Hochul Fends off Challenge, Schumer Maintains Senate Control & Republicans Pick Up NY House Seats

New York was front and center in the National Political Debate last week. The following is a brief summary of the results, with an analysis of its impact on broadcasters.

Incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul fended off a tough challenge from former NY Congressman Lee Zeldin. Gov. Hochul won by a margin of 52.9% to 47.1%. We expect Governor Hochul to continue her campaign for pro-choice policies, greater gun control, and expansion of brick-and-mortar casinos around New York City. A key issue for broadcasters is Governor Hochul’s position on imposing some form of digital advertising tax. For the past several years, the New York Senate has considered proposals seeking to impose a digital ad tax. Last year, Governor Hochul refused to include the proposals in her budget. We shall see whether she refrains from pushing these taxes in the next session.

In two other important statewide races, democratic Attorney General Letitia James defeated challenger Michael Henry 54.3% to 45.7%. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli enjoyed a double-digit victory.

In the NYS legislature, the anticipated “red wave” in the Senate seems to have been fended off. However, a sufficient number of new Republican Senators, especially on Long Island, place the Democrat’s Super majority in jeopardy. Before the election, Democrats in the New York State Senate had a veto-proof majority of 42 to 20. Democrat’s Super majority in the New York Senate will come down to one race that is still being counted. If it dips to 41, the Senate Democrats will no longer have a veto-proof majority. This means that Governor Hochul may have the ability to sustain a veto on some legislative proposals that move through the Senate. The Assembly will remain under Democratic control but has also seen a decline in the number of Democratic Assembly members.

We will be facing a number of key issues in New York this Legislative Session. A top issue will be the imposition of a digital sales or revenue tax. We obviously oppose this. In addition, we expect Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris to reintroduce his antitrust legislation. This bill could have a significant and negative impact on local stations throughout New York. We strongly oppose both bills.

U.S. Senate

With Democrats winning the Senate races in Arizona (Mark Kelly D) and Nevada (Catherine Cortez Masto D), the Democrats will remain in control of the Senate. This means that New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) will remain as Majority Leader in the Senate. Leader Schumer easily defeated his opponent Republican Joe Pinion by a margin of 56.4% to 43.2%.

Leader Schumer has been very supportive of local broadcasting. He is especially concerned about keeping local journalism viable in today’s economy. He championed the PPP program which helped small businesses and local broadcasting. He has supported the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act and the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. He has also been supportive of efforts to provide equal treatment for local stations with respect to accepting cannabis advertising. Even though NY has authorized the adult use of cannabis, and other media may accept advertising from these legal entities, broadcasters cannot accept these advertisements without risking their FCC license. Senator Schumer has expressed a willingness to help correct this inequity.

U.S. House of Representatives

The New York Congressional Delegation will have a number of new members, including Republican members of Congress. The following lists the members of the NY Delegation.

  • NY 1 Nicholas LaLota (Republican)
  • NY 2 Andrew Garbarino (Republican)
  • NY 3 George Santos (Republican)
  • NY 4 Anthony D’Esposito (Republican)
  • NY 5 Gregory Meeks (Democrat)
  • NY 6 Grace Meng (Democrat)
  • NY 7 Nydia Velazquez (Democrat)
  • NY 8 Hakeem Jeffries (Democratic)
  • NY 9 Yvette Clarke (Democratic)
  • NY 10 Daniel Goldman (Democrat)
  • NY 11 Nicole Malliotakis (Republican)
  • NY 12 Jerrold Nadler (Democrat)
  • NY 13 Adriano Espaillat (Democrat)
  • NY 14 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat)
  • NY 15 Richie Torres (Democrat)
  • NY 16 Jamaal Bowman (Democrat)
  • NY 17 Michael Lawler (Republican)
  • NY 18 Pat Ryan (Democrat)
  • NY 19 Marcus Molinaro (Republican)
  • NY 20 Paul Tonko (Democrat)
  • NY 21 Elise Stefanik (Republican)
  • NY 22 Brandon Williams (Republican)
  • NY 23 Nick Langworthy (Republican)
  • NY 24 Claudia Tenney (Republican)
  • NY 25 Joseph Morelle (Democrat)
  • NY 26 Brian Higgins (Democrat)

There are several interesting developments. As has been reported, incumbent Democrat S.P. Maloney (D) was defeated in NY 17 by Republican Michael Lawler. Also, there were significant Republican gains on Long Island.

The increase in Republican members of the NY Delegation should help our efforts in promoting the Local Radio Freedom Act. (H. Con Res. 33) This Congressional resolution demonstrates support for not imposing an additional performance fee on local radio stations. To date, there are 229 cosponsors of the legislation nationwide. As a general matter in New York, we have always had stronger support among Republican members of the delegation.