Democrats Predict 210-Vote Victory for Murphy

Chris Cillizza has the details.

Venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) will win the special election in New York's 20th district by 210 votes after all outstanding absentee and military ballots are counted, according to projections made by Democratic Party officials and obtained by the Fix.

The projections -- based off of the county performances by Murphy and state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R) on election night -- show the Democrat gaining 115 votes in Warren County, 96 votes in Columbia County and 70 votes in Washington County as well as scoring smaller gains in several other counties. Tedisco's only major gain, according to the model, will be in Saratoga County where he will net an additional 116 votes.

The Democratic projection puts the total number of absentee and military ballots at 5,584 with Murphy winning 2,864 and Tedisco taking 2,720. On election night, Murphy held a 65-vote lead -- 77,344 to 77,279.

Don't be surprised to see the Republicans fight tooth and nail in the hopes of wiggling their way on top of this election, much the same as they have for several months in Minnesota. Indeed, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see the GOP drag this process out even in the absence of evidence that they have a real shot at victory (again, as has been the case in Minnesota). But right now, with the initial tally favoring Democrat Scott Murphy and the projections not looking too dissimilar, the numbers suggest that there's a good chance that New York's 20th congressional district will stay in Democratic hands.

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NY-20: Scott Murphy Up By 65 Votes

This is as close as they come. After all ballots cast today were counted, Democrat Scott Murphy prevailed by just 65 votes (77,344 to 77,279.) Next up: the counting of nearly 6,000 absentee ballots. Arjun has more:

Domestic absentee ballots have to be postmarked by today and received by April 7 in order to be counted, while overseas ballots (which are largely, but not exclusively military) will have until April 13 to be received.

Naturally, both candidates will assert that they'll have the edge among absentee ballots. No one's going to concede until every ballot is counted - and in all likelihood the election will be close enough that someone will ask for a recount.

DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen's statement (via e-mail):

"From 21 points down to securing a majority of the vote tonight, congratulations to Scott Murphy who ran an extraordinary campaign focused on his record as a successful businessman who helped to create jobs and his strong support for President Obama's economic recovery act.  As votes continue to be counted, we're confident that Scott Murphy will expand his lead.

"Scott Murphy's strong showing in this district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 70,000 represents a rejection of the obstructionist agenda and scare tactics that have become the hallmark of House Republicans."

You didn't want an actual result by the end of election night, did you?

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NY-20 Results Thread

Polls in New York close at 9pm Eastern as Republicans try to prevent the certification of Murphy no matter the margin.

The Albany Project has a couple election returns sources (here and here.) We'll bring the numbers to you as they come in. Also, I'll be updating on Twitter as well.

Should be getting the first results in in a couple of minutes...

607 out of 610 precincts reporting

Scott Murphy 50 (76,573 votes)
Jim Tedisco 50 (76,321 votes)

Update [2009-3-31 21:49:5 by Todd Beeton]:Tedisco's margin is under 1,000 votes.

Update [2009-3-31 21:57:33 by Todd Beeton]:Scott's now down by about 8001100 30

Update [2009-3-31 22:16:31 by Todd Beeton]:I gotta run out. This is as close as it gets. With about 6000 absentee ballots still to be counted, we won't have a result tonight. More later...

Update [2009-3-31 22:19:7 by Todd Beeton]:Scott Murphy pulls ahead for the first time.

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NY-20: Tedisco Text Message FAIL

I love stories of thwarted Republican attempts to merge politics and technology. Add this one to the hall of fame:

Niskayuna resident Clara Mehserle says she received a text message on her cell phone this morning that said: "Jim Tedisco needs your vote! Polls open until 9 p.m. YOUR VOTE MATTERS. Paid for by Tedisco for Congress."

One large problem: Mehserle doesn't live in the 20th Congressional district. She's a registered Democrat. And she thinks she'll have to pay for the message because it came from a phone system outside her Verizon network.

As a result, the substitute teacher said she called Murphy's headquarters in Clifton Park to volunteer going door to door today. She said she called Tedisco's headquarters and left a message about her complaint.

"I'm so ticked off by it," Mehserle said. "Why are they targeting Schenectady County residents?"

Why is the Tedisco campaign targeting Schenectady County residents with GOTV messages? Perhaps because Jim Tedisco himself is a Schenectady County resident. As a registered voter at his home in Glenville, NY, Tedisco lives outside of the district he's running for, which means he will not be able to vote for himself today.

FAIL on so many levels.

Update [2009-3-31 15:33:43 by Todd Beeton]:Mike Huckabee is urging Tedisco supporters to make 5 calls and donate $10. Way to shoot for the moon, Huck

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President Obama Sends GOTV Blast To NY-20

If you wondered whether President Obama would shirk from the rabid advocacy for the election of Democrats he exhibited throughout the campaign once elected, we now have our answer. Not only has the president endorsed Scott Murphy and the DNC cut a TV ad highlighting that endorsement and not only has Joe Biden cut a radio ad for Murphy, but today the president blasted his list to get out the vote for the Democrat, complete with online polling place look-up tool.

Hat tip to The Albany Project for the e-mail:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the day to vote in New York's 20th Congressional District special election, and I need you to go vote.

I wrote to you last week to announce my endorsement of Scott Murphy because we need his kind of leadership and experience in Washington. It's going to be a very close race, and your vote could make all the difference.

Our movement for change has come this far because supporters like you stood up and made your voices heard every time it mattered.

Please look up your polling location and stand up once again for the change we need to bring to Washington.

With Scott in Congress, we'll work together to bring about solutions to our economic challenges and create new jobs in Upstate New York and across the country.

Having created over 1,000 jobs by starting successful businesses in clean energy and high-tech industries, Scott understands the potential we have to rebuild our economy and create a new foundation for prosperity.

That's the kind of partner I need in Washington. Please look up your polling place and vote tomorrow:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

No wonder the ceremonial lowering of expectations game and the pre-emptive laying of blame have already begun among Republicans:

On the radio with Fred Dicker this morning, GOP consultant Roger Stone insisted Tedisco can "squeak this out," but also suggested it won't be his fault if he doesn't.

One GOP source said internal polling showedTedisco down by two to three percentage points as of Friday, which is about what the last Siena NY poll found, too. That means this could still be anyone's race.

In Stone's eyes, the NRCC will be to blame for pressing on Tedisco a "terrible strategy," adding: "Voters are looking for a fiscal conservative. That's what Tedisco is. He just needed to let the voters know that."

Most observers agree Tedisco's biggest mistake was, as Stone put it, "his attempt to finesse the stimulus bill." (Or, as I like to call it, the Jimmy Vielkind moment).

That put Tedisco on the defensive, and he never recovered - even though he tried, mightily, to tie Murphy to everything that was bad about the stimulus, including the AIG bonuses.

In addition, instead of running positive TV ads to remind voters of who he is, Tedisco opted to go on the attack against Murphy, which only helped raise the name recognition of a man who was a nearly complete unknown at the outset of this race.

Final stretch. Polls open in 9 hours. Help Scott Murphy bring it home.

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