This should be the mantra for any Democrat running in a swing district in 2010, especially the northeast where Republicans in congress are a dying breed. I grew up in the northeast and so feel as though I have a sense of what appeals to or repels the sort of moderate Republican or Independent voter that I grew up around and indeed was raised by. And let me tell you, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh make up the holy trinity of toxic Republicans. Bush caused many of them to begin to question the Republican Party, Sarah Palin helped push them over to vote for Barack Obama in November and Rush Limbaugh is doing his darnedest to make sure they stay with us.
NY-20 is unique in that despite Republicans having an impressive voter reg advantage, voters have voted for president just a few points more Republican than the nation as a whole (in 2008, whereas Obama won 53% nationally, he won this district with 51%, hence the R+2 PVI.) As Nate points out, these voters are used to crossing over and voting for Democrats for president and congress and this mailer is precisely the message to make sure they do so again tomorrow.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that the state's two U.S. Senators were in the district for Scott Murphy over the weekend and that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has really been a strong advocate for Scott to replace her in the House, has recorded a robocall on his behalf. You can listen to it over at The Albany Project.
As Todd mentioned yesterday, MyDDer Adam Conner and myself are in Upstate NY this weekend volunteering for Scott Murphy, who is running to fill Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's seat in the NY-20 Congressional District, which starts in Dutchess County, a short drive north from New York City, stretches North well into the Adirondacks - bypassing Democratic Albany - and also stretches South and West towards the Catskill Mountains. It's gerrymandering at its finest.
All that cartological contortion extists to the keep the district Republican, but Kirsten Gillibrand's victory over John "the Sweenster" Sweeney has ushered in a new era in this former GOP stronghold, and now Democrat Scott Murphy is tied or ahead in the polls with the New York State Assembly Minority Leader, Republican James Tedisco.
Adam and I knocked a lot of doors in Saratoga yesterday and, although Adam had to fly back home this morning, I managed to walk two packets by myself today in beautiful Philmont, NY in the heart of Columbia County.
This is a very exciting race and I challenge the whole MyDD community to get involved. Here's why:
1. It's close. Margin of error close. I cannot leave you with a more important message than my conviction that this election is going to come down to a few hundred votes. Republicans owned this seat for a long, long time and they want it back. They will do whatever it takes to win. We can stop them.
2. Scott Murphy is a really good guy. He's also a progressive business leader who has made a career out of building innovative American businesses that create jobs and grow our economy. He gets what a successful American economy looks like and will be a valuable voice in Congress.
3. James Tedisco is best described with a word that rhymes with bassclown. He's the caricature of a hack Albany politician, with the least important job in the legislature. Assembly Majority Leader Shelly Silver rules with an iron fist inside an iron glove. He barely consults with other Democrats, let alone the minority party. A wax dummy of Tedisco could do his job just as effectively, and would have a more impressive legislative record.
Tedisco also claims to be a big labor guy, because his Dad was in a union. Of course he's opposed to EFCA (and Obama's budget, and healthcare reform, and puppies, etc) and doesn't have any union endorsements. Nice try, Jimmy.
A couple of MyDDers are up in NY-20 today knocking on doors to urge people to vote for Scott Murphy on Tuesday but for those of us who can't make it to the district, there is something we can do. Rep. Eric Massa has a diary up at dailykos promoting the DCCC's new phonebank from home tool. Watch Eric's video below practicing what he preaches.
Go HERE to help Eric turn out the vote for Scott in NY-20 on Tuesday.
A new Siena Research Poll released today shows Democrat Scott Murphy with the momentum going into Tuesday's special election. Since Siena's first poll of the race in late February, Scott Murphy has gained a net 16 points and is now in the lead for the first time.
"While the percentage of likely voters supporting Murphy has risen about three points per week for the last four weeks, the percentage supporting Tedisco has dropped three points. In the last four weeks, Murphy turned a 12-point deficit into a four-point lead," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll.
The poll results also reflect a solidifying of support for Murphy among Democrats, which was no doubt aided by the recent endorsements by the president and vice president:
"Murphy has sealed the deal with Democrats, leading 84-11 percent, while Tedisco has the support of less than two-thirds of Republicans, leading 64-27 percent. Independents are virtually tied, with Tedisco leading 45-44 percent, after trailing with independents by six points two weeks ago and leading by 14 points four weeks ago," Greenberg said.
Yesterday, the DNC went up on the air touting the president's endorsement:
Update [2009-3-27 14:18:47 by Todd Beeton]:While Siena did include Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall in their polling, he has been kicked off the ballot by a legal challenge. Interestingly, today, Sundwall endorsed Scott Murphy. Via The Albany Project:
I will be voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday. While we disagree on some important issues, I find him to be a man of honor, a good family man and successful businessman. Unlike Tedisco, he actually lives in the District. And, unlike Mr. Tedisco, I view Scott's business success as a virtue, not a vice.
I urge my supporters and all those who believe in open and free elections to show their disgust at the tactics of the Republican political machine to win at all costs. Please join me in voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the race to replace Kirsten Gilibrand in the House will go to the ballot with Democrat Scott Murphy facing off against Republican Jim Tedisco. Here's a NY-20 round-up 5 days out.
VP Joe Biden has entered the fray with a new radio ad up in the district. The Albany Project has the audio.
This is Vice President Joe Biden. As a graduate of Syracuse Law School, I not only root for the orange, I root for Upstate New York as well. That's why this special election you'll be holding next Tuesday, March 31st is so important to me. I'm supporting Scott Murphy for Congress, and so is President Obama. Scott's a businessman who helped create over 1,000 jobs. He knows people have to work together to get things done, and he'll work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to get things done for Upstate New York. That's why Scott supports our economic recovery plan, because it means 76,000 jobs for Upstate and funding for schools, which helps keep property taxes down. We have a lot of work to do, and Scott will help get it done. So I hope you'll vote next Tuesday. And I hope you'll join President Obama and me, Joe Biden, in supporting Scott Murphy. He's a businessman who knows how to create jobs for Upstate New York.
This follows the president's endorsement earlier this week, perhaps a sign of the sort of engagement we might expect in races next year.
While the race is seen largely as a referendum on the stimulus, Democrats are trying to put Rush Limbaugh on the ballot. Chris Cillizza has a mailer sent out to NY-20 voters by the New York State Democratic Committee in which a picture of Rush next to his words "I want Obama to fail" is juxtaposed with a Fairey-esque profile pic of Obama with the words "On March 31st, vote to help President Obama succeed. Send Scott Murphy to Congress to help him do it."
As Cilliza writes:
Democrats have been using Limbaugh's comments -- made at his keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month -- to raise money almost since the moment they were made but using Limbaugh as a turnout tool is a new wrinkle in this strategy.
Republicans have been accusing Democrats of wanting to disenfranchise military voters. Good to see some things never change. Here's the real story:
The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to give overseas voters more time to cast absentee ballots for the March 31 election between Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy, alleging that the New York state Board of Elections did not mail out those ballots in time for such voters to consider the candidates and return them.
The bulk of those ballots would be for members of the military deployed overseas, officials said.
Most of the counties in the district did not send out absentee ballots in time to meet the requirement in state law that voters receive ballots no less than 30 days before the election.
The resolution: absentee ballots will be accepted as late as April 13th, which means that if this is a tight one, we may have to wait 2 weeks for the result.
Scott Murphy gained traction using Tedisco's evasion on and then opposition to the stimulus package. Tedisco has tried to turn the tables to use the AIG bonus flap against Murphy, claiming that his support for the stimulus was akin to support for AIG's bonuses. The meta narrative here is that Tedisco has Main St. values vs. Murphy who is from Wall St. (he's a venture capitalist.) Will it stick?