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Cornell Professor Recaps Southern Tier Mid-Term Stories

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) - WSKG's Gabe Altieri talks with Cornell Professor Glenn Altschuler about the impact of regional congressional races and what it means that Democrats control the New York Senate. They start with New York's 22nd congressional district, covering the Southern Tier and Central New York including Binghamton, Cortland and Utica.



GABE ALTIERI: So in this race, Democrat Anthony Brindisi has a small lead right now, but Claudia Tenney hasn’t conceded and absentee ballots still need to be counted. So, what does it say about this district that the election is so close?

GLENN ALTSCHULER: Well, that district has been something of a contested district for some period of time. And as you may know, Claudia Tenney's predecessor, Richard Hanna, a moderate Republican, did not endorse Tenney.

Tenney herself has made several unfortunate comments. The most prominent of them about whether serial killers tended to be Democrats. That got her into some difficulty and Anthony Brindisi is a very presentable candidate. Ran a strong campaign and in this environment, which in New York State was somewhat of a blue wave, he appears to have prevailed.

ALTIERI: And part of that blue wave was NY-19, right? Antonio Delgado took that Hudson Valley district from John Faso. Now, there were all these negative ads against Delgado that hit on his time as a rapper that aired during that campaign. Now, some people were calling those racist. They weren't from Faso but they were from a group trying to keep Delgado out of office. Did these ads backfire?

ALTSCHULER: Well you know, Gabe, negative ads usually work, but they don't always work. And there are times in which negative ads can go too far. It's very difficult to quantify the impact of an ad, but I think we can say Delgado's position in the race strengthened as time went on so what we can say for sure is that the ads did not help Faso.

ALTIERI: Alright moving NY-23. It covers the Finger Lakes and western Southern Tier. Republican Tom Reed won his fourth term fairly comfortably. So how reliably Red is this district at this point? I mean it does include Ithaca which is a fairly Democratic stronghold.

ALTSCHULER: This is a reliably Red district. We all know the jokes about Ithaca being surrounded by reality. The more appropriate description is that it's surrounded by Republicans and those Republicans make up for a Tompkins County and more.

ALTIERI: I'd like to end on the New York State Senate. Control of that chamber moved to the Democrats. That party now controls the Senate, they control the Assembly and they control the Governor's office. At the same time, a majority of the upstate seats in the Senate are held by Republicans so what does this mean for these lawmakers as they try to get their legislative priorities through without a majority.

ALTSCHULER: It's a little bit difficult to say. Governor Cuomo, especially in the period when he moved to the political center early on, I think preferred to have a Republican majority in the Senate because he could use it to moderate the agenda of more progressive downstate [Democrats] and so he is likely to want to stay on the progressive side, want certainly to please Democratic constituents. New York is a progressive state, but I think it's always been a challenge to get their agenda through and I don't think it will be made easier by a control of the Democrats of both branches of the legislature and the governorship.