New York's 23rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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New York's 23rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 26, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Tom Reed Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Bill Owens Democratic Party
Bill owens.jpg

New York U.S. House Elections
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2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of New York.png
The 23rd Congressional District of New York held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Tom Reed was re-elected on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
April 16, 2012
June 26, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: New York has a closed primary system, meaning only registered members of a particular party may vote in that party's primary.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by June 1, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 12, 2012, or October 26, 2012 in person.[2]

See also: New York elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election was incumbent Bill Owens (D), who was first elected to the House in 2008. Due to redistricting, Owens ran in the redrawn 21st District, and 29th District incumbent Tom Reed ran for the new 23rd.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. New York's 23rd Congressional District is located in the southwestern portion of the state and includes Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Yates, Schuyler, Seneca, Tompkins, Tioga, and Chemung counties and part of Ontario County.[3]

Fusion voting

New York is one of eight states that have "electoral fusion" -- which allows more than one political party to support a common candidate. This creates a situation where one candidate will appear multiple times on the same ballot, for the same position. Electoral fusion was once widespread across the United States, but is now commonly practiced only in New York.

Opponents of fusion voting argue that the process results in dealmarking to ensure that patronage is rampant.[4] Proponents maintain that fusion voting allows for minor parties to actually make a difference during the election, allowing voters the opportunity to vote for a minority party platform but still affect the general election result.[5]

Candidates appearing in the general election will be listed below with colored dots corresponding to any party they will represent on the ballot.


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Working Families Party Nate Shinagawa
Republican Party Conservative Party Independence Party of America Tom Reed Green check mark transparent.png

June 26, 2012 primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Conservative Party Conservative Primary

Working Families Party Working Families Primary

Independence Party of America Independence candidate

Election results

General election

U.S. House, New York District 23 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Reed Incumbent 49.2% 137,669
     Democratic Nate Shinagawa 45.6% 127,535
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 5.2% 14,592
Total Votes 279,796
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"

Race background

Map of the 23rd Congressional District of New York before and after the 2010 redistricting. Click on the link for an interactive map of the congressional districts in New York. For an interactive map of the districts prior to the 2010 Census, click here.

General election

New York's 23rd was considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Tom Reed was challenged Nate Shinagawa (D), a 28 year old Asian Cornell graduate, in a district which strongly favored Republicans.[8]

Democratic primary

Attorneys Leslie Danks Burke and Melissa Dobson joined county legislator Nate Shinagawa in seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 26, 2012 primary. The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took an interest in the race, citing the three challengers as evidence of opposition to the Republican incumbent.[9]

Local Democratic officials and organizations had their endorsements mainly between Burke and Shinagawa.[10]

All three Democratic challengers supported Obamacare and opposed hydrofracking. In regards to the economy, Burke and Shinagawa wanted to tax corporations more heavily, and Dobson wanted to link education and technical training.[9]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in New York

Following the results of the 2010 Census, New York lost two congressional seats, bringing its total number of representatives down from 29 to 27. According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," New York was one of the top 10 redistricting battles in the nation.[11]

The 23rd District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[12][13]

Registration statistics

As of October 29, 2012, District 23 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the New York State Board of Elections:

New York Congressional District 23[14]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 23 394,502 129,955 157,961 106,586 Republican 21.55% -13.82%
"Party advantage" is the percentage gap between the two major parties in registered voters. "Change in advantage" is the spread in difference of party advantage between 2010 and 2012 based on the congressional district number only.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. New York's 23rd District became more balanced because of redistricting.[15]

  • 2012: 47D / 53R
  • 2010: 45D / 55R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. New York's 23rd Congressional District had a PVI of R+3, which was the 202nd most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 50-50 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 55-45 percent over John Kerry (D).[16]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


This is the 23rd Congressional District prior to the 2011 redistricting.

On November 2, 2010, Bill Owens was elected to the United States House for a second term. He defeated Matthew A. Doheny (R who also ran on the Independence Party ticket), and Douglas L. Hoffman (Conservative).[17]

U.S. House, New York Congressional District 23 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBill Owens Incumbent 45.1% 82,232
     Republican Matthew A. Doheny 44% 80,237
     Conservative Douglas L. Hoffman 5.8% 10,507
     Blank/Scattering 5.2% 9,534
Total Votes 182,510

See also


  1. York ABC News, "2012 General Election Results," accessed November 6, 2012 (dead link)
  2. New York State Board of Elections, "Voting Deadline Page," accessed June 30, 2012
  3. New York Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed September 25, 2012
  4. Clarence Bee, "State Senate candidate calls for an end to fusion voting", accessed September 19, 2013
  5. Oregon Working Family Party, "What is Fusion Voting?", accessed September 19, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 New York Board of Elections "Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," April 18, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 New York Board of Elections "List of Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," accessed May 30, 2012
  8. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 10, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 Messenger-Post, "Three-way Democratic primary in 23rd Congressional District," June 20, 2012
  10. Dunkirk Observer, "Endorsements muddle primary," June 1, 2012
  11. Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
  12. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "New York's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  13. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  14. New York State Board of Elections, "District Active Enrollment 2012," April, 2012
  15. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in New York," September 2012
  16. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  17. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013