Now that it’s got to happen, how do the prospects look for either party? The Cook Political Report starts a special election at “Likely Democratic” – the second-best rating for a party hold. (“Safe” is the best rating.)
But a lot depends on when the election is held. (It aided Democrats in NY-26 that local elections in Democratic Erie County were happening on the big day.) The next scheduled election in New York is September 13. Candidates can petition to make the ballot for that election by July 14. If Weiner officially resigns before July 7 (and he is), and the governor does not call a special election, there can be a normal election; if he does call a special, it’s up to local parties to nominate their candidates to replace Weiner.
Cook knows this better than I do. His rating for the district takes into account that NY-9 is only “D+5,” which means it’s five points more Democratic than the country as a whole. That’s not landslide territory. Obama’s victory here came with 55 percent of the vote; only two points better than he did nationwide. In 2010, the year of the Tea Party, Weiner easily dispatched businessman Robert Turner, holding the seat with 60.8 percent of the vote. But that was the closest election he’d ever faced here.
The upshot: If Democrats could win NY-26, Republicans could win NY-9. Two other New York members of Congress have resigned due to sex scandals in the past 15 months. In both cases, their seats were taken over by the opposite party. If I’m with the Emergency Committee for Israel, I see an opportunity to test Democratic strength with Jewish voters. If I’m with American Crossroads, I see a chance to get in early and get revenge for NY-26. And so on.