Although much of the post-Election Day attention has focused on the national elections for President, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, New York State’s elections also proved to be competitive and have had their share of surprises. As expected, former Vice President Joe Biden prevailed over President Donald Trump by a comfortable 55.4% to 42.5% margin, with thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted. However, the anticipated “bounce” that many expected would assist Democrats in down-ballot races from the Biden/Harris ticket does not appear to have materialized.
All 27 of New York’s seats in the House of Representatives were up for election (New York’s two U.S. Senate seats were not this year), with 21 of those seats currently held by Democrats and six held by Republicans. Several were open seats either because the incumbent was not running for reelection (e.g., Rep. Peter King (R), Rep. José Serrano (D) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D)) or the incumbent lost in the primary election (e.g., Eliot Engel (D)).
The Republican incumbents appear to have retained five of their seats, including three that were expected to be competitive (i.e., Rep. Elise Stefanik (North Country), Rep. John Katko (Syracuse area) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (Suffolk County)), and Andrew Garbarino (R) appears to have prevailed in securing the open Long Island seat currently held by Rep. King.
In New York City, Nicole Malliotakis (R) has a 51% to 45% lead over incumbent Max Rose (D) on Staten Island, and there are five tight races between a Democratic incumbent and a Republican challenger (NY 3 (Nassau/Queens), NY 4 (Nassau), NY 18 (Mid-Hudson), NY 19 (Mid-Hudson) and NY 22 (Mohawk/Central/Southern Tier)). Absentee ballots must still be counted in these races, making it difficult to predict who will ultimately prevail, although it appears that the Republicans will gain at least one seat in this election cycle.
In elections for the State Senate, Republicans were also very competitive in several races. The Senate Democrats were expecting to build on their success in the 2018 election, when they captured the Senate Majority, by increasing their majority by at least two seats—which would have brought them to 42 seats and a supermajority in the 63-seat Senate, theoretically capable of overriding a Governor’s veto. Although absentee ballots must still be counted, as of now Republicans appear to have held 20 of their current 23 seats (of the remaining three, they appear to have lost one seat, are in danger of losing another and are near-even in the third) and are winning in eight seats currently held by Democrats. Although the Republicans may prevail in some or all of these races, it does not appear they will reach the 32 seats necessary to recapture the Senate Majority.
While the Democrats are not in danger of losing their majority in the 150-member Assembly, Election Day followed a similar pattern to that of the Senate with Republicans picking up or leading in contests for nine seats currently held by Democrats and narrowly trailing in five others, while also not losing any of the 42 seats currently held by Republicans. These prospective gains are not expected to dramatically shift the balance of power in the Assembly, but they are notable based on the high number of potential losses by incumbents.
We do not expect to know the outcomes of these races for several days, if not weeks, depending on the closeness of these elections and the likely recounts and legal challenges that may ensue. If you have any questions about the status or implications of these elections, please do not hesitate to contact us.