New York has an unusually high number of competitive convention races this year.
In the 17th district, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney meets Republican Mike Lawler. As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, it’s a key race as Republicans nationwide hope to gain control of the House of Representatives.
The breeze was fresh and turnout steady as voters in the newly drawn 17th congressional district cast their ballot.
Maloney and his husband, Randy Florke, voted near their Putnam County home. The congressman said he plans to have a quiet election day.
“I like to go hiking in the woods sometimes, clear my head, and again I think election day is a day to respect voters. We had our chance to make our case; now it’s up to them,” Maloney said.
He added he plans to spend time thanking campaign volunteers.
Maloney hasn’t been in a close race since 2014 when he won by 3,000 votes. The redistribution means his district now includes many Rockland County residents he never represented.
His campaign will keep a close eye on returnees from Peekskill, a Democratic stronghold north of Westchester, and from Hasidic communities in Rockland, where Maloney has garnered the support of influential rabbis.
Democratic insiders are cautiously optimistic but realistic — this race will be ruled a homicide.
Because Maloney is leading Democrats’ efforts to hold Congress, Republicans would take great delight in knocking him out.
During the campaign, Maloney emphasized electoral integrity, abortion rights and gun control, while arguing that Democrats’ efforts to alleviate inflation are starting to have an impact.
It’s not just the redistribution that made this a close race. House Republicans have helped channel more than $8 million into the district, money mostly spent on political solicitations.
As reported by CBS2’s Kevin Rincon, Lawler was voting with his wife Doina in Pearl River and planning a last-minute campaign day.
“I will drive through the district. We have a truck with signs and we just storm the district and try to challenge people to vote,” he said.
Throughout his campaign he has focused on economic issues – things like inflation and taxes – and he has campaigned against crime and called for a change in the state’s bail reform laws.
He says his team has seen some high turnout numbers that he hopes will help, and if he comes out on top it would be the first time a Republican has beaten the incumbent chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee in 42 years.
Voters are no doubt excited for the end of the race after both sides spent nearly $20 million on a spate of attack ads.
With a judge giving the OK to count most of the absentee ballots Tuesday night, both campaigns expect the winner to be known before the night is out, rather than waiting until Wednesday.