Thursday, September 15, 2011

GOP picks up Congressional Seat in Brooklyn/Queens

The big news is that in New York's 9th District, Bob Turner defeated David Weprin. This is bigger than the hype for several reasons.

Remember the end of 2008. The GOP was supposedly dead in the water outside of the South. It was a "Southern" party which was "behind the times" to the new Obama age. The media said so....over and over again. We knew it was crap, but it takes results to get those idiots to shut their mouths.

In fact, here's a reminder of some of that crap:

November 2, 2009 - AP

Also, the party's power center is mostly limited to the South, the one region McCain dominated last fall; Obama won almost everywhere else — including making inroads in emerging powerhouse regions like the West, although Republicans still solidly control several lightly populated states in the area.

You still hear that trash about this National party. Here's actual truth.
2009 - GOP picked up races in New Jersey (Northeast/Mid Atlantic) and Virginia (won in Fairfax County - not southern in culture). Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. Many local wins.

National Review's Jim Gehraty caught this before 2010. I expanded on that November 24 - Republican Comeback in the Northeast. That was in reference mostly to the New York and Philly suburbs. Philly's burbs are probably the 2nd most democrat in the country overall among large city suburbs. New York is probably 3rd. 1st is Boston. All of those actually were key in some of the comeback races in 2009.

2010 - Pickups:
Senate - North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania. Mostly Midwest. Illinois is a shocker. Obama's home state.

Gubernatorial - Pickups in Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maine. Dems gained California, Hawaii, and Minnesota. Spread out, but a pickup in Maine.

House pickups:
South (and Texas, Maryland, West Virginia - which are arguable) - 21
1 - Alabama
2 - Arkansas
1 - Georgia
1 - Louisiana
1 - Maryland
2 - Mississippi
1 - North Carolina
1 - South Carolina
3 - Tennessee
3 - Virginia
1 - West Virginia
3 - Texas

Florida - 4 (Florida is part Southern, part Midwest, part Northeast, and part Carribean)

West - 8
2 - Arizona
2 - Colorado
1 - Idaho
1 - Nevada
1 - New Mexico
1 - Washington

Midwest - 20
4 - Illinois
2 - Indiana
1 - Kansas
2 - Michigan
1 - Minnestota
1 - Missouri
1 - North Dakota
5 - Ohio
1 - South Dakota
2 - Wisconsin

Northeast - 14
2 - New Hampshire
1 - New Jersey
6 - New York
5 - Pennsylvania

The pickups are spread out. The GOP does well in the South, but not just the South. Five seats in New York, despite the special election blunders upstate.

I put all that in background because I want to smash that media driven "GOP is only a Southern Party" (followed by bad stereotypes perpetuated by that same media) bullshit. It's a NATIONAL party. Midwest, West, Northeast, and South.

One thing I respected about Howard Dean, for all his faults is that as DNC chair, he pushed his party to have a 50 state strategy. He didn't always do it well, but he had the right idea. Whether we are able to hang on to the Scott Brown or Bob Turner seats remain to be seen. Speaking of Bob Turner, he's the new Congressman from New York City. 9th District. Brooklyn and Queens.

Bob Turner defeated David Weprin for a New York City Congessional District that had no portion of Staten Island. This is big. New York City has a reputation as a major blue city. It's well deserved. Of the five Boroughs, only one voted for McCain or Bush. Heavily White Ethnic and Catholic Staten Island, the smallest of the Boroughs is competitive but usually votes Republican. Brooklyn and Queens are usually 70-80% dem. Bronx and Manhattan are 80-90% dem. That's referring to national elections Boroughwide. It's not uniform and there are competitive portions within that district, but they are usually outvoted by other areas in the district.

Until yesterday, there was only one congressional district in New York City that often voted Republican. That would be the 13th district which is based in Staten Island and also has four mostly Italian neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The 9th and its incarnations, has been democrat since the 1920's.

If you look at big city districts in general, only a few are represented with Republicans, and fewer have two. The Bucks County district in Pennsylvania has part of Philly. It's a swing district. Miami's Cuban areas have Republican reps. Jacksonville, Cincinnati (due to burbs), Columbus (Due to burbs), part of Indianapolis, Colorado Springs, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Wichita, small parts of Houston and Dallas, small part of San Diego, and parts of Phoenix. All those areas outside of Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Cincinnati, and Columbus also have significant democrat congressional districts. Columbus and Cincinnati would if their districts were not split.

There are 12 districts which have part of New York City.
5th - Gary Ackerman (D), Queens/Long Island - 63% Gore/Kerry. 45% White, 24.6% Asian, 24% Latino

6th - Gregory Meeks (D), Queens - 89% Obama, 84%Kerry. 54% Black

7th - Joseph Crowley (D), Queens/Bronx - 79% Obama, 74% Kerry, 45% White, 36% Latino, 19% Black

8th - Jerrold Nadler (D), Manhattan/Brooklyn - 74% Obama, 72% Kerry - 75% White, 11% Asian, 11% Hispanic

9th - Bob Turner (R), Brooklyn/Queens - 55% Obama, 56% Kerry - 71% White, 15% Asian, 14% Latino

10th - Ed Towns (D), Brooklyn - 91% Obama, 86% Kerry - 63% Black

11th - Yvette Clark (D), Brooklyn - 91% Obama, 86% Kerry - 62% Black

12th - Nydia Velasquez (D), Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens - 86% Obama, 80% Kerry, 49% Latino, 40% White, 16% Asian 11% Black

13th - Michael Grimm (R), Staten Island/Brooklyn - 52% McCain, 56% Bush, 77% White, 11% Latino,

14th - Carolyn Maloney (D), Manhattan/Queens - 78% Obama, 74% Kerry. 73% White, 14% Latino, 11% Asian

15th - Charlie Rangel (D), Manhattan/Queens - 93% Obama, 90% Kerry. 48% Latino, 34% Black.

16th - Jose Serrano (D), Bronx - 95% Obama, 89% Kerry. 63% Latino, 36% Black

17th - Elliot Engle (D), Bronx/Rockland/Westchester - 72% Obama, 67% Kerry, 48% White, 32% Black, 20% Hispanic.

You have 6-9 minority seats. Crowley, Engel, and Ackerman's districts aren't I believe VRA seats, but are still under 50% white. The districts there have strange shapes because of the VRA rules. Meeks, Towns and Clark will have their seats protected. There's a lot of old school ethnic politics that still goes on in the Northeast, and New York City in particular. New York State is usually under split control in the state legislature, and deals are often made with the factions there. Traditionally it is upstate republicans vs City democrats, but that may be changing with the upcoming redistricting as democrats are making inroads upstate and republicans inroads in the city.

The 11th is Grimm's district. That's the Staten Island seat. It also has some largely Italian areas of Brooklyn that are competitive. It borders the 9th. The 8th is Manhattan based seat that has a mix of different areas in Brooklyn, from democrat "Hipster" areas, to Orthodox Jewish and Italian areas. Crowley's district, the 7th borders the 9th on the other side. There's been some blending of the 9th and 7th districts with redistricting.

The 9th covers these areas.

Queens - Maspeth, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Middle Village, Forest Hills, Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Rego Park, Rockaway Beach, and Woodhaven.
Brooklyn - Flatlands, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Midwood, Mill Basin and Sheepshead Bay.

It has a reputation as the "Brooklyn Jewish District" because it was Weiner and before that Chuck Schumer's. That's only partially true. Most of the district is actually in Queens. The district is 40% Jewish however, and Brooklyn has a large Orthodox population in the district. There's also significant Asian, Italian, and Irish, as well as Jewish populations there. There is a large Orthodox population in the Brooklyn section however. In 2008, Turner ran almost 50/50 in Brooklyn against Anthony Weiner. Queens was where Weiner actually whipped Turner's ass and winning the district with 60% of the vote. Downticket, Weiner usually won between 60-70%, normal for incumbents against most opponents. Turner did well in 2010, holding Weiner to 60%. That was before Weiner became famous for being a Weenie.

I'm trying to find official numbers for the district and the neighborhoods, but last I've heard, it was about 67% Turner in Brooklyn, and 52-48 Weiprin in Queens. 48% in an area Weiner won by 30pts is good enough for the GOP to win because it means it is a wipeout in Brooklyn. If it was 67% in Brooklyn, he won big both in the Jewish and Irish/Italian areas. In Queens, I'm interested in seeing where Turner won and where he lost.

Regardless of anything, this is bad for the dems. While this was a seat democrat since the 1920's, more significantly, this district went for Obama, Kerry, Gore (66%), and Clinton. This was not some traditional district trending in a direction to the point of being on borrowed time. It has trended less democrat, but 55% was the minimum number for the dems, especially with the Queens portion of the district.

Why did they lose it?

1. Special elections are always tricky. Turnout changes.

2. Poor candidate. David Weprin was the nominee because Joe Crowley, basically your stereotypical urban boss politician, thought it would be a good idea. Weprin voted for gay marriage, while claiming to be an Orthodox Jew. Now I'm not Jewish, so I'm not going to comment except that he didn't sell in the Brooklyn Orthodox areas against an Irish Catholic, for whatever reason. He also didn't live in the district. He was in the 5th district. (Akerman) From what I've heard, he came off like a typical politician and panderer. Good candidates can overcome bad leads at the top of the ticket outside of a 2008 or 2010 style wave election.

3. Good candidates. Bob Turner. Bob Turner won. He held the margin in Queens down and won big in Brooklyn. He didn't do terrible in 2010, but he built on 2010 and finished with the win. He wasn't a RINO either. I don't expect him to be Mike Pence or Jim DeMint, but he's not Mike Bloomberg either. Turner gave the people there a real choice.

4. Crossovers. Ed Koch and Dov Hikind were democrats supporting Turner. Koch wanted to repudiate Obama for his Middle Eastern policies. Turner benefited from that.

5. Last but not least, the economy. This district isn't Midtown Manhattan or the Upper East Side. This isn't a trust fund Hipster District in gentrification parts of Williamsburg that the white liberals love. This is a largely Middle Class and Working Class white ethnic district with a few rich and poor areas. This is the type of district that Scott Brown targeted in his Massachusetts senate race. The current economy isn't great there in this district either. The economy and jobs is the number one factor every election.

With Redistricting (and split control), I don't know what will happen to this district. Two districts will be eliminated, probably one GOP and one dem. One of them will have to be upstate. The original plan was for the democrat to be Wiener (with Weprin as a placeholder seat). It'll be interesting to see what happens to this seat. Will Turner drop some of the Queens portion to Crowley for the rest of the Orthodox areas in Brooklyn or Grimm's Italian precincts?

At worst, this gives the GOP momentum and another house seat for a year. It also shows, once again, that the GOP can compete and win not just areas outside the South but in the Northeast and in urban areas to boot.

At best, this will be the start of taking over inner ring suburbs and even some majority non-Hipster white urban districts.

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