Why They Won: Democratic Consultant Bruce Gyroy on the Recent Cogressional Primaries

Written by City & State on . Posted in Politics.


Bruce Gyory

Top Democratic consultant Bruce Gyory weighs in on the recent congressional primaries in our print issue out today:

Pundits do a good job of assessing winners and losers after electoral events like the recent congressional primaries. Few are better, for example, than City & State’s First Read on Fridays.

Yet while this last primary’s victors have already been determined, I would like to parse the significant factors underlying who won, who lost and why.

First, let’s look at the GOP Senate race. In statewide primaries generally the most potent combination a candidate can achieve is being dubbed the most conservative in the field and winning the designation of upstate’s horse. That is what Wendy Long rode to victory.

The GOP registration breakdown is 53 percent from upstate, 30 percent from the suburbs (Long Island, Westchester and Rockland) and 17 percent from New York City. But in terms of who actually votes in GOP primaries, upstate is in the driver’s seat. In the 2010 gubernatorial primary, the regional split in the vote among Republicans was 66 percent upstate, 25 percent in the suburbs and 9 percent in New York City.

The preliminary returns in this year’s Senate primary show upstate voters casting 60 percent of the GOP vote, the suburbs accounting for 27 percent and the five boroughs making up the remaining 13 percent. Long carried upstate by a wide margin, enabling her to win a majority in a three-way race. Long first demonstrated her strength upstate at the GOP convention. In a Republican primary, Turner’s base in New York City and Maragos’ in Nassau simply were too slender to carry a statewide primary.

Regionalism was also bolstered by ideology. Long was perceived to be the most conservative candidate in the race (e.g., carrying Suffolk County). Her endorsement by the Conservative Party became the seal of approval for right-wing Republicans.

To read the full article at City & State click here.

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