New York is one of the top 10 states most likely to see a flip in party control of one state legislative chamber on Election Day in November. Democrats are unlikely to lose their grip on the state assembly, where the party maintains a supermajority with 104 of 150 seats. In the senate, however, Democrats are in a unique position. Although they hold a numerical advantage, 32-31, Democratic Senator Simcha Felder caucuses with Republicans, thereby giving the GOP control of the upper chamber.
To flip the senate, Democrats must gain one additional seat, assuming Felder continues on the conservative track he began in 2012, and that progressive challenger Blake Morris (D) will lose to Felder, who is an otherwise popular incumbent. Although there are well over 50,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Felder’s District 17, Morris will need every vote in a district that otherwise voted for President Trump by a margin of +8.1.
The case for Republican control of the Senate is complicated by several announced retirements, including Senators John DeFrancisco (R), John Bonacic (R), Kathleen Marchione (R), Bill Larkin (R), and Tom Croci (R). Both Croci’s District 3 and Bonacic’s District 42 voted for Trump, by a margin of +6 and +5.2 respectively, though Democrats hold over 8,000 more registered voters in each district.
New Yorkers will also select their governor on November 6. New York does not impose term limits on governors, permitting incumbent Andrew Cuomo (D) to run for a third term. On September 13, Cuomo will face a primary challenge from the left in Cynthia Nixon (D), a former Sex and the City actor and activist. Far-left Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D) primary win in the U.S. House could energize more Democratic voters to draw closer to Nixon’s own progressive camp. Regardless, Nixon will need to overcome, at minimum, a 22-point chasm.
Republican challenger Marcus Molinaro faces a similar point spread (-22.5) against Cuomo. Molinaro has already accepted the Republican party’s nomination for governor and is campaigning on a platform of reducing taxes and tackling corruption. New York has not had a Republican governor since George Pataki (1995-2006), and before Pataki, Malcolm Wilson (1973-1974).