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Suspense In New York Elections Lies In Down-Ballot Races

New York is poised to elect Hillary Clinton for president and give Chuck Schumer a fourth term as U.S. Senator, but down ballot races for Congress and state Senate are less certain.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump by double digits in New York, but the race has tightened in the final days, with Clinton still ahead by 17 points but the two now even among independent voters, according to a poll by  Siena College issued November 6.

Clinton backers have not slacked off with get out the vote efforts, despite her lead. Governor Andrew Cuomo is featured in a robocall to voters in the New York City suburbs and some upstate cities. Cuomo held rallies in Westchester, Long Island and Buffalo over the weekend, saying a lot is at stake .

“New York has got to be loud and proud this election day,” Cuomo said. “Because in truth, Trump is un- New York.”

Cuomo assailed Trump’s positions on immigration, women and what he calls trickle down tax cuts for the rich.  

Cuomo is also campaigning for select down-ballot Democrats running for the state Senate. He’s made the strongest effort yet to campaign for Democrats in the legislature’s upper chamber since he’s been governor, and he urged supporters to make sure voters come out and vote Democratic.

“We’re going to knock for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, and that whole ballot from the top to the bottom,” Cuomo said.

Republicans currently are one seat short of holding the majority, and they are not favored to gain the seats needed to hold a comfortable numerical margin in the Senate. The future of the Senate is most dependent, though, on a group of breakaway Democrats. They have in the past formed a ruling coalition with the GOP, but this year, if Democrats win more seats, they may be pressured by Cuomo and other Democrats to join with the regular Democrats in the Senate.

The state has several close congressional races, but one contest that is not likely to be a surprise is the campaign for Senate, where incumbent Democrat  Chuck Schumer is 40 points ahead of his opponent Republican Wendy Long.

Schumer, while saying he’s  not taking anything for granted, has not run a traditional campaign, preferring instead to continue relentlessly traveling the state, making numerous public appearances, as he’s always done.

“The best way to get reelected is to just do your job,” Schumer said. “I’m not overtly campaigning."

Long, a conservative New York City attorney , has only a fraction of the money that Schumer has in his campaign fund, but has made a number of appearances, including at a rally of women for Trump in mid October. She says she knows the odds are against her.

“But it’s a road that’s well worth traveling,” Long said on October 12. “Because I believe our country’s at stake.”

The bigger uncertainty in the Senate contest is whether Schumer will be the Majority or Minority leader, depending on whether Democrats or Republicans win much closer races for Senate in other states. 

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