Re: special election in NY

To follow up on John’s earlier post on the special election in NY-20, my opinion is that Larison is partly but not completely right. He writes:

But if Murphy does win it will mean that an out-of-state transplant made up a 20-point deficit against a fixture of regional politics in less than six weeks, and he will have done it in a district where Republicans enjoy a registration advantage of many tens of thousands (71,000 to be exact, which is approximately 25% of the size of the 2008 turnout).

Most of the make-up in deficit was due to name recognition increasing. That happens in any race like this that pits a well-known local guy, Tedisco, against a newcomer like Murphy. Tedisco was never going to win by 20 points. But Larison is right that it’s a Republican district and the Republican candidate is well-known, so Tedisco should be winning pretty comfortably (let’s say by 6-12 points).

Larison also writes:

When Gillibrand won in 2006, it could be written off as part of a wave and a reaction against Sweeney’s scandals, and when Gillibrand was re-elected and Obama carried the district it could be written off to some extent as part of another wave and a reaction against the financial crisis and recession, but if the Democrats hold the seat for the third time that begins to suggest a pattern. It may mean that the GOP’s strongholds in the hinterlands of the Northeast, already disappearing in New Hampshire, are also eroding in upstate New York.

This is mostly right. If Tedisco loses tonight, it means that the Republican party is dead in the northeast. But that may have already been true. They only hold 2 upstate Congressional seats in NYS right now (McHugh and Lee) after holding six seats in 2004. That’s out of 12 so it’s a huge change.

I would argue, though, that New York State has its own brand of politics. There’s still a lot of Rockefeller Republicanism and huge tolerance for taxing and spending among both parties. Unions are big but in state races Republicans do well with unions. NYS is a big state with perceived big cultural differences between upstate and downstate (I’m not sure they’re as big as some people think but the perception is there) and a lot of upstaters are Republicans in order to oppose downstate Democrats, not to support George W. Bush and John McCain. Obama won NY-20 by three points despite the huge Republican registration advantage.

All of that said, as a nearly lifelong State Assembly member, Tedisco should have been able to tap into what it is that makes people in NY-20 stay registered as Republicans. But he was handcuffed by a heavy-handed national strategy.

And that’s what makes this race significant. Republicans are never going to win in New England but they can be competitive in the Rust Belt. Upstate New York is somewhere between New England and the Rust Belt, geographically and culturally (it’s probably a bit closer to the Rust Belt culturally overall). Presumably, there are local Republican officials throughout the Rust Belt who know how to appeal to local voters. But if they’re forced to take orders from southerners (like Cantor and Boehner), then they’re screwed. I think tonight’s race may well be harbinger of that.

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21 replies
  1. 1
    jnfr says:

    Voting ends in a few minutes, right? Is there any particular site to watch for quick vote totals?

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    Is there any particular site to watch for quick vote totals?

    Yeah, I’ll something up on that in a sec.

  3. 3
    someguy says:

    NYS is a big state with perceived big cultural differences between upstate and downstate

    It’s not the culture, except insofar as consanguinity can be described as a culture.

  4. 4
    someguy says:

    They are historically Republican voters, after all.

  5. 5
    demimondian says:

    Presumably, there are local Republican officials throughout the Rust Belt who know how to appeal to local voters.

    I’m not so sure. One of my closest friends out here is a rust-belt refugee from Indiana. She’s a hard-core, conservative Republican…

    …who’s aggressively pro-choice and anti-fundamentalist.

    She’s never going to Cole herself, any more than I’m ever going to DeLay myself — but the Indiana Republican party is largely out of step with her. Yeah, they’re right on taxes, but they’re wrong on everything else. I don’t see how they can continue to win in that environment.

  6. 6
    Ailuridae says:

    DougJ-

    Having grown up in Saratoga Springs I have always taken the area to be more linked to New England than to the larger politics of the mid-Atlantic states where the Republican brand is still viable. So when I look at it I see this as an extension of the Republican losses in 2006 followed by Shays in 2008 that left them shut out of New England. Do you feel the dempgraphics of this area differ radically from MA-01 or the non-Concord NH district?

    Interesting anecdote that might explain the registration patterns of upstate residents. In 1993 I came home from my freshman year of college. My school got out late so I was at a disadvantage finding work in the tourist (also, only) industry in Saratoga Springs. Luckily, we went back late for school so I would be allowed to work the full five or six week meet at the racetrack. When applying for the job I was directed to Jasper Nolan, Saratoga Country Republican Party Chair. We talked briefly and he set me up. The jobs were part of the larger New York Racing Association were union jobs through the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union. Jasper handed me a form to fill out. I remember it looking like this

    Name:
    Are you a Registered Republican:
    Address:

    etc…

  7. 7
    superdestroyer says:

    Who cares about this election? The Republican Party is irrelevant to politics in the U.S. I guess getting excited about pointless elections allows people to not thnk about the incompetence of Speaker Pelosi and why too many bills have to be voted on in a rush.

  8. 8
    ploeg says:

    TPM has 51% in:

    Murphy 49%
    38,199
    Tedisco 51%
    39,002

  9. 9
    ploeg says:

    TPM has 63% in:

    Murphy 50%
    46,645

    Tedisco 50%
    46,969

  10. 10
    stickler says:

    Not to be an ass or anything, but isn’t Boehner from Ohio?

    (Not that southern Ohio/Indiana/Illinois aren’t culturally similar to Ol’ Dixie, though, just askin’.)

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    it means that the Republican party is dead in the northeast

    McCain won the county just north of Saratoga country (Warren). by 6 votes.

  12. 12
    cleek says:

    The Republican Party is irrelevant to politics in the U.S.

    dude, that shit is played. STFU. fer reals.

  13. 13
    superdestroyer says:

    Cleek,

    Then please explain how the Republican Party is still relevant. The Republicans are incapable of affecting policy in the U.S. and have zero chance of long term survival.

    A more interesting question is what will the future look like when the Democratic Primary is the real election and the general election is moot. Image what 2016 will look like when everyone will know who the next president will be after the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries.

    And also, can a progressive every make a point without resorting to profanity?

  14. 14
    stickler says:

    Superdestroyer:

    I’m not Cleek but this needs answering:

    _Then please explain how the Republican Party is still relevant. The Republicans are incapable of affecting policy in the U.S. and have zero chance of long term survival._

    The Republican Party is relevant chiefly because:

    a) they still have a huge audience for GOP-friendly gasbag media like Billo Reilly, Rush, Glenn Beck, etc. Plus the High Broderism of the Beltway media.

    b) Harry Reid thinks that 60 votes in a 100-seat body represents "comity," which is akin to "democracy," which is a total crock of horseshit, but Harry Reid is Senate Majority Leader not me, so there you go.

    Other than that, sure, the GOP is looking at Whigdom in the near future. But they can sure fuck up the country before they go.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    The Republicans are incapable of affecting policy in the U.S.

    watch the action in the Senate for a week. see what kind of effect the GOP has on what gets passed and what doesn’t.

    if it’s not clear to you after that, then politics just ain’t your game.

    Image what 2016 will look like when everyone will know who the next president will be after the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries.

    forgive me if i don’t trust your precognitive powers.

    And also, can a progressive every make a point without resorting to profanity?

    can you say anything that isn’t "ONE PARTY RULE!!!" really? can you? if you can, it’d be nice to see for a change.

  16. 16
    jprice vincenz says:

    Two things: Peter King is still representing some NY district in the House, isn’t he? And Boehner is from Ohio and is not a southerner, Brother DougJ.

  17. 17
    Mike D. says:

    "southerners (like Cantor and Boehner)" — gold. Perfectly captures the Northeast-Republican-in-exile mentality (and reality).

  18. 18
    Mike D. says:

    "southerners (like Cantor and Boehner)" — gold. Perfectly captures the Northeast-Republican-in-exile mentality (and reality).

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    Alan J Gerson stood with several leading environmental activists and welfare programs for children, senior citizens, WTC reforms, Cultural, Housing activities in his service till now.
    A short list of those can be found from here: http://www.gerson2009.com/main.....8;s=gerson
    To continue his efforts, do vote for him for Dist 1 council election 15th Sept 2009

  20. 20
    mark.ny00 says:

    Alan J.Gerson, District 1 election candidate created an independent environmental assessment report on Ground Zero that was cited by Congressman Nadler in his heroic battles with the federal EPA ..

    Please visit his website…

    http://www.gerson2009.com/main.....8;s=gerson

  21. 21
    austin says:

    yes u are right he should be voted for makin our city better..

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