by Craig Dimitri

U.S. Rep. John Sweeney (R) appeared to have as safe a seat as any Northeast Republican could have in the 21st century.  In 2004, he was re-elected with 66% of the vote; in 2002, he did even better, winning 73% of the vote.  George W. Bush won his district over John F. Kerry, 54%-46%.  So what could go wrong?

Everything.  It now appears certain – incredibly - that Democrats will knock off the four-term incumbent, in the Capitol Region’s sprawling 20th District.  Ten New York counties currently comprise the district which has elected John Sweeney four times.  But they now indicate that they want a Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, a former Clinton appointee in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gillibrand is now well ahead in this contest, according to the most recent independent poll, MajorityWatch.  The poll was conducted from Oct. 24-26, among 1,040 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.03%.  Gillibrand has a healthy 53%-42% lead, in a district that self-identifies as 42% Republican, 32% independent, and 27% Democrat.

The outcome seems clear, particularly in light of the fact that the numbers have moved only slightly in Sweeney’s favor, since MajorityWatch’s previous poll, on October 15-16.  With a similar sample and margin of error, Gillibrand led 54%-41% in that poll.

Sweeney official campaign site –

Gillibrand official campaign site –

MajorityWatch poll –

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at 

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