Monday, March 02, 2009

NY-20: Republican Resurgence Can Only Happen By Dropping The "R"

Now don't get me wrong, to Republicans this race is extremely important, just as it is to Democrats. The top GOP leaders have no problem talking up the race in NY-20 to their most dedicated followers. Yet when it comes to swaying voters in New York's Capitol region to come back and support the Grand Old Party, the way they are going about it isn't as direct as a dyed-in-the-wool partisan would hope for.

From FireDogLake:

Did you notice in the ad where the man who's going to bring Republicans back mentioned which party he belonged to? Nah, me neither, despite the fact that there are 75k more Republicans than Democrats registered in the district he's hoping to win. Which is why it's a little bit odd that the candidate with the greatest name recognition (Mr. Tedisco is a Republican leader in the State Assembly) has halved his lead from a few weeks ago (the AP is calling it a competitive race now)

Or maybe not. Being a Republican is a bit of a problem for Mr. Tedisco these days:

The biggest political matchup in the country right now pits a seasoned Republican lawmaker against an unknown Democrat in one of New York’s most traditionally conservative Congressional districts. National Republican leaders have vowed to make the contest a turning point for their beleaguered party, while Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have signaled that they will not be doing any heavy lifting to help out.

All the makings of a Republican rout.

Yet now when layoffs, foreclosures and anxiety are freezing the Catskills, Adirondacks and Hudson Valley like an economic ice storm, a single issue — the $787 billion federal stimulus package — appears to be providing the Democratic newcomer, Scott Murphy, with some traction in the campaign to succeed Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the House of Representatives.

His Republican opponent, James N. Tedisco, the minority leader in the State Assembly, refuses to say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill.* To endorse it, Republican operatives acknowledge, would put him at odds with every House Republican and endanger his support from Washington.


Still, Mr. Tedisco’s advisers believe the election will come down to which candidate voters like more, pointing to the 2006 election, when voters chose the appealing Ms. Gillibrand over her Republican predecessor, John E. Sweeney.

So far the polls have Tedisco polling ahead of Murphy, but that is because people are just getting to know the Democratic candidate. The more he's out there, the better his ratings get. In the two weeks between the latest polls, he halved his opponent's lead. Tedisco is trying to hold onto that lead for the rest of the month by ignoring the controversy between the national parties and running on his name alone.

Even if he does manage to hold on, the GOP will scream and shout about their tangential victory over Obama, but that would be news to the voters that put him there. If anything, it shows that Murphy did not do as good a job campaigning in such a short amount of time. If Murphy inundates the district with ads, specifically with his name, "Democrat" and "endorsed by Gillibrand" then the Dems should be able to hold onto the seat.

No matter what the outcome though, a "Republican resurgence" or proof that the GOP can publicly repudiate Obama's agenda at the polls is not even close to becoming a reality. If the GOP tries to promote a victory as such, they are only deluding themselves of the political dynamic in the nation.