WASHINGTON — Last week, voters from Arizona to Pennsylvania rejected politicians who embraced former President Donald J. Trump’s agenda.
So how did several pro-Trump candidates in New York, a state where registered Republicans outnumber registered Republicans 2-to-1, weather the political headwinds and win 11 of 26 seats, including four previously held by Democrats?
With an unrelenting focus on crime and inflation, said Republican George Santos, a first-generation American who flipped New York’s 3rd Circuit, which includes parts of Long Island and northern Queens.
“There’s a mischaracterization that New Yorkers are very liberal,” he said. “Here’s the reality: we’re seeing crushing inflation, we’re seeing record-breaking energy bills and crime bills. I ran a campaign where I spoke to constituents about issues that affect them every day.”
Santos has expressed his support for Trump in the past. He was in Washington in 2021 for the “Stop the Steal” rally when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, though he later described January 6 as “a sad and dark day in our history.”
Santos beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman by more than 9 percentage points in a district Joe Biden won by about 10 points in 2020.
In addition to Santos, newly elected Republicans from New York include Mike Lawler, who unseated Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the Hudson Valley; Brandon Williams, who won in Central New York; Nick LaLota, who will occupy the east Long Island seat currently occupied by Republican candidate Lee Zeldin, who ran for governor; Anthony D’Esposito, who turned over a Long Island seat that had been in Democratic hands for two decades; Marcus Molinaro, who won at Dutchess County; and Nick Langworthy, the Republican leader elected in western New York.
Democrats had attempted to redraw the map of New York to make Republicans more vulnerable, but that map was overturned by a court. Still, Democrats were buoyed when Ulster County Executive Director Pat Ryan won a closely-watched special election in August.
Midterm losses in New York sparked a round of reproaches and blame from leading Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other officials and community group leaders from the party’s progressive wing are calling for a change in leadership of the state party. “If we’re going to be successful after this election, we need to clean up from the top and activate communities across the state,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
On Tuesday, the day after The Associated Press called a seat for Williams, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., said he was looking for post-election analysis of exactly what went wrong for Democrats.
“I suggested that this should be an after-action analysis focused on the state’s Democratic Party, focus on some of the statewide campaigns and try to figure out what happened on Long Island, what happened in the Hudson Valley.” , he said .
For Republicans, New York was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year.
But conservative Republican victories across the Empire State defy easy explanation. Bruce Gyory, a political strategist who has advised a number of New York City Democrats in the past (though none in the current cycle), says the results have been less of a nationwide red wave and more of a partisan tide.
Republicans’ tough talk about crime resonated in the suburbs of Long Island, a purple region that constantly shuttles between the two parties, and Rockland County, home to a large number of current and retired New York City police officers, he said.
“Long Island doesn’t belong to anyone,” Gyory said. “They have a high proportion of conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans and true independents. … Long Island can turn around in a cycle, and it has repeatedly done so over the past 15 years.”
New York has long been the domain of moderate “Rockefeller Republicans.” But, Gyory said, the lack of a prominent center Republican leader in state politics — he cited former governors. George Pataki and Nelson Rockefeller – and the nationalization of congressional elections has propelled the success of the current generation of more conservative politicians.
David Jones, a professor of political science at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York, said the newly elected members from New York must tread carefully if hoping for re-election.
“A lot of these New York Republicans aren’t going to look like a Texas Republican or a Georgia Republican,” Jones said. “They’re still going to be conservative, but they’re always thinking, ‘How can I not upset the center voter and keep this seat?’
The new group of Republican freshmen from New York will make their presence felt, Santos said. “If[Democratic Gov.]Kathy Hochul wants us to get federal dollars into the state, she needs to understand that we want them to be used for the right things, not her liberal wish list,” he said.
As for Trump, Santos on Tuesday declined to endorse the former president’s 2024 candidacy for the White House. Right now, he said, he’s busy setting up his congressional office. “I’ll let some time pass and see what the options are,” he said.
- College Football Playoff Scoring: Final 2022 Bowl Game…
- Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa discusses Bill's game amid…
- Georgia vs. Ohio State: Peach Bowl 2022 Odds and Result…
- Darnell Washington NFL Draft 2023: Georgia TE Scouting…
- Peach Bowl 2022: Georgia vs. Ohio State Playoff Latest Odds,…
- AP College Basketball Poll 2022: Full Week 8 Men's Rankings…