The DCCC had high hopes for this race in 2014, though the party’s top recruits bowed out, reluctant to take on Grimm, even after his 20-count felony indictment. The party eventually backed Domenic Recchia, who struggled as a candidate and lost badly.
Democratic recruiting efforts are likely to be a little easier in an open-seat special election, and former Rep. Michael McMahon (D), who held the seat between Fossella and Grimm, has said publicly that he’s “definitely taking a look” at the race.
Meanwhile, up in the Hudson Valley, Republican Chris Gibson is expected to immediately announce his retirement.
The Republican, who was re-elected to a third term in November, will open a competitive seat in 2016 with his departure following this Congress. President Barack Obama carried the district with 52 percent, making it a must-win for House Democrats if they want to put a dent in the GOP’s historic majority this cycle.
Last year, Gibson annihilated venture capitalist Sean Eldridge, the Democratic nominee with deep pockets, by nearly 30 points.
Initially, Democrats were optimistic about defeating Gibson in the lush and rolling Hudson Valley-based district north of New York City. But Eldridge’s candidacy quickly flamed out, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee never reserved airtime in the 19th District to support his campaign.
Without Gibson on the ticket, Democrats will target the district as a pick-up opportunity.
And yes, Sean Eldridge ran arguably the worst House campaign for the Dems in 2014 in what was a miserable year for them anyhow. He made no effort to hide the fact he was buying the seat as a techbro trophy, and managed to piss off everyone in the district doing it. The good news is the Dems can basically run anyone and they'd do better than Eldridge.
But that leaves two open seats that the Dems pretty much have to win back in order to try to make any attempt at shifting the House.