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All Eyes Turn to New York March 20, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Economic Stimulus, Economy, New York Politics, Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

James Tedisco (R) and Scott Murphy (D)
James Tedisco (R) and Scott Murphy (D)

On March 31, residents of New York’s 20th Congressional District will vote to replace former Congressman and current Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  The Republican standard-bearer is James Tedisco, NYS Assembly minority leader and veteran of New York’s infamous “three men in a room” system of governance.  The Dems are running Scott Murphy, a venture capitalist with ties to Wall Street that are quite unpopular these days.  A Libertarian candidate, Eric Sundwall, is also in the race but is not polling over 1%.

The race has garnered national attention – it is generally viewed as being a “referendum” on President Obama’s first few weeks in office.  Should Tedisco win, the Republicans will believe that their “just say no” strategy is resonating with some voters.  Murphy, who has come out in favor of the administration’s $800 billion stimulus, is being hammered by Tedisco with advertisements funded by national conservative PAC money.  The current strategy is to say that since Murphy approved of the stimulus, then he approves of the AIG bonuses.  When pressed during a debate on March 4, however, Tedisco announced his support of the stimulus – if all the waste were taken out.  Does that mean he also supports the AIG bonuses?  No answer from the Tedisco camp as yet….

The race is also being viewed as a test of RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s leadership.  The  National Republican Congressional Committee has poured over $340,000 into the race to defeat Murphy.  Republicans enjoy a 15% voter registration advantage in this largely conservative area of upstate – but have lost the district in the last two elections.  Gillibrand, a “conservadem”, was able to wrest the seat from Republicans on the strength of backing among independent and unaffiliated voters.  A recent Siena College poll (March 12) shows Murphy gaining on Tedisco, closing a 12-point gap to within the margin of error of 4%.  The reason?  Murphy is beginning to poll higher among independents and is, in fact, beating Tedisco in that bloc by 6 percentage points.  The key will be how the undecideds break – 13% remain uncommitted.

The funny thing about the race is that both candidates are pretty much the same guy.  Tedisco could be a “Republicrat” and Murphy a “Conservadem”.  A frustrated Eric Sundwall (Libertarian) made the observation after the first debate between the two, “It was hard for me to tell the difference between Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy. They both don’t understand the severe economic implications that this country is in.”  That reflects the peculiar dichotomy of New York politics.  While the state is often viewed as full of wild-eyed liberals, upstate is far more conservative.  Anyone wanting to represent upstate MUST straddle both sides of the fence.  One wins by being the most artful at it.

The most interesting wrinkle in this election – as I see it – is that Jim Tedisco can’t even vote for himself in the election.  He doesn’t live in the district he’s fighting to represent.  Apparently he and his wife have a vacation home in Saratoga – which is in the district – but Mr. Tedisco is registered to vote in Schenectady – which is not.   Tedisco says it doesn’t matter where he lives, but the people in the district have begged to differ.  Everyone is up in arms over his lying in campaign ads saying that he live in Saratoga.  The North Country Gazette wondered in an editorial Wednesday – what if Tedesco lost the election by one vote?

Wouldn’t THAT be poetic justice?





1. Shopping Newbie Blog - March 20, 2009

[…] All Eyes Turn to New York « Kate’s Kitchen Table […]

2. Morris Guller - March 20, 2009

Tedicso can’t vote for himself so why should I.

The Dem is unimpressive.

I’m hoping that people will decide to make this a Very Special Election and vote for Eric Sundwall on March 31st.

He’s the best candidate in this race.

3. GM - March 20, 2009

Scott Murphy is going to rubber stamp all the bills that Nancy Pelosi tells him to.

He’s a product of a Washington DC slick campaign with nice commercials but don’t get
fooled folks. He’ll vote yes for the mortgage bailout bill and yes on a second stimulus package.

The people who got us into this mess with AIG was Barney Frank and Dodd, and it was rushed
through without thought and voted on. Exactly what Scotty Murphy did when he said he’d vote
for the first stimulus bill without reflecting on it or reading the bill.

I’m voting Tedisco for congress for fiscal responsibility.


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