Nov. 1, 2016 — Hillary Clinton appeared to be a lock to win the presidency less than a week ago, but yet another email scandal has potentially altered the outcome. This time, the situation involves disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY-9) computer from which his wife, Clinton Campaign co-chair Huma Abedin, sent and received messages that are prompting further FBI scrutiny.
Does the discovery of more damaging material against the Clinton operation give Donald Trump a serious chance to win on Nov. 8?
Probably not, but a new ABC News/Washington Post three-day tracking survey (Oct. 25-28; 1,160 likely US voters) finds a severe tightening of the presidential contest, and even before the latest email flap became public knowledge. The poll result finds Clinton leading Trump now by only one percentage point, 46-45 percent, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson receiving four percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein attracting two percent support.
While the ABC/Post analysis memorandum cautions the reader that this track represents only a snippet in time and even raises questions about the viability of its own sampling universe, the consistent movement toward Trump is still significant. It was only eight days ago that the ABC/Post track found the former Secretary of State opening up a commanding 50-38 percent advantage over the Republican businessman. Since that time, her daily tracking lead has dwindled to 49-40 percent (Oct. 24 release), 48-42 percent (October 25), 48-44 percent (October 26), 47-45 percent (October 27), and finally 46-45 percent in the data made public during the weekend.
Now that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9) has officially resigned his position, the subject of who replaces him takes center stage. New York election laws and redistricting, however, makes finding a new 9th district congressman unusually difficult for the Democrats. As we detailed last week, the Empire State allows the political parties to self-determine their special election nominees without a vote of the people. Because the local political party chairmen are powerful, who wins the nomination is determined by just a handful of people. In this particular instance, one person, US Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY-7), who doubles as the Queens County Democratic Party chairman, has the power to choose a new candidate because almost three-quarters of Weiner’s constituents hail from Queens.
But, the congressman has a problem. Because the national reapportionment formula dictates that New York loses two federal districts for the next decade, a pair of seats, probably one in New York City and another in upstate New York, will be collapsed. Crowley would like to see the 9th broken apart because he wants much of its Queens territory for his own 7th district. This would allow his Bronx area, which is becoming increasingly more Hispanic, to go to other seats. Thus, Mr. Crowley wants a person who will serve only the final year of Weiner’s term and not seek re-election in 2012.
Such a person is difficult to find, especially since the Republicans are likely to contest the special election. One name is popping up of an individual who could easily win the seat and might not want to serve more than a year: Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin. Having her as the congressional nominee seems to play into Crowley’s succession plan, and it’s pretty obvious that such a strategy would work for the party, but would it for Ms. Abedin? We will soon find out.
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