Democrats will win New York special election, CNN projects, temporarily narrowing House GOP’s slim majority


New York State Senator Tim Kennedy speaks at a church service in Buffalo on May 19, 2022.


Democratic state Sen. Tim Kennedy will win the special election for New York’s 26th Congressional District, according to a CNN projection, further narrowing Republican fortunes — at least in the short term. Mostly paper thin In the American house.

Kennedy will succeed fellow Democrat Brian Higgins in the Buffalo-based district after his victory on Tuesday over Republican candidate Gary Dixon, West Seneca Township supervisor. After Kennedy is sworn in on Capitol Hill, the GOP majority in the House of Representatives will shrink to just 217-213, meaning House Speaker Mike Johnson will only be able to hold on to one Republican in the party-line vote.

However, three special elections over the next two months for open Republican seats — including a race to succeed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California — would help expand the GOP’s advantage in the chamber.

Higgins has represented the Buffalo area in the House since 2005, winning a tenth term in 2022. He resigned in February To head the local performing arts center. He cited frustration with the ongoing unrest and obstruction in the chamber when he announced his departure from Congress.

“Congress is not the institution I went to 19 years ago. It’s a very different place today,” Higgins said last fall. “We’re spending more time doing less. The American people are not being served.”

Kennedy, who has represented the district in the state Senate for more than a decade, will serve the remainder of Higgins’ term. He will also run in the June primary for a full two-year term that begins in January.

the New York congress map It has undergone an often messy redistricting process, spanning nearly two years and multiple court and legislative battles. But the 26th District is expected to remain Democratic-friendly – Joe Biden He would hold it 25 points under the new lines that will be used in November.

Total advertising spending on the race ended up being about $1 million, almost all of it coming from the Kennedy campaign. His sites have touted his efforts to help working families, support abortion rights and his work to pass “stronger gun laws” in the state Senate after a white supremacist killed 10 people in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May 2022.

Kennedy’s victory was the second straight special election win for Democrats in New York after that Tom Suozzi won the race To succeed the expelled Republican representative. George Santos In the more competitive midstate region earlier this year. Once Kennedy is sworn in, the state’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives will consist of 16 Democrats and 10 Republicans.

CNN’s Ethan Cohen, David Wright and Renee Rigdon contributed to this report.

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