In New York State today, there are a lot of Democrats facing re-elections. Heck, after the elections of 2008, there were hardly any House Republicans from New York left at all.
In this group, it’s not the veteran legislators who stand out. Those who have been in Congress for a long while will likely stay put. What about the newcomers, though?
Tonight, Election Night, I’ll be watching for the fates of three relative newcomers: Freshman liberal Dan Maffei, special election Blue Dog Scott Murphy, and two-term Blue Dog Michael Arcuri. As members of the Blue Dog Coalition, Mike Arcuri and Scott Murphy have collaborated with Republicans to block liberal Democratic legislation of the sort that Dan Maffei has supported.
I’ve been curious to see how these three Democrats fare this year, because they have ideological differences, but also because they represent a big area of Upstate New York that runs from the source of the Hudson River near Vermont on through Syracuse down to the Southern Tier, below Ithaca.
Dan Maffei is facing Ann Marie Buerkle, a far right Republican who asserts that there is no scientific consensus supporting the reality of global warming. On Election Day, Maffei is the only one of these three Democrats who has had a genuinely close race. Even he, however, appears to be struggling to fend off Buerkle. Maffei is currently just 2 points ahead, with a 92 precincts reporting.
Right wing Blue Dog Congressman Mike Arcuri is being challenged for the second time by Richard Hanna, a Republican who has run to the left of Arcuri on some issues, including, at least initially, religious tolerance. Hanna declared the placement of mosques to be a private affair protected by the First Amendment, until the Arcuri campaign declared that some areas of the United States ought to be off limits to Muslim buildings. Although Arcuri had a strong lead at first, he and Hanna were perceived as running neck and neck coming into Election Day. Hanna has taken that momentum and moved into a victory lap on Election Night. With 81 percent of precincts now reporting, Arcuri is 6 points behind Hanna. Arcuri may have finally learned that voting against constitutional liberties, against climate legislation and against health care is something that a Democratic U.S. Representative cannot do and survive.
Scott Murphy is running against Chris Gibson, a Republican who wants to diminish regulations, even after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Wall Street’s mortgage securities meltdown. Scott Murphy had been seen as the frontrunner in this race at first, but Gibson has recently seen more support among voters. Results from this race cannot be categorized as close. With a 91 percent of precincts reporting, Murphy is 10 points behind Gibson.