New York's 5th Congressional District elections, 2012

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New York's 5th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 26, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Gregory Meeks Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Gary Ackerman Democratic Party
Gary Ackerman.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 5th congressional district of New York held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Gregory Meeks 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 had a closed primary system, meaning only registered members of a particular party could 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 was Gary Ackerman (D), who was first elected to the House in 1982. He did not seek re-election in 2012.[3] Instead, due to redistricting, 6th district incumbent Gregory Meeks ran in the 5th.

This was be the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. New York's 5th congressional district was located in the southeastern portion of the state and included part of Queens.[4]

Fusion voting

New York was one of eight states that had "electoral fusion" -- which allowed more than one political party to support a common candidate. This created a situation where one candidate appeared multiple times on the same ballot, for the same position. Electoral fusion was once widespread across the United States, but as of 2012, was commonly practiced only in New York.

Opponents of fusion voting argued that the process resulted in dealmarking to ensure that patronage was rampant.[5] Proponents maintained that fusion voting allowed for minor parties to actually make a difference during the election, by allowing voters the opportunity to vote for a minority party platform but still affect the general election result.[6]

Candidates who appeared in the general election are listed below with colored dots corresponding to any party they represented 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 Gregory Meeks Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Allan Jennings Jr.
Libertarian Party Catherine Wark

June 26, 2012 primary results

Democratic Party Democratic primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian candidate

Election Results

General Election

U.S. House, New York District 5 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGregory Meeks Incumbent 74.8% 167,835
     Republican Allan Jennings Jr. 8% 17,875
     Libertarian Catherine Wark 0.6% 1,345
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 16.7% 37,453
Total Votes 224,508
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"

Race background

Map of the 5th 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.

Democratic primary

Three candidates challenged incumbent Gregory Meeks in the Democratic primary. Former city councilman Allan Jennings Jr., small-business owner Joseph Marthone, and recent law-school graduate Mike Scala all hoped to be the one to receive the party nod over Meeks.[10]

Jennings also ran in the Republican primary, where he was unopposed. He considered himself to be willing to "work with anybody who’s going to help this district," which he says sets him apart from Meeks.[10]

The 29-year-old Scala graduated from law school on June 1, 2012, just a few weeks before the June 26 primary. He said he was most concerned with helping the lower and middle class.[11]

Marthone said education was the way to solve the nation's problems.[12]

At a forum in early June, the three challengers and a representative of Meeks discussed issues of importance. Jennings called for an end to the NYPD "stop and frisk" policy. Marthone pledged to fight hydrofracking and airplane noise pollution. Scala criticized Meeks for supporting the Budget Control Act, which took away subsidized loans for graduate students.[10] Meeks was busy in Washington at the time of the forum, but his representative said that most of the issues brought up were city and state issues, not national ones -- indicating that the challengers were not prepared for federal politics.[10]

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.[13]

The 5th district was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district was composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[14][15]

Registration statistics

As of October 29, 2012, District 5 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the New York State Board of Elections:

New York Congressional District 5[16]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 5 347,932 261,092 34,400 52,440 Democratic 658.99% 479.77%
"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 5th District became more Democratic because of redistricting.[17]

  • 2012: 82D / 18R
  • 2010: 85D / 15R

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 5th congressional district had a PVI of D+33, which was the 11th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 86-14 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 82-18 percent over George W. Bush (R).[18]

District history


This is the 5th congressional district prior to the 2011 redistricting.

On November 2, 2010, Gary Ackerman was re-elected to the United States House for a fifteenth term. He defeated James Milano (R who also ran on the Conservative Party ticket), and Elizabeth Berney (Tax Revolt).[19]

U.S. House, New York Congressional District 5 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGary Ackerman Incumbent 59.7% 72,239
     Republican James Milano 34.3% 41,493
     Blank/Scattering 5.3% 6,396
     Tax Revolt Elizabeth Berney 0.7% 798
Total Votes 120,926

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. Associated Press "Feisty NY Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman retiring," March 16, 2012
  4. New York Redistricting Map "Map" Accessed September 25, 2012
  5. Electoral fusion ruins elections
  6. Working Family Party: Fusion voting
  7. BLS Advocate "Mike Scala, ’12, to Run for U.S. Congress," October 16, 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 New York Board of Elections "Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," April 17, 2012
  9. New York Board of Elections "List of Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," accessed May 30, 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Queens Campaigner "Candidates for Congress spar," June 14, 2012
  11. Queens Chronicle "Scala eyes Meeks’ congressional seat," June 14, 2012
  12. Long Island Herald "Four seek Democratic nod in 5th Congressional District," June 20, 2012
  13. Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
  14. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer "New York's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  15. Labels & Lists "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  16. New York State Board of Elections, "District Active Enrollment 2012," April, 2012
  17. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in New York," September 2012
  18. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  19. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"