NEW YORK - Three of New York's seats in Congress switched parties Tuesday night, with Democrats taking two seats from Republicans and Republicans taking one from Democrats in hard-fought races.
Both national political parties had been looking to the New York races as they fought to see which party would have control in the House of Representatives, and millions of dollars had flowed into the state from super political action committees and other outside groups funding an avalanche of negative ads.
Democrat Dan Maffei was declared the winner over Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle for the district near Syracuse. Buerkle had beaten him for the seat in 2010 by 648 votes.
Republican Chris Collins, the former Erie County executive, defeated incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul, who won the Buffalo-area seat last year.
Former Bill Clinton aide Sean Patrick Maloney beat Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth in the lower Hudson Valley to become New York's first openly gay member of Congress.
In other races, Republican Rep. Mike Grimm was declared the winner over Democratic challenger Mark Murphy for the district that covers Staten Island. In Queens, Democratic candidate Grace Meng was declared the winner over Republican Dan Halloran. She becomes the first Asian-American member of Congress from New York.
In another race that was a rematch of 2010, five-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Timothy Bishop defeated Republican businessman Randy Altschuler on eastern Long Island. Altschuler came within 593 votes of defeating Bishop two years ago.
In eastern New York, Republican freshman Rep. Chris Gibson beat back a challenge from Democrat Julian Schreibman, while in northern New York, Democratic Rep. Bill Owens once again defended his seat against Republican businessman Matt Doheny. Doheny narrowly lost to Owens in 2010 when a third-party candidate took some votes.
Money for ads had poured into the state from business interests, unions, PACs and other groups. The Sunlight Foundation, which calls for more government transparency, says total outside spending had gone above $18 million in the state.
New York lost two of its current 29 seats in the House - one Democratic and one Republican - to redistricting for the 2010 census population changes.
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