Ithaca, N.Y. — In 2012, local Democrat Nate Shinagawa lost to Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) in his bid to represent Congress by 3.8 points.

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On Tuesday night, Reed also beat his next challenger: Martha Robertson, a Tompkins County legislator.

This time, however, Reed didn’t just beat his opponent. He demolished her — taking 63 percent of the vote to Robertson’s 37 points, according to the Associated Press.

“This is our home, and as we declare this victory tonight I declare victory on behalf of all 717,000 people of Western New York,” Reed said in his victory speech.

Brandon Adelbock/Ithaca Voice

Reed’s 26 point triumph amounted to an approximately 22 point widening of his 2012 margin of victory.

It also represented a stunning blow to national and local Democrats who had made the case that New York’s 23rd District, which includes Ithaca, should be considered a competitive race.

The 2014 mid-term elections were a setback for Democrats across the country.

Democrats lost several key governorships and control of the Senate. Even Rep. Michael Grimm, the Republican from Staten Island who faces a federal indictment, managed to hold onto his seat.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias called the election “brutal” for Democrats. New York Magazine called it a “Republican rout.”

The results locally appear to be just as crushing — or even, at this still-early glance, worse.

After Shinagawa’s surprisingly strong showing in 2012, many liberals hoped that the seat could be put into play with more funding from the national wing of the Democratic party.

Money from Washington, D.C., poured into the race. Shinagawa had only raised about $600,000. With the backing of national groups like EMILY’s List, Robertson raised $2 million to counter her PAC-financed Republican rival.

If the money made a difference, though, it wasn’t nearly enough.

More damaging for Robertson was the apparent low turn-out of Tompkins County voters (though results are still being counted) and large defeats in all but one of the counties.

Another telling stat, according to initial NY State Board of Elections results:

In 2012, Shinagawa won at least 40 percent of the vote in 9 counties in the 11 county district.

On Tuesday, Robertson won at least 40 percent in only 2 of 11 counties — in Tompkins, with 57 percent, and Seneca, with 41 percent.


UPDATE 11 p.m. —

Several media outlets, including the Associated Press, are now calling the race for Rep. Tom Reed. Reed gave a victory speech at his campaign headquarters Tuesday evening.

Martha Robertson (D-Dryden) trails by significant margins in most counties in New York’s 23rd District.

With 45 percent of districts reporting, Reed’s margin has inched up to 66 percent of the total vote.

Stay tuned for updates.

Earlier — 

Ithaca, N.Y. — Results are starting to come in Tuesday evening for the contest between Martha Robertson (D-Dryden) and incumbent Rep. Tom Reed.

With about 37 percent of the vote reported, Reed has 66 percent, according to The New York Times. Robertson has about 34 percent.

Earlier: Why Robertson faces long odds tonight

What’s particularly bad for Robertson is the county-by-county vote breakdown.

Robertson has pulled about 35 percent of the vote in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung and Yates counties.

Democrat Nate Shinagawa, who lost the race in 2012, pulled over 40 percent in all of those counties, according to Daily Kos.

Reed’s headquarters Tuesday night. (Brandon Adelbock/Ithaca Voice)

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.