New Yorkers can begin to cast ballots in-person Oct. 24 at early voting sites to help decide the victor in at least five contested congressional races across the state as well vote their preference for president and other contests.
Early voting runs from Saturday through Nov. 1 at 88 New York City polling sites ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day [check vote.nyc for your polling site].
A tidal wave of New Yorkers are also voting via absentee or mail-in ballot to avoid interactions at the polls amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 2.3 million voters have requested absentee ballots and over 665,000 ballots have been returned, according to the state Board of Elections. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27.
There’s high interest in the 2020 elections. More than 50 million Americans have already voted early, nearly one-third of the expected turnout and that number could rise to nearly 60 million before Election Day nationwide, experts say.
The performance of President Trump and Joe Biden at the top of the ticket in the presidential race will play a key role in determining who wins fiercely-fought congressional races on Staten Island, in the suburbs and upstate, sources said.
The Trump factor will come into play in the down-and-dirty race between first-term Democratic Rep. Max Rose and GOP rival Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a former mayoral candidate, in the 11th CD encompassing Staten Island and southern Brooklyn. This House race is the most expensive and closely watched in the country.
Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2016. But Democrats doubt Trump will carry the district by that margin again this time.
Another major issue and potential achilles heel for Republicans tied to the presidential race and legislative races down ballot is the gender gap — with more women gravitating toward Democrats.
“The question is whether the gender gap becomes a gender gulch,” said veteran political consultant Bruce Gyory.
Such a gulch could hurt Republicans in battleground races, Gyory said.
The Rose-Malliotakis race “is a real street fight,” said former GOP Congressman Vito Fossella, who held the seat for a decade.
The race could go either way but Fossella sees an avenue for a Malliotakis victory fueled by a strong pro-Trump showing and her strong pro-law enforcement message — she’s backed by a law enforcement coalition headed by the NYC PBA.
He also claimed that Rose erred by participating in a Black Lives Matter, anti-police brutality rally that ended at a police precinct in the pro-cop borough.
In particular, there’s a question of how voters will feel about Rose’s vote to impeach Trump, an issue that might be eclipsed by constituents’ preoccupation of coping with the coronavirus pandemic and the recession.
“These are two very effective candidates going after each other,” said Gyory.
He said Rose will likely benefit if the pandemic and health concerns are the overriding issues with voters.
Rose, a decorated Army vet, was assigned to National Guard duty to support COVID-19 emergency relief efforts in his district and worked with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open the first drive-thru COVID-19 site in the district.
Rose, who defeated GOP incumbent Dan Donovan in the 2018 mid-term “Blue Wave” election, has sought to show he’s an independent Democratic in the conservative-leaning district by attacking liberals in how own party — including Mayor Bill de Blasio, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Rose told The Post he stands by his record.
“The race boils down to the very simple question: who will always put country over party and deliver results. I’m proud of my record of working across the aisle to get things done, from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, increasing funding to combat the opioid epidemic, or getting a COVID-only hospital set up at the height of the pandemic, we’ve made real progress — but our work has just begun,” he said.
Malliotakis, who was elected to the Assembly in 2010 after upsetting Democratic incumbent Janele Hyer-Spencer, is running on an anti-crime platform and trying to link Rose to the state Legislature’s approval of controversial bail reform and slamming him for marching in the anti-police brutality protest following the death of George Floyd.
Malliotakis will benefit if crime is the top concern, Gyory said.
“This election is about supporting law and order, restoring our economy, preserving the American Dream and stopping socialism. It’s also about New York City having a two party system because radical policies adopted under one party Democrat rule have made us less safe and we desperately need a balance,” Malliotakis told The Post.
It’s been a nasty race filled with voters getting bombarded with mudsling ads and personal attacks.
Rose has outspent Malliotakis two-to-one and has blanketed the airwaves with ads claiming Malliotakis “fraud.” Malliotakis has called Rose a “radical liberal” and a “liar.”
More than $7 million has been spent combined by outside groups, with GOP groups parroting Malliotakis’ message and pro-Rose groups repeating his attacks.
Other races to watch:
- The contest to replace popular Republican Rep. Peter King in Long Island’s 2nd congressional district, who is retiring after three decades of service. The Democrats believe they have a shot to take the seat with career military veteran and educator Jackie Gordon, a Babylon Town councilwoman, who is facing off against Republican Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, a respected legislator.
“This race is a pick’em. It’s a toss-up,” said former GOP U.S. Sen Al D’Amato. He said Gordon has run effective TV ads.
- GOP incumbent Rep.Lee Zeldin vs. Nancy Goroff, a Stony Brook U. scientist in Suffolk’s 1st Congressional District.. Zeldin won re-election to a second term by 4 percentage points in 2016.
The military vet has closely aligned himself to Trump this time around. Trump carried Suffolk County in 2016. Voters here are concerned about taxes and crime but also environmental issues in its shore communities.
- In the 22nd CD upstate: A rematch between first-term incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi and the Republican incumbent he defeated in 2018, Claudia Tenney. The district stretches from south of Canada to the Pennsylvania border, taking in the Binghamton and Utica regions. Republicans hold a registration advantage and Trump is expected to carry the district. Brindisi won by 4,500 votes in a squeaker two years ago.
- It’s another rematch in the Syracuse region’s 24th CD between GOP incumbent Rep. John Katko and Democratic challenger Dana Balter. Katko won by five percentage points in 2018, when the Democrats picked up other seats. Trump carried the district in 2016. Will he have coattails this time around?
Democrats hold 20 of the 27 congressional seats in New York.