Decision 2020: Andrew Garbarino vs. Jackie Gordon (NY-02)

Vanessa Igras ’24

New York’s Second Congressional District is undergoing massive change this election cycle; from demographic changes to the impending departure of longtime incumbent, Peter King (R), this toss-up district is now looking for a candidate with the insight and sound reasoning to represent a new generation of Long Islanders.

Jackie Gordon. Via Ballotpedia.

This district is found along the south shore of Long Island, New York. It includes Suffolk County and a small portion of Nassau County. The make-up of this district strongly contributes to the unpredictable nature of this race. According to the New York Times, there were 360,000 registered Republicans in Nassau County in 1996, which was around 100,000 more than the Democrats had at the time. By 2019, the number of registered Democrats had grown to more than 400,000, while the number of Republicans had decreased by more than 30,000. There was a similar trend in Suffolk County; Republican registered voters increased by 18,000 people, while Democrats witnessed a more sizable increase of 160,000 new registered voters.

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Decision 2020: Thom Tillis vs. Cal Cunningham (NC Senate)

Alex Shultz ’21

Not only will North Carolina play a significant role as a swing state in the presidential election, it will also determine what the next Senate will look like. With the Republicans holding a slight 53-47 majority, both the Republican and Democratic parties are closely watching the Senate race unfold in this swing state. The incumbent, Senator Thom Tillis, is finishing up his first term in office, having been elected in 2015. His challenger, Cal Cunningham, is considered a strong pick for Democrats to run in a Republican leaning state to cut into the Republican Senate majority (Slodysko, Robertson).

Cal Cunningham. Graysonbarnette, (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons.

Cal Cunningham was seen as one of the best candidates the Democratic Party put forward this election cycle, especially in a swing state like North Carolina. Cunningham was a born and raised North Carolinian and decided to join the U.S. Army Reserve after the September 11th attacks. Cunningham has served three tours overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star during his time. Furthermore, Cunningham is running on issues including reforming education, immigration, and the criminal justice system.

Senator Thom Tillis is running his first reelection campaign this year after winning his first senatorial race in 2014. Senator Tillis has been running his campaign on President Trump’s support and the Republican Party in North Carolina, as President Trump won the state by 3.6 points in the 2016 presidential election. Senator Tillis is also trying to use his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm the nomination of judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With a Supreme Court vacancy on the line in this election, Senator Tillis is hoping his role in that process will drum up support for himself in the election.

Thom Tillis. Jackson A. Lanier, (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons.

Although the race has been close without much change in the last few months, the stakes in October have only gotten higher for a race that nearly $100 million has been spent on television ads so far. (Duehren, Ngo). On October 2, Senator Tillis was diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending an event at the White House. It was assumed this would affect Tillis in the polls, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world. However, soon after Tillis’s diagnosis, it was revealed that Cunningham had an extramarital affair with a colleague of his campaign. With Cunningham running a campaign on values and wanting to bring honesty back to the senate, Tillis is using all the ammunition given to him from this scandal that Cunningham created himself. Although most voters in North Carolina have their minds made up and the race is in a deadlock, the ramifications of the events that took place for Tillis and Cunningham could not come at a more crucial time. With just over three weeks until election day, it looks as if Tillis and Cunningham are going to be in one of the uglier political fights of this election cycle. When all is said and done, the race for the senate seat will most likely follow in the presidential race path, leaving both candidates hoping for a large turnout from their respective parties.

Sources:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/08/north-carolina-senate-cal-cunningham-scandal-shapes-race-with-thom-tillis.html

https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-virus-outbreak-senate-elections-north-carolina-thom-tillis-de011b865bb05df79a4d15a995ffe843

https://www.wsj.com/articles/scandal-upends-final-weeks-of-pivotal-north-carolina-senate-race-11602258252

Decision 2020: Susan Collins vs. Sara Gideon (ME Senate)

Sarah MacDonald ’24

Susan Collins. Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

In Maine, Republican incumbent Senator Susan Collins’ bid for reelection is being challenged by Democrat Sara Gideon. Polls show a close race between Collins, who’s seeking her fifth term, and state House Speaker Gideon. This is one of the closest and highest-profile Senate races of 2020 and is part of a much wider national picture.

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Decision 2020: Martha McSally vs. Mark Kelly (AZ Senate)

John Reynolds ’24

In Arizona, the race for a seat in the U.S. Senate comes at a significant time. President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, which would most likely swing the court to the right. This could, in return, revoke Roe vs. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats believe they have one trick up their sleeve with a special election in Arizona, between the incumbent Martha McSally and Mark Kelly. If Kelly wins and takes office before the vote on Amy Barrett, he could cast a decisive vote at Amy Barrett’s confirmation hearing if three Republicans defect.

Martha McSally. Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Martha McSally was sworn into the U.S. Senate in January of 2019 and previously represented Arizona’s Second Congressional District for four years in the House of Representatives. McSally was a fighter pilot in the Air Force for 26 years before entering politics and retiring as a full colonel.

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Decision 2020: Max Rose vs. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11)

Jessica Alicea ’22

Max Rose is a Democrat and a member of the U.S. House, representing New York’s 11th Congressional District. The 11th District includes all of Staten Island and some parts of southern Brooklyn. Rose defeated his incumbent Republican Dan Donovan in 2018 and is now running against Republican Nicole Malliotakis. He was only the second Democrat to win the seat in 30 years. Before being elected to office, Rose served in the U.S. Army from 2010 until 2014. He has repeatedly explained that his legislative priorities when he wins the seat again include passing legislation to decrease corruption and to improve infrastructure and commuting in Staten Island. Nicole Malliotakis became a known figure in New York City when she ran against incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio as a Republican nominee for Mayor in 2017. In January, Malliotakis was sworn in to her 5th term as a Member of the State Assembly. Throughout her terms she has fought to drain the swamp in Albany, sued the Port Authority to expose records that should be public, spoke out on former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s corrupt ways, and has reined in the high taxes she believes are destroying the city and state of New York.

NY-11. Department of the Interior/7partparadigm via Wikimedia Commons.

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Decision 2020: Xochitl Torres-Small vs. Yvette Herrell (NM-02)

Lauren Chu ’23

Xochitl Torres-Small is a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and represents New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. The district serves the southern half of New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Roswell, and a southern portion of Albuquerque. It is also the fifth largest district in the U.S.

NM-02 in Blue. Department of the Interior via Wikimedia Commons.

Running against incumbent Torres-Small in the district’s upcoming general election is Yvette Herrell (R) . Steve Jones (I) will also be running in the race as a third-party candidate. Between Torres-Small and Herrell, this will be the second general election. Back in 2018, Torres-Small won the election by a slim margin of 51% against Herrell’s 49%. Prior to Torres-Small’s 2018 victory, the last Democratic representative of the Second Congressional District was Harry Teague in 2011.

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Decision 2020: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell vs. Carlos Giménez (FL-26)

Ryan Cialone ’23

The race in Florida’s 26th congressional district is shaping up to be an interesting one indeed. The two contenders are the incumbent Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, elected in 2018, and the challenging Republican and Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Giménez. In regard to the race at hand, the incumbent Mucarsel-Powell is expected to retain her seat only slightly with the website 270 to Win predicting she is estimated to pull ahead at about 1.7%. This is to be expected as according to Ballotpedia Mucarsel-Powell only pulled ahead in 2018 unseating the Republican incumbent, Carlos Curbelo, by 1.8% of the vote. The race itself is not a “gimmie” as it were for Mucarsel-Powell as even for an incumbent those are very slim margins to win by.  Carlos Gimenez is as stated the Mayor of Miami-Dade County and was able to get elected twice so his supporter base is nothing to disregard especially due to past Republicans holding Mucaresl-Powell’s seat, showing that conservatives have support in the area.

FL-26. Starrfruit via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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Decision 2020: Andy Kim vs. David Richter (NJ-03)

Flavia Scotto ’22

NY-03. Mr. Matté via Wikimedia Commons.

On November 3, New Jersey will elect twelve U.S. Representatives, one for each congressional district. Of particular interest is District 3, which includes parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties. Andy Kim, a Democrat, is the incumbent who faces re-election against David Richter, an engineer, lawyer, and former CEO of Hill International.

The district is one of particular focus for both parties. It went blue for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 before opting for Donald Trump in 2016. Interestingly enough, it was one of thirty congressional districts who did so, yet it is currently represented by a Democrat. It is also important to note that Kim only narrowly won in 2018 with 50% percent of the vote as compared to his opposition’s 49% percent. These factors may explain why there does not yet seem to be a clear indication of who will win, despite the election being less than a month away. Presently, many websites suggest that the majority of New Jerseyans will vote for Kim, while many more polls predict it to be a toss-up.

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Decision 2020: Anthony Brindisi vs. Claudia Tenny (NY-22)

Lily Sellers ’22

In New York’s 22nd congressional district, incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) is running against former congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R). During the last election in 2018, Tenney was holding the house seat and lost by a margin of less than 4,500 to Brindisi. In fact, Tenney did not concede until 25 days after the election.

NY-22. United States Department of the Interior/ 7partparadigm via Wikimedia Commons.

The main local issue for this election is how to combat the monopoly that local internet provider, Spectrum, has created. In 2016, when Time Warner Cable merged with Charter Communications, the lack of competition and price increases began. In the 4 years since, Spectrum has increased prices by almost 6 times and, in turn, has not reached any of the intended benchmarks put in place prior to the merger. Tenney believes that this is a state-level issue and that the company needs to be broken up in order to allow for natural competition and price decreases. However, Brindisi believes that from a federal level, accountability and transparency should force Spectrum to ensure trust and decrease prices on their own.

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Decision 2020: Scott Perry vs. Eugene DePasquale (PA-10)

Nick Silvis ’23

Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district, which encompasses all of Dauphin County as well as parts of Cumberland County and York County, is one of the most competitive congressional elections in the country.

The race pits Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania’s current Auditor General, against incumbent Republican Representative Scott Perry. DePasquale, as the current fiscal watchdog and former state representative, hopes that his experience investigating governmental agencies and eliminating fraud and abuse from Harrisburg will win over moderate Republicans and Independents. Perry, who has represented the district since 2013, has largely endorsed President Trump’s platform and is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (Hullinger).

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