Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NY-20: Too Close To Call-- Scott Murphy Ahead Of Disco Duck


Republican Jim Tedisco of Schenectady is (or was) the minority leader of the NY State Assembly. He decided to use that position as a stepping stone to the congressional seat in a neighboring district when Kirsten Gillibrand, the second-term representative, was appointed to the U.S. Senate. The district has 70,632 more registered Republicans than Democrats and Bush won it twice. Last November, Obama squeaked by McCain with 51%. When the campaign started, polls showed Tedisco burying an unknown Blue Dog Democrat, Scott Murphy, 50-29%. But one of the most inept campaigns in memory-- even today Tedisco, who can't vote for himself because he doesn't live in the district, sent a text message to voters... but the wrong ones-- steadily shrunk Tedisco's lead and provoked bloody GOP infighting and lots of confusion and costly errors. Tonight the unknown Democrat from Missouri is ahead by 65 votes, although thousands of absentee ballots remain to be counted.

Even before the polls closed, Tedisco, following the Norm Coleman strategy, was in court protesting Murphy's victory. This is a startling and devastating defeat for the GOP, both on the state and national level.
One GOP consultant who isn't working on Tedisco's campaign suggested this race could actually end up being a "perfect storm," leading to calls for the ouster of party leaders all the way up the food chain.

On the line are local leaders like Saratoga County's Jasper Nolan, an early champion of Tedisco and veteran chairman who has weathered several failed coup attempts; state Chairman Joe Mondello, who presided over the meeting at which the 10 county chairs picked Tedisco and was under fire even before the party's historic loss of the state Senate majority last year; RNC's Michael Steele, who was the first to suggest the 20th CD contest would be a bellwether of the national GOP's ability to make a comeback.

That bellwether meme-- and the Republican Party's insistence at nationalizing the race and making it a referendum on Obama and his program-- is at the heart of the GOP disaster tonight. Tim Kaine, head of the DNC had a curt and to the point synopsis of how the race unfolded:
Scott Murphy embraced President Obama's message of change and his plans to fix our economy and create jobs, and as a result  he stormed from more than 20 points down to winning a majority of votes cast tonight. Scott's performance tonight in an overwhelmingly Republican district, where Republicans enjoy a registration advantage over Democrats of more than 70,000, represents a repudiation of the failed politics and policies that Republicans continue to embrace. We are confident that when all the ballots are counted, Scott will expand his lead and become an ally to President Obama in Congress who will help the President create jobs and turn our economy around.

Democratic Party sources estimate that after the counting is done, if trends hold steady, Murphy will increase his lead and beat Tedisco by 210 votes.

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At 5:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I hope to hell Scott beats Tedesco soundly. Talk about sending a message..woot! ;)

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