Why McHugh’s District Is an Opportunity, and Possibly a Headache, for the Democrats

An open seat upstate is an opportunity for Democrats, but it could also be a real headache.

On the surface, John McHugh’s decision to abandon his 23rd District House seat to serve as Barack Obama’s Army secretary offers Democrats a promising opportunity to push the state’s Republican congressional one step closer to extinction. Less than three years ago, nine of New York’s 29 districts were represented by Republicans. That number was reduced to six by the 2006 elections, and then to three after last November’s vote—where it remains, thanks to Democrat Scott Murphy’s surprising success at retaining Kirsten Gillibrand’s 20th District seat earlier this year. Now, with McHugh’s exit, Democrats can pare the G.O.P. ranks to two.

Why McHugh’s District Is an Opportunity, and Possibly a Headache, for the Democrats