Editor’s Note: This post was written by Patrick Grein, Ashley Letteri and Alec Wapshare.
The race for New York’s 19th Congressional District is a competitive one with each candidate having unique advantages. However, the victory should go to Republican John Faso over Democrat Zephyr Teachout by a 52-48 margin.Current Representative Chris Gibson (NY-R) is retiring after the end of this election cycle, so the open seat eliminates the incumbency advantage and makes the race difficult to call. Neither contender has a considerable advantage in terms of money, voter history, demographics of the district, national forces, or policy preferences of the district. The demographics of the district support both candidates, however, Faso has a slight edge. First off, the district is significantly rural compared to the other districts in New York and the lack of urban areas hinder Teachout’s chances. The district is also 89% white, 7.3% Hispanic, and 4.4% black. Of course, this doesn’t mean Faso will receive 89% of the vote, but the shortage of minorities puts a burden on Teachout. However, she does gain back an advantage with the high unemployment rate in the district. The rate is 6.1% higher than the national average and some constituents may be growing tired of the current Republican staff in office and Teachout may be a satisfactory option. However, Faso will take the 52-48 margin because of past voter history in the district. The counties that make up the district voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012, however, they voted in Gibson every election since 2010. Because Representative Gibson has endorsed Faso, who is personally very close to the district, he should come out on top in this close race. The endorsement is something the voters will really look at because they trust Rep. Gibson and if he trusts Faso, then the district will also trust Faso.
There are many more negative ads on television against Teachout as well. One advertisement has her speaking to the public as being for the Iran nuclear deal with the narrator saying how that could devastate our country if passed. Another advertisement depicts her as being a hypocrite saying she wants to increase taxes to fund social programs, while she herself has not paid taxes. Another television advertisement simply says she is bad for Congress because she is a Democrat and her liberal ideology is all talk and no action similar to other unsuccessful politicians. There is so far only one negative advertisement against John Faso on television. Just by the numbers, people are more likely to see ads against Teachout, which could lead them to vote for Faso.
Both candidates have shown a very strong campaign. How voters will decide is all up to district, campaign and national factors. These national factors are the presidential race, the support from national figures, and the role of party committees, PACs, and super PACs. The presidential race has impacted both congressional candidates based on their support for their party’s respective presidential candidate. Issues with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have negatively affected both Faso’s and Teachout’s campaign, especially Faso because he has flipped flopped on his support of Trump. This can have a major impact on his campaign. The next national factor is support from national figures, which has had a tremendous impact on both candidates’ campaigns. Faso has received 60 endorsements from various organizations and people, most notably Gibson who is the current congressional leader of the 19th District. This has helped Faso’s campaign because people tend to vote for candidates that have more name recognition, so receiving endorsements from the current congressional leader of the district you are running in will likely impact your campaign positively. On the other hand, Teachout has received some key endorsements, but Faso has secured more.The last national factor covered is the roles of party committees, PACs and super PACs. They contribute to campaign finances; the more money a candidate has, the more resources he/she will have available, which can lead to their election. Faso has more support from committees, and has received more funding than Teachout. This can help Faso secure the 19th District.
This is the best opportunity for constituents of upstate New York to have their voices heard. Their vote won’t be diluted, like in the presidential election, because of the City and we believe the district will end up asking for Faso.