Mid-Atlantic: Party Strongholds Return to Status Quo

Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:12pm

The Mid-Atlantic states of New York and Pennsylvania were a firewall for House Republicans on Tuesday, staving off a net pickup of seats for House Democrats, who saw large gains in states such as Illinois and California.

Although Democrats picked up three seats in the region by ousting Republican Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), they lost two seats with the defeats of Democratic Reps. Mark Critz (Pa.) and Kathy Hochul (N.Y.).

The tossup race in New York’s 19th district was the final Republican victory that ensured Democrats would not net any additional seats in the region.

The seats that flipped party control were in essence a return to normalcy, after the GOP wave in the 2010 midterms and closely contested 2010 and 2011 special elections, when Republicans Hayworth and Buerkle won Democratic-leaning districts and Democrats Hochul and Critz won in Republican-leaning ones.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans made every effort to pick up Critz’s 12th district seat. The GOP rallied around its nominee, attorney Keith Rothfus, after they largely overlooked him when he was the nominee in the 2010 cycle. The district was also redrawn to be friendlier toward Republicans, and the National Republican Congressional Committee and other Republican interest groups poured ad money into the district.

The challenges proved to be too much for Critz, who had already endured a bevy of tough races, including a special election in 2010 to replace the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha.

In New York’s 27th district, Republican businessman Chris Collins ousted Hochul. The Democrat had won the seat in an upset victory in a 2011 special election. Since that victory, the district was redrawn to be the most Republican in the Empire State, and the wave of discontent over Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget that she had ridden to victory had dissipated, which ultimately led to her loss on Tuesday.

In New York’s 19th district, money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was not enough to propel the Democrats’ weak candidate, federal prosecutor Julian Schreibman, to victory over freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R).

Although Democrats did not net any additional seats in the region toward a majority, they did win a few tossup races and oust Bartlett, a 10-term Member who fell victim to a Democratic-led redistricting.

Bartlett lost to Democratic businessman John Delaney, who easily cruised to victory in the heavily redrawn district.

In New York’s 18th district, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney picked off Hayworth, a first-term Member who rode the tea party wave into office in 2010.

Buerkle was dealt a loss by Democrat Dan Maffei, the same Member she ousted in 2010. Not only was Buerkle’s 2010 upset win part of the tea party wave that brought a host of new Republicans into Congress, but her district was redrawn to be more Democratic, making her path to victory this time around a long shot. Her defeat Tuesday night was predicted early in the race.

None of the five Democratic Senators up for re-election in the region — which includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and West Virginia — lost, helping Democrats keep the majority in the Senate.

In New Jersey, certain polling sites were moved and voting rules changed to ensure those still recovering from the damage of Hurricane Sandy were able to vote. In the only relatively close House race in the state, Republican Rep. Jon Runyan easily defeated Democrat Shelley Adler, the widow of the Democrat he unseated in 2010 in central Jersey’s 3rd district.