While New York is not normally considered a “swing state” in national politics, it has emerged as a central battleground in the fight for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Despite the expectation that President Obama will easily win New York’s 29 electoral votes, at least eight house seats are considered to be “in play” this November by the national parties.  And the majority of the seats that are “in play” are in Upstate New York.

The downside to this is that as voters in contested districts, we will be subjected to a veritable barrage of television ads from the candidates, outside groups, as well as the national party committees.

The six races in the Upstate region expected to be competitive are:

18th Congressional District (Hudson Valley) – Incumbent Republican Nan Heyworth is being challenged by Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney.  Maloney was an aide to former President Bill Clinton and served in the Spitzer Administration.  The Cook Report considers the race a “toss up.”

19th Congressional District (Hudson Valley) – Incumbent Republican Chris Gibson is being challenged by former federal prosecutor and Ulster County Democratic Party chair Julian Schreibman.  The Cook Report considers the race a “toss up.”

21st Congressional District (North Country) – In 2010, Democratic incumbent Bill Owens defeated Republican businessman Matt Doheny in a three-way race.  Doheney has both the Republican and Conservative lines in a rematch.  The Cook Report gives Owens a slight edge.

24th Congressional District (Syracuse area) – Incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle first won the seat in 2010, defeating then-incumbent Dan Maffei in a close race that was not resolved until three weeks after election day.  The Cook Report gives Maffei a slight edge in the race.

25th Congressional District (Rochester area) – Long-time incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter is being challenged by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.  The Cook Report gives Slaughter a slight edge, though the re-drawn district is not nearly as favorable for a Democrat as it was before redistricting.

27th Congressional District (Western New York) – Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul won the seat in a special election in 2011, and is being challenged by former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.

The Cook Report considers the race a “toss up.”