NY-20: 5 Days To Go

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?

The Albany Project needs five more donors to reach their latest fundraising goal. Help them out over at ActBlue.

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NY-20: President Obama Endorses Scott Murphy

I received an email from Scott Murphy, the Democrat running to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in the House, informing me that President Obama has endorsed him.

I'm excited and honored to announce that I have been endorsed by President Barack Obama.  The President believes in the message that we have been sharing with the 20th district.  I look forward to working with him in Congress to turn the economy around and get our country back on track.

Sam Stein has more:

In an email signed by the president and sent to DNC and Organize for America activists in and around the state's 20th congressional district, Obama touts Murphy as having the "kind of experience and background" needed in Washington.

"Today I'm announcing my support for Scott Murphy, candidate for New York's 20th Congressional District," the email reads. "He's created jobs by building and growing small businesses while bringing people together to address difficult challenges. He supports the economic recovery plan we've put in place, and I know we can count on him as an ally for change.

"To restore our economy and build a foundation for lasting prosperity, I'll need Scott's help. This week, Scott needs yours. Sign up and pitch in to elect Scott Murphy to Congress."

This is very good news. As much as the president has tried to stay above partisanship, I'm glad to see he doesn't intend to stay entirely out of partisan electoral politics as president. According to Stein, the e-mail went to about 50,000 people in and around the 20th district and the DNC plans to jump in as well with a $5,000 donation. Give what you can to Scott over at ActBlue.

Update [2009-3-25 13:42:27 by Todd Beeton]:By the way, Republican candidate Jim Tedisco is doing a livechat over at RedState right now.

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NY-20: Jim Tedisco Fears Rush, His Party's Dear Leader

Via The Huffington Post, Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate running to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in the House, said in an interview yesterday:

"Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me," Tedisco told the editorial board of The Daily Star on Thursday. "The only constituency I'm worried about are the residents of the 20th Congressional District."

You know what that means. An apology or at the very least a clarifying statement couldn't be far behind...and indeed, Tedisco took a stroll over to the Republican apology machine. This statement was released earlier today (via TPM):

"Jim's comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail. So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponent's appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts."

The DCCC's response is classic:

Add career Albany politician Jim Tedisco to the list of spineless Republicans who can't stand up to their leader - Rush Limbaugh.  Just hours after it was reported that Tedisco said, "Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me," Tedisco quickly apologized to the de facto Republican leader.  Tedisco follows in a long line of Washington Republicans who are too afraid to stand up to Rush Limbaugh.

With 11 days to go to the election, The Albany Project has already crashed through their fundraising goal for Scott Murphy. Help them crash through their new one with a donation today.

Update [2009-3-20 19:19:18 by Todd Beeton]:Hilarious. More Tedisco Fail.

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NY-20: Jim Tedisco A Card Carrying Member Of The Party of No

Hilarious. Back when Republican Jim Tedisco was up by double digits over Democrat Scott Murphy, he thought he could just run as a putative incumbent and not take a stand on anything of significance, particularly how he would have voted on the stimulus package. Well, now after weeks of bobbing and weaving and with his polls dropping to a dead heat with Murphy, Tedisco has finally answered once and for all how he would have voted: "NO!"

The local media is not impressed:

Murphy wasted no time ripping into Tedisco:

"On the defining issue in this special election, I have repeatedly made clear my support for President Obama's jobs and economic recovery package, which will put shovels in the ground and people back to work all across the 20th Congressional District," said Murphy. "It's just shameful it took well over a month for Assemblyman Tedisco to finally admit that he'd vote `No' on saving or creating 76,000 jobs in Upstate New York, and `No' on providing the largest middle class tax cut in American history. During these tough economic times, we can't afford a career politician in Congress like my opponent who plays games with voters on the economy to hide the fact that he'd vote against saving and protecting their jobs and against middle class tax cuts."

And today Wes Clark sent out a blast in support of Murphy:

Running to fill the open seat in New York's 20th congressional district, Republican Jim Tedisco couldn't give us a straight answer for over a month. Yesterday, Tedisco finally admitted that he'd have voted against the stimulus and therefore against 76,000 jobs in upstate New York and the biggest middle-class tax cut in history.

Tedisco seems to think that conservative ideology trumps the needs of the people of NY-20. Tedisco wants to be just another Republican in the House, where not even a single Republican member voted to help get Americans back to work and fix our economy.


It's hard to say what's funniest (saddest?) about this reversal by Tedisco 2 weeks before election day but the DCCC hits on one nice irony of Tedisco's newfound certainty: just days ago Tedisco declared his independence from the national GOP committees and consultants yet NO was precisely the position Michael Steele threatened candidates must take or have national support withheld. Yes, Jim Tedisco is a proud member of the party of No and will only continue to be Michael Steele and Eric Cantor's agent of obstruction if elected to the House.

Help Scott Murphy bring it home.

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NY-20: Jim Tedisco to NRCC: I Wish I Could Quit You

Now that Democrat Scott Murphy has caught up to Republican Jim Tedisco in the polls, Tedisco is trying to distance himself from the national GOP in an attempt to blame them for turning his 21 point lead into a 4 point lead in 2 weeks.

Reacting to his Democratic opponent's surge in the polls, Tedisco said Thursday he's taking control of the content of his advertising from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"I'm taking over and we're going to run a campaign that relates to the people of the 20th Congressional District," he said. [...]

Tedisco blamed his drop in the poll on an advertising strategy that has focussed heavily on attacking his Democratic opponent.

Tedisco said going forward the content of his ads will be more positive with him making the decisions instead of the national party.

"We're going to run a 20th District campaign and talk about the positive issues, and leave the rest of the distortions to the other side," he said.

Tedisco's downward spiral in the polls certainly couldn't be his own fault, specifically his refusal to say whether he'd have supported the stimulus package as Congressman. Naaaahhhh. But hey, if Tedisco is serious about changing the tone of the race and shutting the national committees out, he could certainly take down the attack ads they've been airing against Scott Murphy. How about it, Jim...Jim? {crickets.}

The fact is, the NRCC isn't going anywhere. Greg Sargent:

But despite Tedisco's request, the National Republican Congressional Committee is saying, No dice, we're gonna keep running the ads, anyway. NRCC spokesperson Ken Spain emails:

"The NRCC has an obligation to hold Scott Murphy accountable for the past he is trying to hide as a Wall Street executive whose actions represent everything that has gone wrong with our economy. We have no plans to shirk our responsibilities."

In the meantime, there's unity on the left with Gov. David Paterson raising money for Murphy and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand releasing an ad appealing to NY-20 voters:

Help Scott Murphy continue his momentum for the final 19 days by donating to his campaign at ActBlue.

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