to constituents, which is usually a good way to get them to vote for you. These are either government jobs, kind of rare these days, called patronage or indirect employment through government contracts for programs within a Congressman's district. These programs are called earmarks or pork barrel programs, and they are much less common now because Congress has decided not to use them any more, sort of. The second advantage that incumbents have is that they have a record of winning elections, which if you think about it, is pretty obvious. Being a proven winner makes it easier for a congressmen to raise money, which helps them win, and long term incumbents tend to be more powerful in Congress which makes it even easier for them to raise money and win. The Constitution give incumbents one structural advantage too. Each elected congressman is allowed $100,000 and free postage to send out election materials. This is called the franking privilege. It's not so clear how great an advantage this is in the age of the internet, but at least according to the book The Victory Lab, direct mail from candidates can be surprisingly effective. How real is this incumbency advantage? Well if you look at the numbers, it seems pretty darn real. Over the past 60 years, almost 90% of members of The House of Representatives got re-elected. The Senate has been even more volatile, but even at the low point in 1980 more than 50% of sitting senators got to keep their jobs. Thanks, Thought Bubble. You're so great. So those are some of the features of congressional elections. Now, if you'll permit me to get a little politically sciencey, I'd like to try to explain why elections are so important to the way that Congressmen and Senators do their jobs. In 1974, political scientist David Mayhew published a book in which he described something he called "The Electoral Connection." This was the idea that Congressmen were primarily motivated by the desire to get re-elected, which intuitively makes a lot of sense, even though I'm not sure what evidence he had for this conclusion. Used to be able to get away with that kind of thing I guess, clearly David may-not-hew to the rules of evidence, pun [rim shot], high five, no. Anyway Mayhew's research methodology isn't as important as his idea itself because The Electoral Connection provides a frame work for understanding congressman's activities. Mayhew divided representatives' behaviors and activities into three categories. The first is advertising; congressmen work to develop their personal brand so that they are recognizable to voters. Al D'Amato used to be know in New York as Senator Pothole, because he was able to bring home so much pork that he could actually fix New York's streets. Not by filling them with pork, money, its money, remember pork barrel spending? The second activity is credit claiming; Congressmen get things done so that they can say they got them done. A lot of case work and especially pork barrel spending are done in the name of credit claiming. Related to credit claiming, but slightly different, is position taking. This means making a public judgmental statement on something likely to be of interest to voters. Senators can do this through filibusters. Representatives can't filibuster, but they can hold hearings, publicly supporting a hearing is a way of associating yourself with an idea without having to actually try to pass legislation. And of course they can go on the TV, especially on Sunday talk shows. What's a TV, who even watches TV? Now the idea of The Electoral Connection doesn't explain every action a member of Congress takes; sometimes they actually make laws to benefit the public good or maybe solve problems, huh, what an idea! But Mayhew's idea gives us a way of thinking about Congressional activity, an analytical lens that connects what Congressmen actually do with how most of us understand Congressmen, through elections. So the next time you see a Congressmen call for a hearing on a supposed horrible scandal or read about a Senator threatening to filibuster a policy that may have significant popular support, ask yourself, "Is this Representative claiming credit or taking a position, and how will this build their brand?" In other words: what's the electoral connection and how will whatever they're doing help them get elected? This might feel a little cynical, but the reality is Mayhew's thesis often seems to fit with today's politics. Thanks for watching, see you next week. Vote for me; I'm on the TV. I'm not -- I'm on the YouTube. Crash Course: Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at Crash Course is made by all of these nice people. Thanks for watching. That guy isn't nice.


Delegation Composition

2006 pre-election Seats
  Democratic-Held 20
  Republican-Held 9
2006 post-election Seats
  Democratic-Held 23
  Republican-Held 6


District Incumbent Party Elected Status Opponent
1 Tim Bishop Democrat 2002 Reelected Tim Bishop (D) 62.2%
Italo Zanzi (R) 37.8%
2 Steve Israel Democrat 2000 Reelected Steve Israel (D) 70.4%
(R) 29.6%
3 Peter King Republican 1992 Reelected Peter King (R) 56.0%
David Mejias (D) 44.0%
4 Carolyn McCarthy Democrat 1996 Reelected Carolyn McCarthy (D) 64.9%
Martin Blessinger (R) 35.1%
5 Gary Ackerman Democrat 1983 Reelected Gary Ackerman (D) unopposed
6 Gregory Meeks Democrat 1998 Reelected Gregory Meeks (D) unopposed
7 Joseph Crowley Democrat 1998 Reelected Joseph Crowley (D) 84.0%
Kevin Brawley (R) 16.0%
8 Jerrold Nadler Democrat 1992 Reelected Jerrold Nadler (D) 85.0%
Eleanor Friedman (R) 13.6%
Dennis Adornato (Cons) 1.4%
9 Anthony Weiner Democrat 1998 Reelected Anthony Weiner (D) unopposed
10 Ed Towns Democrat 1982 Reelected Ed Towns (D) 92.2%
Jonathan Anderson (R) 5.9%
Ernest Johnson (Cons) 1.9%
11 Major Owens Democrat 1982 Retired Yvette Clarke (D) 90.0%
Stephen Finger (R) 7.6%
Mariana Blume (Cons) 1.4%
Ollie McClean (Freedom) 1.0%
12 Nydia Velazquez Democrat 1992 Reelected Nydia Velazquez (D) 89.7%
Allan Romaguera (R) 10.3%
13 Vito Fossella Republican 1997 Reelected Vito Fossella (R) 56.8%
Steve Harrison (D) 43.2%
14 Carolyn Maloney Democrat 1992 Reelected Carolyn Maloney (D) 84.5%
Danniel Maio (R) 15.5%
15 Charles Rangel Democrat 1970 Reelected Charles Rangel (D) 94.0%
Edward Daniels (R) 6.0%
16 Jose Serrano Democrat 1990 Reelected Jose Serrano (D) 95.3%
Ali Mohamed (R) 4.7%
17 Eliot Engel Democrat 1988 Reelected Eliot Engel (D) 76.4%
Jim Faulkner (R) 23.6%
18 Nita Lowey Democrat 1988 Reelected Nita Lowey (D) 70.7%
Richard A. Hoffman (R) 29.3%
19 Sue Kelly Republican 1994 Defeated John Hall (D) 51.2%
Sue Kelly (R) 48.8%
20 John Sweeney Republican 1998 Defeated Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 53.1%
John Sweeney (R) 46.9%
21 Mike McNulty Democrat 1988 Reelected Mike McNulty (D) 78.2%
Warren Redlich (R) 21.8%
22 Maurice Hinchey Democrat 1992 Reelected Maurice Hinchey (D) unopposed
23 John McHugh Republican 1992 Reelected John McHugh (R) 63.1%
Robert Johnson (D) 36.9%
24 Sherwood Boehlert Republican 1982 Retired Mike Arcuri (D) 53.9%
Ray Meier (R) 45.0%
Mike Sylvia (L) 1.1%
25 Jim Walsh Republican 1988 Reelected Jim Walsh (R) 50.8%
Dan Maffei (D) 49.2%
26 Tom Reynolds Republican 1998 Reelected Tom Reynolds (R) 52.0%
Jack Davis (D) 48.0%
27 Brian Higgins Democrat 2004 Reelected Brian Higgins (D) 79.3%
Michael McHale (R) 20.7%
28 Louise Slaughter Democrat 1986 Reelected Louise Slaughter (D) 73.2%
John Donnelly (R) 26.8%
29 Randy Kuhl Republican 2004 Reelected Randy Kuhl (R) 51.5%
Eric Massa (D) 48.5%

District breakdown

3rd District

Incumbent Peter King (R) was elected for his sixth term by a healthy margin in 2004, 63% to 37%, but King is the only Republican congressman left on Long Island, where Republicans once were the majority party. Although King has broken with his party on a few key issues, he is potentially vulnerable in a district that is increasingly moderate to liberal. Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias announced his candidacy on May 25 [1] and was King's strongest opponent in years. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had King leading Mejias 51% to 44% [2]. CQPolitics rating: Republican Favored. Results: King was re-elected to another term in the House, garnering 56% of the vote.

11th District

Incumbent Major Owens (D) retired after 12 terms. In 2004 Owens was reelected with 94% of the vote in this majority African-American district in the center of Brooklyn. The Democratic primary was won by New York City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke. Little-known Republican physician Steve Finger was also running for the open seat. CQPolitics rating: Safe Democratic. Results: Yvette Clarke was a strong winner with 89% of the vote.

13th District

Since easily winning a special election in 1997, Republican incumbent Vito Fossella had long been reelected without trouble in this district, based in Staten Island and the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. But in 2004, his share of the vote dropped dramatically against an underfunded opponent. Lawyer and Bay Ridge community leader Steve Harrison [3] is the 2006 Democratic candidate. Fossella is the only Republican in New York City's Congressional delegation. CQPolitics rating: Safe Republican.[1] Results: Fossella won with 57% of the vote.

19th District

Incumbent Sue Kelly (R) had rarely faced stiff competition since her initial election in 1994, but the Democratic primary attracted six contenders in 2006, two of whom dropped out before the primary. Former Ulster County Legislator John Hall, who was once a member of the popular rock band, Orleans, won the Democratic nomination with 49% of the vote in a multi-candidate primary. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had him leading 49% to 47% [4]. Several factors played into Kelly's defeat, including the extremely weak GOP showing in the senatorial and gubernatorial races, her reluctance to answer questions about the Mark Foley Page Scandal, and Hall's quirky campaign style, which included an appearance on the satirical Comedy Central program The Colbert Report. Following Hall's election, Stephen Colbert took credit for the victory and attributed it entirely to Hall's appearance on the show. Hall appeared several days later to satirically thank the host for his seat in Congress. 'Results:: Hall won with 51% of the vote.

20th District

Incumbent John E. Sweeney (R) had never really had any election troubles up until now. Sweeney, however, had had issues over a remark he made about his Democratic opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand, saying that she was "a pretty face". This rural and suburban district is among the more Republican in the Northeast. Sweeney has a politically moderate stance. An October 15–16 Majority Watch poll had Gillibrand leading Sweeney 54% to 41% [5]. A November 2 Siena poll had Gillibrand leading Sweeney 46% to 43% [6]. Libertarian Eric Sundwall and Liberal Party candidate Morris Guller were also challenging Sweeney. Cook Political Report rating: Toss-up. CQPolitics rating: No clear favorite. Results: Gillibrand took over from Swenney with 53% of the vote.

24th District

Incumbent Sherwood Boehlert (R) announced his retirement after twenty-four years, making this a seat of considerable focus for the Democrats in the followup to the mid-terms. Boehlert is considered a moderate Republican, and the district is considered to be a swing district. George Bush won this district by 53% in the 2004 election, but by only 3,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election. The Republican nominee is moderate state Senator Ray Meier, while the Democratic nominee is Oneida County District Attorney Mike Arcuri. Both are locally popular and proven vote-getters and the race was a toss-up. CQPolitics rating: No Clear Favorite. Cook Political Report rating: Republican Toss-Up. Results: Swings to the Democrats, with Arcuri winning 54% of the vote.

25th District

Incumbent James T. Walsh (R), ran unopposed in 2004 and while the Syracuse-based district hasn't had a Democrat represent it since 1971, John Kerry won the district in 2004 by 2.5%. Thus, Walsh had the unusual distinction of being the only Republican to win unopposed and not have George W. Bush win his district. Democrats were fielding former congressional aide Dan Maffei. An October 15–16 Majority Watch poll had Maffei leading Walsh 51% to 43%[7]. Cook Political Report rating: Likely Republican. Results: Walsh kept the district, winning with 51% of the vote.

26th District

Incumbent Thomas M. Reynolds (R), the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman, faced a rematch with local industrialist and Marine Veteran Jack Davis. While the district leans substantially Republican, Reynolds was held to 55% of the vote in 2004 by political neophyte Davis, who had used the intervening time to build a political base. He campaigned against Reynolds' support of free trade, which he claimed had cost the district thousands of well-paying jobs. Reynolds is one of the Republican party's premiere fund-raisers, but Davis is independently wealthy, and vowed to spend up to $2 million on his campaign. Reynolds held a small lead in the polls until the Mark Foley scandal broke at the end of September. Reynolds had some knowledge of Foley's e-mails, and his chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, formerly Foley's chief of staff, was more directly involved. A November 3 SurveyUSA poll had Reynolds leading Davis 50% to 46% with 4% undecided.[8]. In the space of just a week CQPolitics changed their rating from Safe Republican, to Leans Republican, and then again to Leans Democratic. Results: Reynolds won a close race with 51% of the vote.

29th District

Freshman incumbent Randy Kuhl (R) was elected with 50% in a three-way race in 2004. He faced a potentially strong challenge from former U.S. Navy officer Eric Massa, a long-time friend of 2004 presidential candidate General Wesley Clark. Massa had been an extremely adept fundraiser. In March, President Bush visited the district, in part as a boost to Kuhl's re-election campaign. An October 26 Majority-Watch poll had Massa leading Kuhl 53% to 42%. [9]. Cook Political Report rating: Lean Republican. CQPolitics rating: Leans Republican. Results: Kuhl won with 52% of the vote.

See also


  1. ^ "Balance of Power Scorecard: House". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-08-31. 
This page was last edited on 16 July 2018, at 16:02
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