The Republican candidates in New York’s competitive races differ from one another in tone, experience and the local issues that reflect their distinctive districts.
But all of those contests, party officials and strategists say, are shaped by the continued salience of public safety in the minds of voters, discussion of education matters like the gifted and talented program that Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to phase out, and intense feelings over vaccine mandates. Some Republicans even argue that the challenging national environment that Democrats appear to be facing may be evident in a handful of city races, too.
“This has a lot of likenesses to 2009, when Obama came in on hope and change and then fell flat,” said Nick Langworthy, the chairman of the New York Republican State Committee. “In 2009 we had great gains at the local level, and then had a cataclysm in 2010. Are we facing that, or is there going to be flatness all the way around?”
Whatever the turnout, Republicans are virtually certain to be shut out of citywide offices. Indeed, by nearly every metric, the Republican Party has been decimated in the nation’s largest city. They are vastly outnumbered in voter registration and have struggled to field credible candidates for major offices.
At the City Council level, Republican hopes boil down to a matter of margins.
The most optimistic Republican assessment, barring extraordinary developments, is that they could increase their presence to five from three on the 51-seat City Council, as they did in 2009. But even that would require a surprise outcome in a sleeper race — and it is possible they retain only one seat (setting aside the candidates who are running on multiple party lines).
Officials on both sides of the aisle believe a more realistic target for the Republicans is three or four seats, a number that could still affect the brewing City Council speaker’s race and may indicate pockets of discontent with the direction of the city.
The most high-profile of those contests is the last Republican-held seat in Queens.
Ms. Singh, a teacher who is endorsed by the left-wing Working Families Party, is running against Joann Ariola, the chairwoman of the Queens Republican Party. The race has stirred considerable interest from the left and the right and attracted spending from outside groups.
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