Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) made clear the GOP intends to tightly defend Republicans in New York in 2024, targeting Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and vulnerable seats in the Empire State.
Republicans gained three seats in New York in 2022 and kept hold of other tight races in what was viewed as the brightest victory amid a disappointing Election Day for Republicans. Democrats lost another seat in the state to reapportionment.
“Those are our majority-makers — those members,” Johnson said in an interview with “Cats and Cosby” host John Catsimatidis on Friday. “I’m coming up there as early as next week to do events in those districts to help them retain those seats.”
“That was one of the reasons … we won the majority,” Johnson said of New York’s 11 Republicans. “We’ve got to defeat those guys at the ballot … We’re going to win it.”
New York has been a renewed focus for Democrats in the upcoming cycle due to previous losses. Analysts cited the gubernatorial election of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) and non-partisan redistricting as reasons for the Democratic shortfall in 2022.
Democrats need to flip just five seats to retake the majority, leaving New York as a fierce battleground for both parties.
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) announced this week his will not run for reelection amid criminal corruption charges and a scathing ethics report. That seat is likely to fall to Democrats, according to the Cook Political Report.
Cook named four other New York seats as tossups, all held by Republicans: Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito, Brandon Williams and Marc Molinaro.
In the interview Friday, Johnson described his relationship with Jeffries as positive, despite their differences.
“Hakeem has become a very good friend of mine. I trust him. I think he’s a good man,” he said. “He and I see things from very different policy perspectives, of course. Our core principles may be a little different, but I know in his heart he wants what’s best for the country.”
“I think that’s really important for our institution — Congress — to work,” he continued. “We’re never going to agree on some of these policy positions, but we have to do it in an agreeable manner … Hakeem and I can get along.”
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