Special Election in NY

Not to step on DougJ’s toes, but Daniel Larison has some interesting thoughts on the special election between Tedisco and Murphy:

Taken in isolation, this outcome wouldn’t matter much. 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). When Ogonowski lost a special election for MA-05 in a landslide, there were more than a few Republicans who went wild at how well he had done in a House special election in deep-blue Massachusetts. In that case, Ogonowski’s smaller-than-expected margin of defeat was supposed to signal a Republican resurgence in 2008 (which did not happen), which was never very credible, but are we really supposed to believe that a Democratic win in a traditionally Republican district in a special election doesn’t say something significant about the political fortunes of the GOP? 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.

I would agree that this should probably be seen as bad news for the Republicans at large in NY, but I am not sure I think there is anything to be really learned about the public and Obama from the outcome of this election, whatever it may be. Now I know full well should Tedisco win, the usual suspects will have banner headlines shouting “OBANOMICS REFUTED” and “THE WORM HAS TURNED- GOP BACK IN BUSINESS.” That doesn’t mean that it is true, nor do I think it means anything really significant should Murphy win. From what I have read (most of which was here and at the Albany Project) leads me to believe that this is just a really attractive Democratic candidate versus a Republican who has run a really, really bad campaign.

Am I wrong to think there is no larger significance to this election? Also, I thought it was weird that Larison frequently referred to Murphy by name but only called Tedisco the “GOP candidate.”

At any rate, I’m hoping DougJ can keep us posted on what is going on.






32 replies
  1. 1
    gbear says:

    This posting is a slap in the toes to DougJ.

    God I hope that Murphy wins by enough votes so they can’t do what they’re doing here in MN.

    PS: the judges in MN ruled today. They’re going to look at about 400 new ballots. Coleman is officially toast.

  2. 2
    HyperIon says:

    Now I know full well that had Tedisco won

    umm…the election has not been decided yet, has it?
    don’t you mean: "should Tedeso win"?

  3. 3
    JenJen says:

    I’m watching this race with a lot of interest. I don’t think in the event Murphy wins its any kind of "referendum," but of course if Tedisco wins it’ll be hyped and promoted to within an inch of its life.

    I do think these special elections sometimes provide interesting microcosm snapshots of the current political mood vs. Conventional Wisdom, though. The Paul Hackett-Jean Schmidt race in the Ohio 2nd during the summer of 2005, Bush’s Annus Horribilus, reminds me of this New York race, in
    that sense.

  4. 4
    Fencedude says:

    So uhh…this election was today, right?

    Do we know who won?

    (is lazy)

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    Larison’s a little wrong. The 20 point change is due mostly to increased name recognition for Murphy. That always happens in races like this.

    What would normally happen in a race like this is that Murphy would start 20 point down and lose by about 9 or 10, due to Tedisco being better known and the district leaning Republican.

    But because Tedisco has run such a terrible campaign — and it really is that bad — the race is a toss-up.

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    @HyperIon: Thanks. Not sure what the hell happened there.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    I think the election will give a clue about the minority-within-the-minority of Republican voters who are unhappy with the party, but haven’t yet made the leap to independent or conservative Democrat. Upstate New York is a world of its own– conservative, but not crazy conservative.

  8. 8
    GSD says:

    Polling just released in NH shows two term congressional Democratic incumbent Paul Hodes ahead of recently defeated GOP-er Senator John Sununu 42% to 36%.

    This is for the seat of retiring GOP-er putz Senator Judd Gregg.

    Were this to be the result in 2010, NH will have flipped from an entirely GOP congressional delegation to an entirely Democratic delegation between 2006 and 2010.

    -GSD

  9. 9
    jack fate says:

    John, the mostly deplorable (imo) James Carville once commented that Pennsylvania was two urban areas (Pitt and Philly) with Alabama in between. In NY it’s Buffalo (my birth-town and current residence), Rochester, Syracuse, bits of Rome/Utica/Binghamton, Albany, Yonkers and – the mother of all mothers – NYC and the surrounding metropolitan area.

    However, 20 miles outside of Buffalo ain’t much different than most of the south east of this country. I’m sure DougJ could attest, the Confederate Flag is pretty popular in rural NY and not just because they, unfortunately, really dig Lynyrd Skynyrd.

  10. 10
    ploeg says:

    Take it as you will, Firedoglake says that Tedisco has filed a motion to forstall certification of the election even before the polls have closed.

  11. 11
    John Cole says:

    @jack fate: I am well acquainted with rural NY, having lived for a half year near Poughkeepsie in the 80’s.

  12. 12

    […] 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. […]

  13. 13

    @jack fate: In NY it’s Buffalo (my birth-town and current residence), Rochester, Syracuse, bits of Rome/Utica/Binghamton, Yonkers and – the mother of all mothers, NYC and the surrounding metropolitan area.

    That description kinda hampers the elegance of the original statement.

    I still think Carville is a creep, tho.

    Everything North of Yonkers is Upstate! Also!

  14. 14
    jnfr says:

    @ploeg:

    Since they can’t win with voting machine fraud, they just have to stop the elections! It’s all they’ve got left. Which is sad.

  15. 15
    JGabriel says:

    From what I have read (most of which was here and at the Albany Project) leads me to believe that this is just a really attractive Democratic candidate versus a Republican who has run a really, really bad campaign.

    Am I wrong to think there is no larger significance to this election?

    I think you are wrong, John, but only to the extent that running a really bad campaign is symptomatic of the GOP as a whole. It’s not just Tedisco who’s running a bad campaign; most of the GOP is doing so.

    It may be an example of forgetting what the Shock Doctrine is about on the GOP’s part – which is that you use catastrophe to sneak your agenda across. Republicans got support from 2001- 2005 in part, a very large part, because many people bought the war lies and/or didn’t want to change leadership while we were at war.

    But the idiots in the GOP are so arrogant that they think the public was really supporting the deregulation and lower taxes agenda that they were supposed to be sneaking into legislation, not bragging about it. So they run on that agenda and wonder where the support has gone – when it was never really there, or that strong, in the first place.

    .

  16. 16

    It’s not just Tedisco who’s running a bad campaign; most of the GOP is doing so.

    They just keep doubling down on Teh Stupid(TM). Its like watching that burning Buddhist Monk get up and take a kerosene shower!

  17. 17
    jack fate says:

    @John Cole: Poughkeepsie is not what I’m talking about.

    Poughkeepsie, to the upstate New Yorkers I’m reffering to, might as well be NYC. Seriously, they might know it’s close to or near the Hudson and the Hudson runs to NYC.

    I’m talking about counties like Livingston, Wyoming, Allegheny, Orleans, Ontario, outer-Onandaga, St. Lawrence, Broome etc., the finger lakes region and the southwestern corner of the state.

    No shit, it’s Red America™ in those areas.

  18. 18
    jack fate says:

    @AhabTDefenestrator: Are you kidding me? I know people who call Yonkers upstate.

    And yes, Carville is a total creep. But he made a precient observation. One that is applicable to NY – however, I do admit it’s more complicated than that.

  19. 19
    DougJ says:

    Everything North of Yonkers is Upstate! Also!

    Yonkers? Try 150th Street.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    Yonkers? Try 150th Street.

    The Apollo Theater is on 125th. Why would you ever need to go north of there?

  22. 22
    JerryN says:

    Yonkers? Try 150th Street.

    We refer to Inwood as "upstate Manhattan".

  23. 23
    JGabriel says:

    MikeJ:

    The Apollo Theater is on 125th. Why would you ever need to go north of there?

    To get to the Cloisters, silly.

    .

  24. 24
    geg6 says:

    As far as Carville’s characterization of PA goes, he’s absolutely spot on with the exception of 2008 only. We have been calling our state, for political purposes, Pennsyltucky or Pennsylbama since I was in high school back in the ’70s. That area has some of the largest KKK memberships in the entire US. That said, when I canvassed for Obama this fall, numerous home owqners I spoke to said they were voting for the n—-r because he couldn’t be worse than Bush.

  25. 25
    ploeg says:

    According to TPM, we have 51% in:

    Murphy 49%
    38,199

    Tedisco 51%
    39,002

  26. 26
    jack fate says:

    @geg6: I walked the streets for Obama on election day in Erie, PA and heard, roughly, the same thing more than a few times.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    Jack fate, are you a Western PAer, too? Beaver County here! Representing.

  28. 28
    icr says:

    anytime someone brings up the virtually extinct KKK as a contemporary force of any significance I know they’re either spouting BS or living in a time warp.

    The only hope for the GOP is for it to disown the neocon warmongering, jettison the silly "free trade" (hey, what about those Ag subsidies?) mantra and borrow the more sensible arguments of the paleocons while ignoring their excecssive anti-Israelism.

    PJB initially did well in the 1992 and 1996 primaries but his vulernability on his perceived ant-Semitism hurt him badly. Also probably was seen as too much of anti-abortion zealot.

  29. 29
    D-Chance. says:

    Maybe it’s because some of us are 2000 miles away from the district in question, and quite frankly don’t give a damn about New York anyway; but, this has been the biggest waste of half the front page of Balloon Juice I’ve seen in a long, long time. THREE boring, long-winded posts on this nothing event?

  30. 30
    Laura W says:

    @D-Chance.:
    Four. Looks like you went to bed before Shades of Florida went up.

  31. 31
    jack fate says:

    @geg6: Naw, I’m a born and bred Western New Yorker. Born and partly raised in Buffalo until my parents moved us out to the country. As an adult I’ve lived in the City of Buffalo, however.

  32. 32
    Johnny Pez says:

    @D-Chance.: You post about the election you have, not the election you wish you had.

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