2012 elections preview: New York voters to select winners in congressional primaries

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June 25, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues today with elections in New York.

Here's what to watch for in New York, where polling places will be open In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, polls open at 6 AM and close at 9 PM. In all other counties, polls open at 12 Noon and close at 9 PM.[1]

Contested Primaries in New York -- June 26, 2012
U.S. House
(27 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 10 (37%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 6 (22.22%)


U.S. Senate

See also: United States Senate elections in New York, 2012

Incumbent U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand(D) is running for re-election in 2012. She is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Three candidates -- George Maragos, Bob Turner, and Wendy Long are seeking the nomination on the Republican ticket. The seat is considered Solid Democratic according to the most recent Cook Political Report, so the Republican nominee is not expected to beat Gillibrand in the general election.[2] Regardless, the three are duking it out. Long and Maragos have taken the more conservative stance compared to Turner.[3] Turner, who won in an upset in last year's special election to take Anthony Weiner's seat, has the backing of such notable Republicans as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.[3]

U.S. House

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in New York, 2012

New York has a total of 27 seats on the ballot in 2012. The state lost two House seats following the results of the 2010 Census, and redistricting meant demographic and district numbering changes for most incumbents. New York's contested primary figure of 29.63% (16 of 54 possible major party primaries) is less competitive than the national average of 57.31%.

In the 27 congressional districts, there are 10 Democratic races contested, with two or more candidates running, and 6 Republican contested races. There is also one contested Conservative Party race in the 16th District and one Independence Party race in the 26th District. Districts 6 and 8 are open seats, meaning the incumbent is retiring.

The most notable primary battle is in the 13th District, where incumbent Charlie Rangel is facing intense competition from state Senator Adriano Espaillat. Three other Democrats are also running, but Espaillat is seen as the main threat to the incumbent. The 82-year-old Rangel has held his U.S. House seat for 42 years.[4] Rangel's history of ethics violations, as well as issues of race, may come into play in the primary.[5]

Other intense primaries are in the 6th District and 8th District. In the 6th District, New York Assembly members Rory Lancman and Grace Meng are joined by Elizabeth Crowley and Robert Mittman in the Democratic primary. Crowley's cousin, Joseph Crowley, is a U.S. Representative and Queens Democratic Party Chairman; he has endorsed Meng over his relative, and as a party leader is heavily invested in backing the winner of the race.[6]

In the 8th District, Brooklyn councilman Charles Barron and state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries are seeking the party nod. The Democratic establishment would like to see Jeffries win, if only because Barron has a history of making incendiary comments. For example, Barron, a former Black Panther, has expressed a desire to "go up to the closest white person and... slap him," and has said Israel is "the world's greatest terrorist."[7] While Democrats worry about Barron's alienating effect on the national level,[8] Barron has gathered endorsements from the state's largest public employee union and from retiring incumbent Ed Towns.[8] As the 8th is heavily Democratic,[9] the winner of the Democratic primary will likely be the next 8th District representative.[7]

Members of the U.S. House from New York -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 21 21
     Republican Party 8 6
Total 29 27

See also

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