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The balance of power in the House of Representatives could depend on New York’s swing districts

Vaseline 2 months ago

Congressman Mike Lawler, Rockland’s sole representative in the House of Representatives, is up for re-election this fall. (File photo)

It took more than a week for Republican Mike Lawler to admit he voted for his party’s presumptive presidential nominee during the recent New York primary.

Lawler, Rockland’s lone representative in Congress, is trying to thread a difficult (bi)partisan needle in a tight reelection bid that pits him against former Rockland Rep. Mondaire Jones, who was pushed out in 2022 because Democratic big dog Sean Patrick Maloney changed position. districts, ultimately yielding Lawler’s narrow victory (0.6 percent; about 1,800 votes out of about 285,000).

Lawler’s remarkable delay in conceding what seemed inevitable is regularly seen on cable TV news programs and is a reminder of how problematic the former president has become in the election, even for some of his closest allies.

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Lawler was a delegate for Trump in 2016 and worked on his 2020 re-election bid — though Biden once said, “Mike is the kind of guy that, when I was in Congress, the kind of Republican I was used to dealing with to go. ”

But Lawler’s reluctance also illustrates a lesser-known, if related, phenomenon: New Yorkers could decide the balance of power in the U.S. House in November, and Republican incumbents are gambling with a wild card.

There are five Republican-held seats up for grabs in New York – enough to usurp those seats four-The Republican Party enjoys a seat majority in the House of Representatives, after losing one seat in New York in February.

Lawler’s belated and reluctant admission that he had, in fact, voted for the former president set off a barrage of headlines about exactly how MAGA Lawler has been.

A letter in The Examiner News asks, “Who is the real Mike Lawler?”

“Is he the party moderate he claims to be, or is he a struggling member of the Republican majority, the least productive Congress since the Great Depression?”

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The letter, which focuses on Lawler’s support for the impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden, answers its own question.

“Mike Lawler has been a lifelong political operative and lobbyist, not the dedicated public servant he portrays himself to be,” it reads.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a press release in March claiming that “Lawler and Molinaro, as Republican Party loyalists, support Trump’s dangerous, extreme record….”

In a neighborhood close to Lawler’s, Democrat Tom Suozzi won back his flipped seat in the House of Representatives in February after lawmakers embarrassingly expelled serial fabulist George Santos from the House.

The district supported Biden in 2020 before electing Republican candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.

That kind of flexibility could be a problem for Lawler and other New York Republicans in November.

Lawler’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Although City & State considers Lawler’s district “one of the most competitive” districts in the country, it was made safer after redistricting.

And yet Lawler literally gets his money’s worth from a progressive Democrat.

Mondaire Jones, a progressive Democrat, raised more than $1.75 million in the first quarter of the year. (On the other hand, Lawler has yet to release his fundraising numbers).

“While Mike Lawler was caught cutting law enforcement funding and blocking a bipartisan border security bill, our grassroots campaign has raised nearly $4 million so far this cycle because of the incredible support of everyday people in the Lower Hudson Valley,” said Jones in a statement. .

Biden is beating Trump by about 10 points in New York state, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of the latest Siena College poll from February, and Democrats are seizing on that negative association in local elections.

According to NY1, the Democratic-leaning House Majority PAC has budgeted approximately $21 million for TV ads in New York State ahead of Election Day.