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Hakeem Ironies & Trump Veep Game Theory

Hakeem Jeffries
At 53 years old, he’s already proven himself to be a competent, charismatic leader—as well as a strong fundraiser, under the tutelage of his former boss, speaker emeritus Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
May 16, 2024

This forthcoming election could be a legacy-defining moment for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, whose chances of becoming speaker are increasingly dependent on Democrats retaking the chamber via the  competitive races playing out on his very own turf. The problem, alas, is that Joe Biden, who won New York by 23 points in 2020, is now leading Donald Trump by only 10 points in the state, according to a Siena poll conducted last month. That margin, if the election were held today, would be the worst performance for a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since 1988.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s lackluster performance at the top of the ticket in 2022 can’t be reassuring Jeffries. Back then, Hochul won the state by just six points, which was hardly enough to buoy down-ballot congressional candidates. Of the 11 districts won by her Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin, 10 congressional seats went to Republicans. The exception was Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan, a West Point veteran, who ran 5 points ahead of Hochul in his Hudson Valley district. And I’ve heard from multiple sources that Biden is now underwater in Ryan’s district, NY-18, a region the president won by 9 points in 2020.