One of my commenters has some thoughts on NY-23:
I have a lot of relatives in NY-23. They are all Republicans, and that affiliation has been passed down through the generations (along with Catholic church membership and a tendency to dress like the pictures in the LL Bean catalog).
And few things get them angrier than how the Republican party has been taken over by "the Texans." This is shorthand for the southern-oriented, Protestant-oriented religious right. They hate that crowd more than any Democrat could. Betrayal by your own side always hurts the worst.
Some of them have even started voting for Democrats as a protest. I don't think they like doing it, but it's the only thing they can think of to smack their party back to its senses. And to its historical roots.
So the question for me is, can the Republicans accomodate a northern wing that is middling conservative, but very different in outlook from its southern wing? Or will they abandon that part of the political spectrum to conservative Democrats? Of course, one could ask the same about the Democrats and their conservative wing as well.
This resonates with me, because my mom's from Western New York. I remember once noting that until I was in college, I hadn't known any Republicans, to which my mother blinked, and replied "You knew your grandparents."
"But I didn't know they were Republicans."
She blinked again. "Well, we didn't try to hide it from you."
My grandparents were hard core Republicans. My grandmother still won't let you say mean things about (either) George Bush in her presence. They lived in a hard core Republican district--I think Wayne County is the reddest in New York State. But it's not Republican the way that, say, the Florida panhandle is Republican. If my family had lived in one of the redder areas of the South, I doubt I could have missed it.