Five New York congressional races to watch

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With Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump trailing in the polls, Democrats hope this year could be a wave election for them – perhaps even in the House of Representatives, where the party would need to pick up 30 seats for a majority. Here’s a look at five high-profile House seats in New York – four held by the GOP and one by a Democrat – that will be closely contested on Election Day.


Anna Throne-Holst (D)

Lee Zeldin (R)

Anna Throne-Holst
Lee Zeldin

Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is looking to win a second term in this deep purple congressional district where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by roughly 15,000. Zeldin handily won the seat in 2014 over Democrat Rep. Tim Bishop, but in a presidential election year the contest is expected to be much closer. A recent Siena/Newsday poll showed Zeldin with a 15-point lead, 53 percent to 38 percent. Democrat Anna Throne-Holst, the former Southampton town supervisor, lags in name recognition, with 43 percent of voters not knowing who she is or having no opinion of her. A whopping $8.9 million has been raised by the candidates in the race this cycle, making it one of the state’s most expensive House contests.


Jack Martins (R)

Tom Suozzi (D)

Jack Martins
Tom Suozzi

Democratic Rep. Steve Israel didn’t seek reelection this year in the district, which includes parts of Queens and northern Suffolk and Nassau counties and has a Democratic registration advantage of roughly 41,000 voters. In a five-way primary, Democrats nominated former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who holds a big name recognition edge over his challenger, Republican state Sen. Jack Martins. On the issues the two are not so different, with both taking moderate positions in their respective parties. A recent Siena/Newsday poll had Suozzi leading Martins 50 percent to 34 percent, while nearly six in 10 voters said they didn’t know who Martins was or had no opinion of him.


John Faso (R)

Zephyr Teachout (D)

John Faso
Zephyr Teachout

A Siena/Time Warner Cable News poll in late September had this race pretty much dead even at 43-42 percent for Republican John Faso. Registered Republicans and Democrats were mostly falling in line based on party, with independents evenly split. The sprawling district that includes all or parts of 11 counties has a few thousand more Democrats than Republicans, but it’s basically a wash. Popular Republican incumbent Chris Gibson chose not to seek reelection, so this open seat is a true toss-up. Because of that, there is an enormous amount of money (more than $10 million at last check) being poured into the campaigns, both through candidates and super PACs.


Martin Babinec (UJP)

Kim Myers (D)

Claudia Tenney (R)

Martin Babinec
Kim Myers
Claudia Tenney

This central New York congressional race may be the oddest in New York this cycle. Popular Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, who chose not to seek re-election this year, declined to endorse the Republican nominee, conservative Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Tenney’s candidacy is also complicated by Martin Babinec, a millionaire independent running on a new Upstate Jobs Party line. A Siena/Time Warner Cable News poll from late September had Tenney ahead with 35 percent of the vote in the three-way race, Democrat Kim Myers with 30 percent and Babinec with 24 percent. The poll also suggests most voters have already made up their minds. Only 11 percent said they were not sure who they would vote for, and only 17 percent said they were likely to change their mind.


Colleen Deacon (D)

John Katko (R)

Colleen Deacon
John Katko

This congressional district has been a seesaw seat in recent years. A Democrat won in 2008, a Republican won in 2010, and in 2012 a Democrat won it back. Then, in 2014, Republican John Katko won by about 28,000 votes. A Siena/Time Warner Cable poll from early October has Katko leading Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon 53 percent to 34 percent. But it’s worth noting that in 2014, incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei had a 50-42 lead on Katko at roughly the same point six weeks out, and Katko went on to win easily. The district, which is primarily made up of Onondaga County, including the city of Syracuse, is pretty evenly split on registration numbers, with Democrats holding a slight edge of roughly 9,000.