Reading the Tea Leaves — Will New York’s Senate Flip Blue for the Third Time in a Century?

Art Chang
7 min readOct 31, 2018

For full context, it may help to read my previous column in Gotham Gazette, published on October 18. With just days to go, your $20 still matters to several races.

Yes! I think nine are possible. I find it difficult to envision any scenario where the Dems don’t prevail. This post focuses only on a) 14 Dem opportunities to flip GOP-held seats and b) one GOP opportunity to flip a Dem-held seat.

There is virtually no polling at the state legislature level anywhere in the U.S. In New York, campaign watchers depend on campaign finance disclosures as tea leaves for how voters will choose on November 6. We now have data from the 11-day and the 32-day Pre-General election disclosures. When adding data about voter choices in preceding Presidential elections, voter registration data, and the hotly contested Dem primary in September, the tea leaves transform into some interesting stories.

As I previously wrote in the Gotham Gazette, Democrats need to flip one GOP-held seat to take control of New York’s Legislature to have a majority that will pass critical legislation long blocked by the GOP-controlled Senate. But no race appears to be a slam dunk and one Democratic incumbent faces a real fight.

Jim Gaughran, Jeremy Cooney and Andrew Gounardes gained enough momentum to rise into the “Most Likely to Flip” category. In the face of well-financed GOP opposition, Anna Kaplan and Karen Smythe dropped to “Highly Competitive.” Dems seem to have de-prioritized Monica Martinez’s candidacy, now a “Long-Shot.” I compiled the campaign finance data for you in this spreadsheet. Below my visualization for the late-October 2018 campaign finance disclosures, ranked from “Most Likely to Flip” to the longest-shot.

Visualization based on October 22, 2018 campaign finance disclosure deadline.

In elections, three weeks can make-or-break races. See below my visualization for the early October 2018 campaign finance disclosures, ranked from “Most Likely to Flip” to the longest-shot. Primaries are a double-edged sword: on the one hand potentially raising the profile of a race and a candidate but on the other depleting financial resources that could be used in the general election. Only two GOP candidates, Tom Basile and Annie Rabbitt, faced primaries as compared to six Dems, James…

Art Chang

Fighting for Equity. Board Chair of Founder of Allie. Former 2021 Candidate for NYC Mayor. NYC Votes, Casebook, Queens West