2022 NYS Midterm Pre-Election Overview
To: Greater Rochester Chamber Members
From: Marc Cohen, Chief of Staff, Greater Rochester Chamber
Date: November 8, 2022
Re: 2022 Midterm Election Overview (New York)
Below is an overview of New York’s upcoming midterm election including the Governor’s race and competitive House races. Incumbent U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is heavily favored to beat his challenger, Republican Joe Pinion. Similarly, Attorney General Letitia James (challenged by Republican Michael Henry) and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (challenged by Paul Rodríguez) are expected to win by large margins. The race for Governor is the most contentious for the Mansion in two decades with most polls showing Incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul up between 4 and 11 points against Republican Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Due to the unusually competitive nature of so many House seats in New York, eyes are on the State as one that will determine control of the House.
The closeness of the race for Governor comes as a surprise to many as Democrats out-enroll Republicans in New York 2.2 to 1. Unaffiliated voters account for ~23% of the vote and Republicans account for ~22% of the vote. Recent polls have Governor Hochul leading by between 4 and 11 points. Both Incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and challenger Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin have been focusing a lot of their attention on New York City where 40% of the State’s voters reside.
The last GOP Governor New York had was George Pataki who in 1994 won due to a high turnout among GOP voters, a low turnout among Democratic voters, hefty support from independents and unaffiliated voters, and support from moderate/conservative Democrats.
The fact that several polls show that New Yorkers rank crime/public safety as their top issue (over social issues like abortion, democracy (i.e. January 6th, etc.)) is beneficial for Zeldin’s bid. Conventional wisdom is that a win for Zeldin mandates receiving above 30% of the NYC vote while winning in the suburbs (Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland Counties) and Upstate. The latter two will also require a high turnout of GOP voters. Even with all of that, due to changing demographics Statewide, a win for Zeldin will likely require depressed turnout among Democratic voters in all three of these geographies.
A victory for Governor Hochul means boosting favorable turnout in New York City (particularly Brooklyn) and Upstate’s Democratic strongholds of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. Being an incumbent in a primarily Democratic state and having the largest war chest in NY history is all helpful for her bid, as is the recent influx of high-profile endorsements. Urgency due to the closeness of the race could be favorable either way depending on turnout.
Governor Race Projections
Real Clear Politics Average: Hochul +7 (RCP lists as toss-up)
FiveThirtyEight Average: Hochul +7.8 (lists as “clearly favored to win”)
The Cook Political Report: Lists as Likely D (Hochul)
If Governor Hochul emerges as the victor it is expected to be by a much closer margin than her predecessor in his three races for Governor in which he won by 23, 14, and 30 points, respectively.
United States House of Representatives
NY-01: Bridget Fleming (D) v. Nick LaLota (R)
This seat is open as a result of the current holder, Lee Zeldin, running for Governor. The candidates are Republican Nick LaLota (chief of staff for the Suffolk County Legislature’s presiding officer) and Democrat Bridget Fleming (current Suffolk county legislator and a former prosecutor and Southampton Town councilwoman). The race is listed as Lean-R.
NY-02: Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R) vs. Jackie Gordon (D)
Incumbent Republican Congressman Andrew Garbarino will face off against Democrat Jackie Gordon, a repeat of the 2020 contest in which Garbarino beat Gordon by 7 points. Garbarino voted in favor of certifying the election and supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure package. The race is listed as Lean-R.
NY-03: Robert Zimmerman (D) v. George Santos (R)
This seat is open as a result of current holder, Tom Suozzi, running in the Democratic primary for Governor. Both candidates identify as Gay making this the first U.S. House general election in history between two openly gay men. Zimmerman unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1982 and is a small business owner. George Santos is a Wall Street investor. The race is listed as Lean-D to toss up depending on the pollster.
NY-04: Laura Gillen (D) v. Anthony D’Esposito (R)
This seat is open as a result of the current holder, Kathleen Rice, declining to run for reelection. Laura Gillen is an adjunct law professor at Hofstra University and former Hempstead supervisor. Anthony D’Esposito is a Hempstead Town Board member and retired New York City police detective. Biden held a 12-point advantage in NY-04 prior to redistricting which expanded to ~15 points in the redrawn district. The race is listed as Lean-D to toss up depending on the pollster.
NY-17: Sean Patrick Maloney (D) v. Mike Lawler (R)
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (current DCCC chair who beat State Senator Allesandra Biaggi in the primary) is facing off against New York State Assemblyman Mike Lawler (for whom the GOP has spent millions of dollars in this race). This race is listed as a toss-up with some pollster ranking it “Lean-D.”
NY-18: Pat Ryan (D) v. Colin Schmitt (R)
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Pat Ryan (veteran and former Ulster County Executive who just won a closely-watched special election against Marc Molinaro in NY19) is facing off against New York State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (elected in 2018 and is a sergeant in the NY Army National Guard) in this newly drawn district. Real Clear Politics lists the race as Lean-R while FiveThirtyEight lists Ryan as favored to win.
NY-19: Josh Riley (D) v. Marc Molinaro (R)
This newly drawn district is an open race between Josh Riley (Democrat and attorney from Endicott) and Marc Molinaro (current Dutchess County Executive, former Congressional candidate who lost to Pat Ryan in what is now NY-18, and former GOP nominee for Governor against Andrew Cuomo). This race is listed as a toss-up with certain pollsters ranking it “Lean-D.”
NY-25: Joe Morelle (D) v. La’Ron Singletary (R)
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Joe Morelle is being challenged by former Rochester Police Chief, Republican nominee La’Ron Singletary. President Joe Biden won this district by 20 points and many poll trackers had this race listed as a Safe-D district. With public safety, bail reform, crime, and violence taking center stage in Rochester, the race has since shifted to be listed as Likely-D to Lean-D, depending on the pollster.
For questions and comments, please reach out to Marc Cohen at Marc.Cohen@GreaterRochesterChamber.com.