Who will win in the New York 27th District Special Election?
On June 23, 2020, voters in this western New York seat will pick a new member of the US House of Representatives. It would have been a few months earlier, but for a global health crisis.
If you want to know where this race stands and a little bit about the 27th District, this is the place to be. You can also track our updated predictions for the November 2020 general election, in which the seat’s June winner will have to defend their gain.
Election Results: New York 27th District Special Election
Editor’s Note, July 14: As of today, absentee results continue to be counted for the 27th District race. While we stand by the call of Jacobs winning the election, please note that the as-yet unreported final results may look vastly different from what is below. The Fast Analysis is based off of the official results on the NYS Board of Elections website as of July 14.
As expected, the GOP retained this Western New York seat. The margin is not a big surprise, either. Chris Collins struggled to hold the seat in 2018 under a cloud of criminal investigation, but with him gone, the seat reverted back to where it “should” be. Collins pulled down similar margins in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Background of the New York 27th District Special Election
The 27th was held previously by Chris Collins, a Republican who was first elected in 2012. He was elected four times, with his last victory coming in 2018. Before Congress, Collins served as Erie County Executive, the county which includes Buffalo.
During that 2018 campaign, Collins was under investigation for insider trading. In spite of that, he defeated his Democratic challenger, Nate McMurray, by just over 1,000 votes. He had gotten 67 percent of the vote in 2016 in the 27th District, a rather red area for New York. Collins flip-flopped on dropping out of the race during the 2018 campaign but ultimately got back in and won that narrow victory.
He resigned in October 2019, throwing the seat open. In January 2020, Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison as a result of his insider trading guilty plea.1
You may remember that most of this area was represented by Chris Lee, a two-term congressman who resigned in 2011 after getting caught sending racy pictures on Craigslist.
Map of New York’s 27th District
The 27th contains a sizable chunk of western New York, touching the shores of both Lakes Ontario and Erie but dancing around Buffalo. It dodges the densely populated areas of Buffalo and Rochester but includes towns such as Orchard Park, Lockport, Geneseo, and Honeoye Falls.
New York 27th District Special Election Candidates
|Chris Jacobs (R)|
|Nate McMurray (D)|
|Duane Whitmer (Lbt)|
|Mike Gamms (Grn)|
New York 27th District Special Election Prediction, June 3
Special Election Analysis, June 3
The Republican vote is going to bounce back in NY-27. That Chris Collins got re-elected in this district in 2018, much like how Duncan Hunter won his California district, despite the cloud of investigation tells you how red it is.
Can we promise Chris Jacobs, a state senator, will win by a lot? No, as it’s a special election, and like we pointed out in Wisconsin-07, sometimes the final numbers are weird. Sometimes there are swings that are a little bigger than expected on these low turnouts. However, also like WI-07, there is no reason to believe the GOP will fork this seat over, either.
This part of WNY likes electing guys named Chris to Congress. Keeping them there without resignation has been another issue, but Chris Jacobs seems well-positioned to hold the seat in a red area.
1: Caroline Kelly and Sheena Jones, “Former Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, sentenced to 26 months in prison in insider trading case,” CNN, January 18, 2020, CNN.com Link)