Campaign 2010

Nov 05, 2008

AP - NY Democrats nab three House seats from GOP

New York Democrats wrested three House seats away from Republicans, scoring victories from Staten Island to Syracuse in an election that leaves just three GOP lawmakers scattered at distant corners of the state.

In an echo of the 2006 election, New York voters again handed once-safe GOP districts to Democrats.

"It's obviously another difficult year for Republicans. Our party was fired in '06 and I think it's going to take a while for us to get rehired," said Sandy Treadwell, who spent millions of dollars on an unsuccessful challenge to first-term Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand in the upper Hudson River Valley.

The results enlarged Democrats' near-total dominance of the state's congressional delegation to a degree not seen since 1851. In the next Congress, New York's Democrats will likely outnumber Republicans 26-3.

Democrats won GOP seats in New York City, Syracuse and in a sprawling district that runs along the border with Pennsylvania and reaches up toward Rochester. Republicans held on to one historically GOP district in western New York, and one Democratic incumbent clung to a razor-thin lead in race that was too close to call.

In Syracuse, Democrat Dan Maffei defeated Republican Dale Sweetland in a contest that favored Maffei from the beginning. The seat was primed for Maffei once veteran Republican lawmaker James Walsh decided not to seek re-election.

In New York City, Democrat Michael McMahon defeated Republican Bob Straniere for the Staten Island seat being vacated by disgraced Rep. Vito Fossella, meaning the city's congressional delegation will be made entirely of Democrats for the first time in 35 years.

"The fact that now New York City is all Democratic is a historical fact," McMahon said. "We'll see what that means, but as part of the majority, I'll be able to deliver for the district and get things done." Fossella decided to retire after a drunken-driving arrest led to revelations he had fathered a child from an extramarital affair.