Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wilderness report

Continuing a three year trend, Scott Murphy, a millionaire venture capitalist and Democrat, defeated the Republican candidate for US Representative in New York state’s 20th Congressional District. Murphy is replacing Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill the US Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, who left to become Secretary of State in the Obama Administration.

The candidates were separated by very few votes on the March 31 election day, but absentee ballots carried Murphy to victory. He expects to be sworn in next week.

Republicans are actually trying to claim victory in their defeat: "We should not ignore some of the encouraging signs that came out of this race. Just a few short months ago, President Obama carried this district and Kirsten Gillibrand won by an overwhelming margin against a well-funded challenger. For the first time in a long time, a Republican congressional candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters," the National Republican Congressional Committee said. Yeah, but they lost.

The “chairman” of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, had declared winning this race a top priority for this year. Republicans would no doubt love to use this loss to get rid of Steele, but they won’t be able to do that if they declare their loss was actually a victory.

Interesting times in the Republican wilderness.

Update: After I posted this, I found out that the Republicans filed a challenge to the absentee vote cast by, of all people, Kirsten Gillibrand! Why? Because she ended up being in the district on election day; New York law allows voters to cast an absentee ballot if they have a good faith belief that they'll be out of the district on election day, as Senator Gillibrand clearly thought she would be. The actions of the Republicans could be dismissed as the party's typical mean-spirited partisanship, or it could be yet another example of the Republican Party trying to make sure that all votes are not cast. Clearly the party has a long way to go if it wants to get out of the wilderness.


Roger Owen Green said...

This district is adjacent to mine and in the same media market; lots of ads on both sides.

Jim Tedisco, the GOP candidate, was a state legislative leader, well known in the area. Scott Murphy was a virtual unknown.

Arthur Schenck said...

I was thinking it must be near you. It seems to me that if the Republicans, running a well-known candidate, still couldn't defeat an unknown Democrat, they must me in big trouble. Which isn't to say that I'm a fan of Murphy—I don't anything about him. I'm just suggesting that the Republicans are lost and adrift.

Roger Owen Green said...

The best spin they've come up w is that Gillibrand (an incumbent, and we all know that incumbency matters)) beat the well-financed Sandy Treadwell something like 62-38, but this was closer. But Tedisco was the state Assembly minority leader; I knew of him. Murphy was Scott Who?

Murphy pretty much hitched his wagon to Onama. Tedisco would ALSO say nice things about Obama in some ads, then mock the tax-and-spend Dems in the next.

Frankly, I'm shocked Murphy won the absentees; I figured the better known guy would fare better with those who had not seen the campaign.

And speaking of absentee ballots, Writing your name on your absentee ballot, jotting encouragement to a candidate or dribbling mayonnaise from your lunch on the paper before sending it off to the Board of Elections will all render your vote invalid.