New York's 27th Congressional District elections, 2012

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New York's 27th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 26, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Chris Collins Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Brian Higgins Democratic Party
Brian Higgins.JPG

New York U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13District 14District 15District 16District 17District 18District 19District 20District 21District 22District 23District 24District 25District 26District 27

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of New York.png
The 27th congressional district of New York held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Chris Collins was 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. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 12, or October 26 in person.[2]

See also: New York elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Brian Higgins (D), who was first elected to the House in 2004. Due to redistricting, Higgins is running in the redrawn 26th district, and 26th district incumbent Kathy Hochul is running in the new 27th.

This will be the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. New York's 27th congressional district is located in the western portion of the state and includes Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties and parts of Ontaria and Erie counties.[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 Kathy Hochul
Republican Party Conservative Party Chris Collins 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 27 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChris Collins 48.9% 161,220
     Democratic Kathy Hochul Incumbent 47.4% 156,219
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 3.7% 12,329
Total Votes 329,768
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"

Race background

General election

New York's 27th is considered to be a Tossup according to the New York Times race ratings. Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul is challenged by Chris Collins (R) in a more conservative district than she won in 2010. Collins is a well-known Republican and is hoping to seize the seat for the GOP.[9]

Republican challenger Chris Collins has been included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlights challengers who represent the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[10]

Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for New York's 27th. The report examines the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates, and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House." [11]

Map of the 27th 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.

Republican and Conservative Party primaries

David Bellavia and Chris Collins contended in the June 26 Republican primary to see who would face incumbent Kathy Hochul (D) in the general election. With redistricting reforming Hochul's territory to favor Republicans,[13] the Republican nominee has a serious shot at winning in November.

Bellavia is an Iraq War veteran and Tea Party activist, and Collins is a former county legislator.[13] Bellavia sought to win as a more conservative candidate than Collins. He pointed out that the former Erie County Executive praised incoming federal stimulus funding when he was in office.[14] Collins, however, did receive the Conservative Party endorsement. State Party Chairman Michael Long commented: "He had a proven record.... Collins would be more competitive against the congresswoman."[15]

According to the Buffalo News, Bellavia was the underdog and rarely recognized by Collins.[16] Bellavia, who wrote a book and subsequently sold the movie rights about his experiences in Iraq, said in taking on Collins he took on the "Erie County (political) machine."[16]

Both candidates were largely self-funded, with Collins self-funding $250,000 and Bellavia $45,000. Reports also show that Collins raised another $5,750, and Bellavia raised $50,000 in addition to his own contribution.[17]

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.[18]

Redistricting has made Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul extremely vulnerable -- the most vulnerable Democrat in New York and one of the most threatened in the nation, according to The New York Times.[13] The Center for Politics places New York's 27th as leaning Republican.[19] Hochul won in a special election in 2011, capitalizing on a Republican plan to reform Medicare in order to address the deficit. The long-shot challenger leveraged concerns in the elderly district to beat New York Assembly member Jane Corwin (R).[13]

The 27th district was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[20][21]

Registration statistics

As of October 29, 2012, District 27 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the New York State Board of Elections:

New York Congressional District 27[22]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 27 440,085 141,774 177,129 121,182 Republican 24.94% 105.20%
"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 27th District became more Republican because of redistricting.[23]

  • 2012: 42D / 58R
  • 2010: 43D / 57R

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 measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. New York's 27th congressional district has a PVI of R+7, which is the 143rd most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 55-45 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 57-43 percent over John Kerry (D).[24]

District history


This is the 27th congressional district prior to the 2011 redistricting.

On November 2, 2010, Brian Higgins was re-elected to the United States House for a fourth term. He defeated Leonard A. Roberto (R who also ran on the Conservative, Taxpayers ticket).[25]

U.S. House, New York Congressional District 27 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Higgins Incumbent 57.8% 119,085
     Republican Leonard A. Roberto 37.1% 76,320
     Blank/Scattering 5.1% 10,492
Total Votes 205,897

See also


  1. York ABC News "2012 General Election Results"
  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 New York Board of Elections "Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," April 18, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 New York Board of Elections "List of Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," accessed May 30, 2012
  8. New York Board of Elections "2012 Candidate List" accessed October 17, 2012
  9. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 10, 2012
  10. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  11. Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
  12. The Cook Political Report, "House: Race Ratings", updated October 18, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 [LimLim New York Times "Redistricting Poses New Challenge for Incumbent," May 27, 2012]
  14. The Batavian "Bellavia knocks Collins for seeking funds from Obama's stimulus package," June 20, 2012
  15. US News "In New York 27th, a Fierce GOP Congressional Primary Rages," May 30, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 Buffalo News "Battle-tested underdog David Bellavia is on a mission," June 19, 2012
  17. Buffalo News "Bellavia, Collins, largely self-financed," June 16, 2012
  18. Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
  19. Sabato's Crystal Ball "2012 House Ratings," June 13, 2012
  20. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer "New York's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  21. Labels & Lists "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  22. New York State Board of Elections, "District Active Enrollment 2012," April, 2012
  23. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in New York," September 2012
  24. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"