Previewing New York's House Primaries
New York's marquee House primary Tuesday is Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel's tense fight for renomination in the 13th Congressional District, previewed here. In brief, the district's demographic change further opens the opportunity Rangel's challengers have based on his age and ethics problems, but the election will come down to turnout, and Rangel's veteran campaign might have a key edge there.
New York is host to a slew of other important House primaries too, including a pair of open seat contests in heavily Democratic New York City districts. Here's what to watch for in New York this primary night:
6th District: The race for the Democratic nomination in the district comes down to a turnout war pitting the district's sizeable Asian-American population and the Queens Democratic Party against organized labor and the district's Jewish community.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng has the endorsement of Rep. Joe Crowley and the Queens Democrats. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Meng would become the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York. Her main competition for the Democratic nod is fellow Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who had originally planned to challenge Rep. Bob Turner before his seat was carved up in redistricting. Lancman has won the backing of several of New York City's major labor unions, and his pro-Israel rhetoric has won him praise in the district's Jewish community, which traditionally turns out at a higher rate than other groups. The district has more Asian residents than any seat west of the Rockies, though, and county party organizations still count for something in New York City. A win for Meng could provide a boost to the Queens Democrats, which had a tough 2011 after the disappointing loss in the special election to replace resigned Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Few policy differences have arisen during the campaign, and the unusual June primary date has analysts projecting a very low turnout, meaning the stronger get-out-the-vote operation could make the difference in a close race. The third relevant Democratic candidate, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (Joe Crowley's cousin), has the backing of police and firefighters unions but could have a hard time keeping pace with the two state legislators.
8th District: New York City Councilman Charles Barron has generated a lot of headlines in the national media in the weeks leading up to the primary, but there is little evidence to suggest that all the attention translates to any real momentum in the primary. After unexpectedly scoring the endorsement of retiring Rep. Ed Towns, Barron's history of controversial statements and support for African dictators ignited a firestorm of anger, especially from pro-Israel groups.