Central New York is home to a district that President Donald Trump carried handily in 2016, but could flip to blue. It's home to two of the potentially closest battleground House races in upstate New York, as Republicans seek to win back the majority. 

And there are a range of state Senate races featuring a mix of open seats and incumbents that could determine the composition of that chamber in Albany for the next two years. 

Here are some races to watch in central New York:


Republican Rep. John Katko is once again defending his seat against Democrat Dana Balter, one of several rematches at the congressional level this year. 

Katko has held the district since 2014 despite it being considered a prototypical battleground district. The Syracuse-area district has reliably changed hands betwen the two parties for several cycles before Katko won it. 

Katko, fully aware of this, has sought to stake out middle ground positions in an increasingly polarized electorate. A Siena College poll this month showed Balter and Katko in a virtual tie. Katko has previously and comfortably led in Siena surveys.


This is another rematch, but in a very different district. Two years ago, Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi unseated Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney for a district that stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier region. 

It's a conservative area, one the president won easily over Hillary Clinton four years ago. Trump even campaigned and raised funds for Tenney in the 2018 race at an event in Utica. 

Brindisi and Tenney are both former members of the state Assembly and know each other well. Tenney, in her comeback bid, has accused Brindisi of being under the control of national Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Brindisi, meanwhile, has focused on more bread-and-butter concerns for a district that includes struggling cities like Utica and rural expanses. 

Both candidates squared off in a Spectrum News debate on Monday evening moderated by Capital Tonight's Susan Arbetter.


Senate District 50

Here's a Syracuse-area district Democrats in Albany have long hoped to flip. But for years it was represented by a popular and powerful Republican, John DeFrancisco.

DeFrancisco retired in 2018, however, giving way to Republican Bob Antonacci. But Antonacci would not serve out his full term, instead running for a judgeship closer to home. 

Now the seat is yet another open one for Republicans to defend this fall. Demcorat John Mannion is running once again after narrowly losing to Antonacci in 2018. He faces Republican Angi Renna in a race that's already drawing outside money from figures like billionaire cosmetics heir Ron Lauder. 

Lauder is funding an independent expenditure campaign against Democratic state Senate candidates this year, potentially denying the party a supermajority in the chamber.