It’s been a tough year for New York Democrats.
Fresh off the traumatic resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August 2021, the party took a drubbing at the polls that November in several down-ballot races, particularly in Long Island.
Then this past spring, after the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to find a consensus on new House maps, the state Legislature crafted Democratic friendly congressional districts that would only be later thrown out by the courts and redrawn by a special master, making several seats much more competitive. The state also lost a congressional seat after the 2020 Census, with Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney forced out after redistricting pitted her in a primary race against Rep. Jerry Nadler over the summer that she lost.
While Democratic candidates across the country held their own in many places in Tuesday’s midterm elections and prevented an overwhelming “red wave” that many believed was coming, New York – a heavy blue state – had a little bit different story.
All the statewide Democratic incumbents won re-election, though the race for governor in the last few weeks was a little too close for comfort for Gov. Kathy Hochul. She prevailed in winning her own full term, but her victory over Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin was the closest margin for a governor’s race in nearly 30 years.
The party also ended up struggling with those competitive House districts, highlighted by the defeat of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He conceded the race for the 17th District in the Hudson Valley Wednesday morning, both a numerical and symbolic victory for the GOP.
On Long Island, Republican George Santos flipped New York's 3rd Congressional District, a seat held most recently by Rep. Tom Suozzi, who didn’t run for another term and made a failed bid for governor. Republican Anthony D’Esposito also flipped the 4th District.
In upstate, Republican Marc Molinaro won against Democrat Josh Riley in the 19th District, which is another Republican flip. In the 22nd District, Republican Brandon Williams has claimed victory over Democrat Francis Conole. While that would be Republican hold, Democrats had hoped this year would be their chance to flip the purple Central New York seat held for the last eight years by Republican Rep. John Katko.
In the 25th District, Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle won against Republican La'Ron Singletary, but his margin was closer than his past elections.
The results have re-upped calls from some Democrats for state Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs to step down.
“I called for Jay Jacob’s resignation a year ago and I still hold that position,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday morning.
Jacobs held the position from 2009 to 2012 and then returned in 2019.
Democrats have more than 6 million enrolled voters in New York compared to fewer than 2.9 million for Republicans, who are outnumbered by registered voters not enrolled in either party.