Monday, April 27, 2009

Tedisco Lost For Micro And Macro Reasons

The Albany Times-Union penned an article today on why Tedisco lost the race to Murphy. How could a local, well-known politician in the area and without high negatives lose a six-week campaign to a young, unknown businessman in a traditionally Republican district? The Times-Union covers their bases, but in title they point to a lack of unity in and among the GOP.

From The Times-Union:

State chairman Joseph Mondello wanted Tedisco, 58, as did Saratoga County's John "Jasper" Nolan, whose opinion was powerful because the leaders' votes were weighted by county population. But Washington and Essex counties lined up behind Betty Little, a popular state senator from Queensbury. Warren County voted narrowly for Tedisco. Elsewhere, Republicans in Columbia, Rensselaer, Delaware and Greene counties wanted Faso. Richard Wager in Dutchess County, who ran briefly against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2008, also had support, but Dutchess went for Tedisco.

As a result, Little — already in a delicate spot because she is related to Murphy by marriage — didn't go out of her way to help Tedisco in the North Country, and Faso didn't help in the south. Little was one of the first regional Republicans to suggest, once the vote count began to shift away from Tedisco, that he should start looking for an exit strategy.

Michael Grasso, the Warren County Republican chairman, praised Tedisco and said he was chosen fairly. But he admitted a lack of unity hurt the cause.

Grasso also said Little would have won, and theorized Murphy — an unknown who needed the North Country support — wouldn't have gotten in the race if Little had been the Republican candidate. He also said Tedisco ("a great guy who has always been there for the taxpayer") could have won with a different campaign.

"But hindsight is 20-20," Grasso said.

Hindsight is 20-20 but the vision, or lack there of from Tedisco and his party as a whole was pretty clear. For Tedisco himself, he immediately shot himself in the foot by not answering the question on the stimulus bill. It reflected negatively on whether he had principles to stand on and that matters to voters, especially in these economically sour times. His campaign ran too many negative ads against Murphy and not enough positive information on himself.

On the macro level, Republicans are becoming known as the party of no and without any ideas but to oppose the Democratic party on pretty much everything they propose to do for the nation. While national Republicans may think being the loyal opposition is the way to go, it doesn't work for a special election in a district that voted for Gillibrand in 06' and along with Barack Obama in'08. Furthermore, the NRCC did a terrible job despite spending a sizeable sum on the race. Making it a referendum on Obama's nascent Presidency was also a big mistake.

Basically, a lack of unity was a problem in selecting Tedisco as the candidate, but that by no means assured his eventual loss. When he started out in February, Tedisco was up by over 20 points. In the end, he lost by several hundred votes.