10 Seats Up For Grabs In The House Of RepresentativesBy Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is widening his lead over Republican challenger Carl Paladino.

A new Siena poll of likely voters shows that Cuomo now has a 37-point lead over Paladino. That’s a 13-point jump from just two weeks ago.

Paladino’s chances for a comeback have been hurt by the fact that the same poll shows his unfavorable rating has surged to 69 percent.

Paladino has accepted CBS 2’s offer to host a debate with our radio partners WCBS 880 and 1010 WINS, plus the New York Times and the City University of New York.

Cuomo has yet to respond.

But while Democrats are running strong at the top of the New York ticket, there are new predictions that as many as 100 seats held by Democrats in the House of Representatives could be won by Republicans, and that includes 10 seats in New York.

President Barack Obama left the White House Wednesday on a five-state campaign swing in an attempt to head off what could be a mid-term election debacle for Democrats in the House.

“There are 10 congressional seats that are in play of which I would estimate we could take as many as six of them,” New York State Republican chairman Edward Cox told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

On the hot seat, so to speak, are Westchester-Putnam congressman John Hall, who is currently trailing in the polls behind Republican challenger Nan Hayworth, as well as Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and freshman Congressman Michael McMahon, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

“For the congressional seats it is definitely a referendum on the president,” Cox said.

The Staten Island seat is a good example of the fight. Democrat McMahon, a former city councilman, is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, in a seat that for years was held by Republicans.

“There’s never been a more stark contrast. Mike McMahon believes in a tax and spend mentality. He believes we should spend our children and grandchildren’s money,” Grimm said. “Healthcare is a disaster. That’s another huge contrast of why people should vote for me and not Mike McMahon.”

McMahon said he’s one of the few Democrats in Congress who voted no on Obamacare.

“I know what it is to be an independent fighter for the people who sent me to Washington. I didn’t go to Washington to go along to get along with the people in my party. I went down there to stand up for the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island,” McMahon said.

There’s a little less than two weeks before the election and a lot of undecided voters and you know what that means — anything can happen.

Republicans must pick up 39 seats in order to take control of the House and make Speaker Nancy Pelosi give up her gavel.

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