Congressional elections in my area this fall figure to be a snooze, but I decided to check in with people from NY-25, the district just to the east of me which stretches from Syracuse to the eastern suburbs of Rochester. It’s a classic Rockefeller Republican area, +3 Democratic Cook PVI but with a Republican representative (Jim Walsh) from 1988– 2008, now with a Democratic representative (Dan Maffei) — and a roughly equal number of Republicans and Democrats in terms of registration numbers. David Broder would like it if he visited — successful politicians in the area invariably portray themselves as centrist.
The Republican candidate for the district is a Sarah Palin-endorsed teatard who once carried a blackened fetus around in front of a local Planned Parenthood office; she’s never held office or done anything professionally. The race was probably a lost cause for Republicans because the Democratic incumbent raises a lot of money and generally strikes the right tone for the district. On the other hand, it’s the kind of “sleeper race” that the out-of-power party should try to make a contest out of in a “wave election” — freshman incumbent, Cook PVI under 5.
The obvious way to make a race like this competitive is to find a ostensibly non-ideological local businessman or office-holder and have him or her wank about creating jobs, the way Democrats did in the special elections in NY-20 and NY-23. Teahadism won’t cut it.
I don’t know how many possible outside chances Republicans like this are leaving on the table nationwide, but just about everywhere I look, I see one.