The megadonor who bankrolls the Manhattan Republican Party even recently considered switching parties to run in the 'Democratic city' — then quickly decided against it.
Senate Republicans excitedly shared a Fox News story on Thursday, arguing that New York City was becoming a GOP city. The reason for their optimism: President Joe Biden only won about 76% of the vote there in 2020.
"NYC sees some disillusioned Dems switch to Republican Party," Fox News claimed Wednesday, offering no data to indicate any trend of party switches beyond two anecdotes. The lone basis for the article was a comparison of the 2020 election results with the 2016 results in the city, which found that Biden didn't win by quite as much as Hillary Clinton four years before.
It made no mention of the fact that Clinton was a wildly popular New York senator for years and lives in nearby Chappaqua, which could certainly have given her a boost in her race — compared to Delaware's Biden.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee tweeted the story, bragging, "NYC Democrats are tired of liberal policies that do nothing to help working people in New York. Welcome to the Republican Party!"
But there is little evidence to back up this claim. Biden won 2,321,759 of the city's 3,047,263 total votes last November — 76.2%. Trump received just 691,682 — about 22.7% in the city where he lived for most of his life.
In the last U.S. Senate race in 2018, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand won about 82% of the city's votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is up for reelection next year, but New York Republicans have yet to even find a challenger.
"Voters have seen firsthand the disastrous impacts that radical left policies have had on their wallets, their safety, and their quality of life," Nick Langworthy, New York's GOP state chair, told Fox News. "Twenty years of Republican mayors took the city from being the murder capital of the world to the safest big city in America and a magnet for jobs and tourism. Republicans saved New York once and they will do it again."
But Fox News conceded that a January report by The City found that many unaffiliated and Republican voters are actually becoming Democrats this year, hoping to have a voice in the June Democratic mayoral primary — rather than the other way around.
Earlier this year, a Trump megadonor who had previously tried to run for mayor as a Republican, considered switching parties to run as a Democrat this year, deeming it a more viable path to victory.
"This is a Democratic city," John Catsimatidis, a fossil fuel investor, supermarket magnate, and talk radio host, told Politico in January, before ultimately opting not to run at all. Catsimatidis, whose daughter chairs the Manhattan Republican party, is the principal funder of that committee.
This is not the first time Republicans have suggested they could make a big New York comeback. In 2016 and again in 2020, Donald Trump made a big play to win his birth state.
"Just so you understand, we are going to play New York. You know, we're not just doing this for fun. We’re going to play New York," he vowed in September 2016 — two months before he lost the state by a 59% to 36.5% landslide. "I'm a real New Yorker, folks. I will say this, you will never get more of a New Yorker, if you want a president, than you’re getting with me."
Despite renouncing residency and moving to Florida in 2019, he again predicted victory in the state in 2020. He told the New York Post last August, "We're going to invest in there, we'll visit. I'm going to put it down as you know on the list." Biden beat him by a similar margin, 61% to 38%.
Despite their tweeting, Senate Republicans are unlikely to mount a serious challenge to Schumer, who enjoys a 56% statewide approval rating according to a late March Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking poll.
No Republican has won statewide in New York since Gov. George Pataki in 2002.
The last time a Republican won a U.S. Senate seat in the state was Al D'Amato in 1992.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.