Members of Congress from New York, on both sides of the aisle, are focusing in on how their parties can win seats in November's midterm elections. The economy and women are two factors that could push each party towards victory.
Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) both agree; to win in the general election, Republicans need to focus on the strong economy. Reed said Republicans should celebrate the low unemployment rate, which is at historic levels for the black and Hispanic populations and promote passing tax cuts.
“This is what we promised," Reed said. "We promised a growing economy. When people have a growing economy available to them that means more opportunity to them and their families and better lives overall. That is the critical mission we are on and we’ll put our record up against anyone who wants to challenge that.”
Katko said he will run on what he has been able to accomplish in a Democratic heavy district.
"I do it because I'm bipartisan," Katko said. "I'm head of the moderate wing of the Republican Party, the Tuesday Group, that's 50 individuals a part of that."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Democrats need to focus on jobs and the middle class.
“Show people what we’re for," Schumer said. "For instance, infrastructure, which would create jobs lots of jobs we need in central New York, such as health care, getting the costs down, and making health care available. One of our platforms is every rural home should have broadband. A third of our homes in upstate New York don’t have it."
Grant Reeher, a political science professor and director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University said setting aside national trends, how the economy is doing in central New York is more complicated. The unemployment rate in the Syracuse metropolitan area has been falling since the start of the year, but it was still a percentage point higher than the national rate was in April.
“It’s harder to make the case the economy is doing really well if people in upstate New York are still struggling, and they are,” Reeher said.
Another factor that could tip the scales in November is the amount of women running for office, more than 400 in the House and Senate, especially among Democrats. That is something Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said she is excited about.
“Record numbers for all offices local, state and federal level," Gillibrand said. "I’m excited for the boldness and the bravery for a lot of first time candidates out there who really want to serve.”
Reeher said that enthusiasm, during a midterm election, where turnout is usually lower than a presidential year, has the potential to push a candidate over the top.